Politics | June 18, 2001, Monday // 00:00

18 June 2001

Did someone say Ruritanian? Admittedly, King Simeon's much-trumpeted return to the governing scene in Sofia is by an unconventional route ­ the man who was briefly king, or Tsar, of Bulgaria when he was six has founded a political party and entered the competition of a general election with the fair wind of the opinion polls behind him.

But who are we to look askance at this popular reverence for the magic of royalty? As the nation which pioneered the science of combining the principles of inheritance and democracy, Britain ought to reserve a special welcome for Simeon II, the leader of the National Movement for Simeon II party. Not only did we invent the compromise of a constitutional monarchy, and devise a system by which our cultural life is dominated by the soap opera of the royal family; two years ago we devised a system by which our hereditary peerage elected a 10th of their number to serve in an allegedly reformed Upper Chamber of Parliament.

As the Conservative Party ponders its choice between leadership candidates, none of whom is exactly what it wants, perhaps it should consider the truly unexpected option ­ and draft Prince William.

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