Royal Row

Abu Hamza Row: Why the Monarch Mustn't Meddle

A brilliant piece in today's Guardian by Tony Wright, former Labour MP and politics professor explaining why people in the UK are so shocked that the Queen should have asked the home secretary why Abu Hamza, the hook-handed Muslim radical, couldn't be arrested.

It's because the whole principle of our comstitutional monarchy is based on her not meddling in politics, Wright explains. He also raises the worrying issue of Prince Charles' very blatant attempts to meddle in politics - Charles's letters to government ministers may be released under freedom of information request within a month.

This does not mean, he points out, that the monarch can't ask searching questions and offer seasoned advice.

When Harold Wilson presented her with one of his dodgy honours lists, it is said that she remarked to her private secretary: "Please remind the prime minister there is always time to think again."