If the king’s inheritance was solely for his personal pleasure, and if paying taxes did not result in the dismantling or sale of property, I might agree with Aditya Chakrabortty (it’s a law for King Charles the billionaire and another for his difficult subjects, September 15). I see the monarch as the custodian of these palaces and castles, held in trust for the nation – much like the National Trust.
If the money from the monarch’s inheritance tax went straight into the pockets of the country’s poor, it might be worth it. But having seen the chronic waste of public money by Boris Johnson’s government and the daily injustice of wealthy entrepreneurs who avoid tax through smart accounting, I would say there is a law for the powerful classes and a another for the rest of us.
Ryde, Isle of Wight
The state that allows King Charles to avoid inheritance tax is also the state that forces elderly people who need residential or nursing home care to sell their homes to pay for it. Several thousand elderly people have thus been denied the transmission of an inheritance to their children, while Charles not only pockets a substantial inheritance from his mother, but he does not pay any tax on it. It cannot be a just world where this is permitted. such injustice will inevitably lead to increased calls for an end to the monarchy as it currently exists.
Aditya Chakrabortty is right to question the time spent by MPs paying tribute to the late Queen. Hansard for February 11, 1952 records four tributes to King George VI. They were Winston Churchill (Prime Minister), Clement Attlee (Labour leader), Clement Davies (Liberal leader) and Walter Elliot (on behalf of the Father of the House). All four managed to pay their respects in just over 4,000 words, so probably uttered in less than half an hour.
In contrast, Hansard records 321 MPs paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth, taking two days. Perhaps the parliament broadcast encourages such leniency, but MPs today might wonder if their words really have much more value than those of their predecessors 70 years ago.