This is the most important, wide-ranging and critical debate so far published on the monarchy.
It is not concerned with the trivia and tragedy of the Windsor's personal lives. Instead, a glittering range of contributors from across the spectrum of opinion focus on what the monarchy means for Britain today. Do we - can we? - continue to live in what Anthony Barnett calls in a provocative introductory essay, "an empire state?"
The essays include Charles Moore's stirring reassertion of the case for the crown and David Hare's denunciation of the "odious rituals of deference." Lady Longford assures us that the royal phoenix will rise from the ashes of the Windsor fire. Christopher Hitchens rebukes Shirely Williams and criticizes the monarchy for invading our privacy. Marina Warner dissects our fear of change. These and many others contribute to a debate conceived as a watershed. A debate that will be seen as having shattered the taboo on serious scrutiny of the monarchy.