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Monday, 12 June, 2000, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
A right royal row - Should the Royals have their say?
Famed for his controversial comments, the Duke of Edinburgh has opened fresh debate by appearing to play down fears about genetically modified foods.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
He is quoted as saying that the introduction of the grey squirrel to Britain had done far more harm to the environment than would ever be caused by GM crops.
His reported comments are at odds with the views of the Prince of Wales, who has warned of the dangers of GM foods. But they echo those of his daughter, the Princess Royal, who earlier this month spoke out in their favour.
Do you think the Royal Family should just stay out of controversial issues, or do you find their opinions useful? Should individual Royals be allowed to get on their soapboxes, or should Buckingham Palace speak with one voice? Tell us what you think.
If the newspaper has a royal story, don't buy it. Stop absorbing trivia then we won't keep being offered it.
Nicholas Garland, Germany (ex-pat)
I'd rather hear the Royal Family's views on topical matters than be told which part of David Beckham's anatomy has just been tattooed.
Of course, members of the Royal Family are entitled to their points of view. My problem is that none of them permit themselves to be challenged. Prince Charles, for example, gave his Reith Lecture and then retreated. Why? Are members of the Royal Family insufficiently articulate to defend their views?
Tony Hemesley, UK
The "Royals" are servants of the country (i.e. taxpayers pay for their services as tourist entertainment). I would not expect my cleaning lady or gardener to give me their opinions unasked. I therefore, do not expect to be bombarded with the Royals' opinions either. They should know their place and keep their mouths shut.
Andrew Foster, England
To the best of my knowledge, quails eggs, partridge, smoked salmon, caviar and Dom Perignon champagne have all yet to be genetically modified. So, there is little if any chance at all of the Royal Family being affected in any way by the GM changes in food stuffs the rest of us have to live with.
I always enjoy the Duke's comments but I like his "gaffs" even better.
For what you pay them they must be authorities on something. Please don't shut them up and spoil our free show.
They should be allowed their say since this is still supposedly a free country, or is it?
The Duke has been deeply involved in wildlife conservation, and been publicly concerned for the future of life on this planet for many decades. I believe that he has much more right to express an opinion than most of his critics, many of whom seem to have a nasty chip on their shoulder.
We enjoy (or think we do) "Free Speech" in this country. Why should we apply it selectively? We all have a right to voice an opinion, just as we have a right to ignore other's opinions.
Roy Chapman, UK/Germany
Obviously, like anybody else, they are as entitled to express their opinions. However since the monarchy has never been well known for its intellect. Why anybody takes his or her comments seriously is beyond me.
Paul Wheeler, England
Everyone's entitled to their opinion, even an unqualified one. I just have a quarrel with someone who uses his or her privileged position to foist it upon the rest of us!
Being interested in what Phillip has to say about
GM foods is like asking a Teletubby what he thinks
of Einstein's theory of relativity!
Malcolm McCandless, Scotland
I think the Duke is being unfair to squirrels. The Windsors are a much clearer example of the disastrous consequences of genetic modification by selective breeding.
A not insignificant threat posed to the environment in the UK is Prince Philip and his shotgun
Alan Weeks, UK
The Royal Family has every right to speak out about whatever they like. On this occasion, I hate to say it, but I fully agree with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. The opinion of a Royal Family member is, in my experience, a lot better informed and less biased than a tabloid editor.
Monica Mahoney, Wales
Since none of them could be said to be expert in any field I should say they are best advised to follow the example of the Queen Mother - keep quiet, look Regal and allow comments to be made by official spokespersons.
I suppose that given the years of selective breeding in royal circles, they are more entitled than anyone to comment on genetic modification.
Dave Jones, UK
It could be argued that the Royal Family as a whole would benefit more than most, from the addition of a few "alien" genes.
As for their opinions being taken seriously, I doubt that they ever can be when they are largely the rantings over-privileged individuals within an out of touch and outdated feudal hangover.
Since members of the Royal Family are not elected through a democratic process and can not be held politically responsible for what they do or say, they should be quiet and keep from saying anything that might be contrived as a political remark or action.
John B, UK
Well, they should be able to say whatever they
think just as anybody else. However, this sort
of after dinner family-debate is completely irrelevant.
A united front is one thing, but some difference of opinion allows the people to see that there are things to debate, and that one person's view is not the last word on the matter.
Patricia van der Veer, British in Canada
Paul R, UK
They are as entitled to express their opinions as anyone else on an issue such as this. It's not a political or constitutional matter. I would however say that yet again, Princess Anne shows a lot more common sense than her older brother.
I don't mind their comments, as long as they have no say in policy. I think individual royals can say what they like and, for a change, the Duke of Edinburgh made a good comment about the squirrel issue.
I can't see the harm in the royals entering into "some" political and social discussion. If the Royal Family are to evolve, and remain (perhaps even become) relevant, then they must be allowed to develop in the same way that European Royals have.
Yes, let them have their say. But why does everyone in the UK still hang on to their every word? It's not as if the monarchy really matters to anyone except themselves, is it? So why do the media pay so much attention to what the Duke, or Charlie, or Anne, says?
06 Jun 00 | UK
Duke joins GM debate
03 Jun 00 | UK
Princess defends GM foods
17 May 00 | UK
Prince warns of 'playing God'
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