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From: The Sunday Times Sunday 8th April 2001

Abbey hitman kicks the royal family while it's down;

Atticus: JASPER GERARD

In a turbulent week for the Queen, her priest has announced that she is toast. Wesley Carr, the outspoken Dean of Westminster, argues that after the slaying of the blue bloods in the House of Lords, there is scant justification for a monarchy based on a similar principle.

But in royal and ecclesiastical circles his remarks are raising awkward questions. He has already acquiesced in the demise of a brace of organists and at least two headmasters. Now the controversial cleric seems to be an uncertain ally of his patron: Her Maj. As the abbey is the coronation church and a Royal Peculiar, his attack carries weight and has amazed even his critics.

In a discreet lecture to senior abbey men last week, Carr averred: "Major questions are being asked about the future of the monarchy. At the moment it is uncertain whether the deprivation of the hereditary peers might or might not affect the crown. So far as I can see, if the hereditary system is altered, there must follow questions about an even more obvious hereditary system: the monarchy." "A Royal Peculiar indeed," says a top collar. "Is this his revenge for Thomas a Becket? Surely this time we must be rid of him."

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