Is one the loneliest number?

According to Harry Nilsson, one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. How would he explain the increasing numbers of people who choose to live alone? Perhaps it is because, as he goes on to sing, two can be as bad as one. What started as a European and then western phenomena has now become a global demographic trend. Percentage of households with one occupant Sweden 47% Germany 39% UK 34% USA […]

Keeping count of the Karls

I am making my unintentional continuation of the royal theme on this blog a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. A less regally-focused service will resume tomorrow! Call them traditional or unimaginative, but royal dynasties enjoy using their favourite names – think of all the French kings called Louis (18), Edwards in England (8) and Alfonsos in Spain (13). This would cause terrible confusion for historians […]

Strange sovereigns

In a perfect monarchical system, the king or queen will be the personal embodiment of a country’s sense of identity. If monarchy stands for anything, it is tradition and history – a personal and unbroken link to centuries past. Of course, the reality is often quite different. The House of Windsor has a quintessentially English ring to it, but this was the intentional First World War response to the distinctly un-English sounding […]