Readers' letters - December 11

The engagement of Prince Harry to his divorcee American girlfriend Meghan Marklehas made headlines
The engagement of Prince Harry to his divorcee American girlfriend Meghan Marklehas made headlines

The times are a-changing for royals – and it’s for the better

The engagement of Prince Harry to his divorcee American girlfriend Meghan Markle is making the headlines in the world and national news media. The couple are obviously in love with each other and deserve every future happiness together.
Compare their current situation with the one faced in 1936 by the then Prince of Wales, and later Edward VIII, who had to abdicate his kingdom because he fell in love with Wallis Simpson, an American socialite divorcee.
In those days, the concept of the heir to the British throne marrying a divorcee was taboo. The Royal Family, Church of England, and the political establishment were all up in arms about the prospect of the very popular Prince of Wales marrying the love of his life. The outcome was that Edward VIII, who reigned as King of the United Kingdom from January 20, 1936, abdicated his titles on December 11, 1936 to become HRH the Duke of Windsor.
Mrs Simpson was refused the title of Her Royal Highness and given the title of Duchess of Windsor, the couple married in 1937 and lived abroad, the Duke dying in Paris in 1972.
All too often in life one can look back to the old days, and rightly so, when things were perceived to be better than today. In this case the opposite definitely applies.
Today there is a much more tolerant approach by Royalty, Church, and Political Establishment towards divorce. Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew were all divorced. Three of them were remarried and accepted back into Society by all bodies – unlike the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
I suggest that everyone should wish Harry and Meghan well in their new life together. It is a pity that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor could not have been accorded the same consideration and acceptance prior to and after their marriage in 1937.
As the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s 1964 popular song say: “The Times They Are a-Changing.” In Harry and Meghan’s future marriage I hope it is all for the better in everyone’s eyes.
Cyril Olsen
Address supplied

Disturbing modern trend

The steady closure of high street banks has now become a torrent with banks abdicating any responsibility towards their customers.
RBS (owners of NatWest), closing 259 branches, was one of the banks bailed out by taxpayers and this is their way of repaying us.
All businesses need to make a profit but they also need to serve their customers. Large rural areas are now left without any NatWest services, even the cashpoints are being closed.
As with the closure of local hospitals, the closure of banks will lead to severe personal and social diseconomies. People who cannot travel will become further disenfranchised, creating a more divided society emphasising the differences between rural and urban.
As NatWest withdraws from the high street, it enables the bank to put as much distance between itself and their customers – the end of face to face service, a disturbing modern trend.
Being told there are suitable alternatives is no recompense. Mobile banking and internet banking require personal technology which not everyone has or wishes to use. It is the use of the internet that has led to the devastation of high streets throughout the country.
There is a bigger picture. The closure of banks is following the well established pattern of the closure of many railways and the ongoing closure of hospitals. RBS, owners of NatWest, are closing their local branches that will have far reaching consequences for businesses and customers.
Mike Wynn
Address supplied

Audio service
at the cinema

I was pleased to hear that Dame Judi Dench was still persevering and going to the cinema despite her loss of sight. As a partially-sighted person, I know how difficult watching films can be as, frequently, much of the activity is only visual and identifying the characters is often problematical.
In recent years, the industry has started to audio describe most films.
This is an invaluable service and has considerably enhanced my own enjoyment of films and my willingness to go to the cinema.
Mary Fairbrother