I FOUND a certain inherent irony in the Radio 4 Woman's Hour judging panel, stated to be a democratic group, selecting the Queen as first on their list of the 100 most powerful women in the UK ("Queen heads power list at Radio 4 Woman's Hour", The Herald, February12).

Democracy is not a word one would readily link with the monarchy.

Most of the women on the list are described as having reached their positions through applying their own talents and attributes, unlike the Queen, who inherited her position from her father all those decades ago.

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The fact that the panel even discussed whether or not the Duchess of Cambridge should be on such a list casts doubt on the nature and credibility of its compilation.

We have the retirement by senior personages from their jobs is in the public eye, with Queen Beatrix in the Netherlands abdicating in favour of the Crown Prince and Pope Benedict conceding graciously that old age has caught up with him and, against papal historical trends, resigning. Perhaps the "most powerful woman in the UK", according to Radio 4, should be giving consideration to following suit.

However, given the fact that, however unwilling some of the subjects are, we are likely to have the monarchy for the foreseeable future the consequences of the law of succession and the personality of the next in line, perhaps we should be encouraging this particular elderly person to soldier on.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,