Once again constitutional monarchies are proven to be the best countries to live in.
According to the 2005 UN Human Development Index, featured regularly in this column, of the top five countries, four are constitutional monarchies.
The first is Norway, and the second a newcomer, Iceland, which until 1944 was part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Under German occupation in the war, it separated in 1944 as a republic. The population is under 300,000.
Australia is third.
Needless to say there is not one constitutional monarchy in the bottom five, ten, 15, 20 etc.
Until next time
In the above and original publication of this column, sent out on 22 September, 2005, I summarized the results of the latest UN Human Development Index. Constitutional monarchies have always led the list, but this year, there was a new entrant among the leading five countries, Iceland, which had become a republic when brought to an end its association with Denmark in 1944.
Until then, Iceland had been internally self governing, with foreign affairs and defence in Danish hands.
While Denmark had been occupied by Germany in the Second World War, I had erroneously said that Iceland had also been occupied by Germany. Richard Templeton points out that the British occupied Iceland in 1941,and then the Americans took over.
Other readers have asked where republics stand, including the most vociferous supporters of republicanism. The full list can be found in the UN report.