There is a festive air in London, as the city prepares for the spectacle of a Royal Wedding at the end of this month - we are devoting this week's Forum to a look at where Kings and Queens fit in to our modern era.

Is there still such a thing as a bond between sovereign and subject? Do modern monarchies need to update themselves? Or is the link with history the key to staying popular?

Bridget Kendall is joined by Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam, British historian Justin Champion and Australian psychologist Dorothy Rowe.

Click here to visit the Radio 4 website and listen to this broadcast.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The Prince ceremoniously marries a commoner, touching his subject and backed by generations of monarchs before him.

At this time of year you might be struggling with your faith, or perhaps your lack of it. It can be difficult to reconcile what you see as the true meaning of Christmas for example, with the way that others view the celebration. Clinical psychologist Dorothy Rowe has thought long and hard about the place of religion in the modern world, and how religious belief is sometimes used to mask our feelings. She argues it's the reason some in society feel compelled to force their own ideas or faith onto others.


  • Date 18 December 2008
  • Radio Show Life Matters with Richard Adey on ABC National, Australia

Dorothy talks to Philip Adams

  • Date 10 November 2008
  • Radio Show Late Night Live, ABC Radio, Australia

The BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented by Bridget Kendall. Dorothy appeared with the American economist Marshall Goldman who assesses Russia's new status as an energy super power in his latest book Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia. Sociologist Frank Furedi argues we are too quick to blame global problems on humankind and should confront this new misanthropy'.

'The Forum sounded like eavesdropping on a very interesting dinner table in a restaurant, and it gave you all a chance to develop your thoughts and relate them to what other people were saying.' Sheila Christie.


  • Date October 5th 2008
  • Radio Show BBC World Service
  • Date 29 February, 2008
  • Radio Show ABC Rural Radio (Australia)
  • Date 27 March 2007
  • Radio Show ABC Radio National Perspectives