28/06/2001 The British Monarchy website coughs discreetly and announces that the House of Windsor is now making the country some 90 million more squids than it was ten years ago. The conclusion that many have drawn is that this makes Her Maj a net contributor to state finance. (Actually, The Royal Writer Pursuivant Of The Queen's Press Releases And Privy Sub To Her Most Gracious Web Editing Software hasn't quite got the hang of computers, so the site says #90 million. But we know what they mean.) What nonsense. The way it works is that the Crown gets 133 million pounds from its estates and other sources of income. Brenda hands this over to the Treasury, and in return gets 35 million quid to keep her in ermine and horseboxes. One presumes that any halfway competent administrator could generate the same income without costing us a tenth of that. Which is not to say that we should therefore ditch the Royals; au contraire, across Europe it's now tres chic to be a crowned head. Ex-king Simeon II of Bulgaria won a general election in that country and may even be considering putting in for restoration: as a Saxe Coburg Gotha, he's a near relative of our own dear Queen from the days when Europe was kept together by everyone marrying each others' cousins. If we could airlift Princess Anne in as Queen of France, it'd do a lot more than Brussels ever could for European integration. But it would be good to see a change of face at the top. Perhaps we could wire up Buck House with cameras and do a Big Brother until there's only one left; perhaps we could make the throne available on a double-rollover lottery week. There goes my OBE.