What sort of king will Charles III be?

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hThe mail came to Praise his mother – and bury suspicions. On September 9, King Charles III gave his first public address as king. Candidly, the Queen – “my dear mother” – was honored for her dedication, service and duty. Implicitly, he answered questions about what kind of king he would be and calmly spoke of some of the many criticisms leveled at him when he was heir.

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The man now called king has long seemed uncomfortable, perhaps even unsuitable, for the job he was born to do 73 years ago. Charles once described the realization that he was going to be king as the dawning of “the most horrible and ruthless sensation”. Others echoed his skepticism: Princess Diana, his first wife, said the king’s role would be “stifling.” The British seemed to share this wonderful assessment of him. A poll conducted in May 2022 showed his popularity at 54%, well below the late Queen’s at 81%.

A little of this is unusual. The transition from one king to another, as Tracy Borman, a royal historian, notes, is a turbulent moment. Henry VII’s retinue feared his death would bring down the Tudor family so much that they hid his body in his chambers and fetched his corpse meals for two days. When Elizabeth II ascended the throne she was derided as “Brigish’s pupil”, while John Osborne, the enraged young playwright refused her coronation, calling her “golden stuffing in a mouth full of decomposition”. Ask her if she owns it daily Mail– Not known to be skeptical about the monarchy – “Is it a failure?” Both Tudor and Elizabeth II survived.

And if Charles views his new role with dismay, he is not alone. Few modern kings, even those who ruled successfully, looked at their task with enthusiasm. This is not unreasonable. The role of the king or queen is difficult, its duration is long (death or abdication provides the only possible exits) and its form is indeterminate. The closest thing to a century-and-a-half-old royal handbook in existence: Walter Bagehot’s The English Constitution. She advises kings with broad but reliable strokes: they must be adornment; They must protect their privacy closely; They should know their constitutional place. In the last two points, Charles has repeatedly raised cause for concern.

While his mother was strictly neutral, Charles was not. In his memoirs “The Black Spider” (letters he wrote to politicians in a doodle) and in speeches, Charles talked about everything from the “embers” of modern architecture to the culling of badgers. He lobbied Tony Blair about fox hunting, which had been banned by Sir Tony’s government but Charles wanted to keep it. His absence from a state banquet for China in 2015 was noted and considered conspicuous. These things don’t sound like royal neutrality. They seemed, to many, as if they were overdone.

And there was little privacy: during Charles’ long tenure as heir, daylight was not only allowed to enter into magic but also into chaos. His miserable school days are general knowledge; His disastrous marriage to Diana is notorious for its rough details. His emotions were similarly hidden – they still are. A few days into his reign, the camera caught him losing his temper due to a “bloody” pen leak.

The national mood, for now, is indulgent: a recent YouGov poll showed that those who think he will do well has doubled from 32% in May to 63% since his mother’s death. Her reign may not have been affected, but it is clear that the new kings could not be minted as easily as their own coins. As Edward VIII wrote: “Apparent heirs cannot be isolated from sheet metal.” Charles is clearly trying: in his first speech as king he indicated forcefully that his goal would be to replicate Elizabeth’s style rather than deviate from it.

It includes matters of religion. Every British monarch bears the title of “Defender of the Faith,” which is the meaning of Anglican diversity: the monarch is the supreme ruler of the Church of England. In 1994 Charles, who has taken a long interest in many other religions, including Islam and Greek Orthodoxy, noted that he “personally prefers to be seen as the ‘defender of the faith,’ rather than the faith,” because religious exclusivity is something that causes a “deal”. problem “. As if to prove his point, a long-running rift occurred instantly. Charles I’s speech as king was soothing, noting his “responsibility to the Church of England” where “my faith is deeply rooted.”

One area in which he might excel – and win support from young people – is environmental protection. Capitalizing on the word “nature,” relocation champions, Charles was an early advocate of organic farming—he even founded an organic food brand—and is obsessed with waste. Far from indulging in fast fashion, he wears suits that are patched just below the pocket. Once upon a time, these feelings seemed strange. Today, the insight looks.

Despite how long, no one really knows what Charles’ reign would mean. For royalty, like stocks, past success is not a guide to future performance. Edward VIII was initially thought to be sensationally modern – so modern, as it turns out, that he abdicated. Edward VII’s solution—”Dirty Bertie”, or “Fat Edward” as Henry James calls him—was expected to be a failure. However, Edwardian tea time today trumps the massive Victorian in popular memory. It is impossible to say how the Carolian era would be viewed. But so far, the tiara-wearing cape appears to be worn much more easily than many of his subjects expected.

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