From Prince Charles III to King Charles III
King Charles III has spent more time preparing for the throne than any other heir in the British royal family’s 2,000-year history.
Following the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, he succeeded to the throne on Thursday, realizing a destiny that had been set for him since he was just 3 years old and she became the monarch in 1952. Charles’ wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, now has the title of queen consort.
Prince Charles was the oldest monarch to ascend in British history at the age of 73, whilst Elizabeth was crowned at the age of 27.
In addition, Prince Charles is currently in charge of the Commonwealth, a postcolonial alliance of 54 nations with 2.4 billion people.
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In 15 of those countries, including Canada and Australia, he is the head of state. However, the death of the queen is expected to reignite a debate over permanently removing their old colonial overseers in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Extreme privilege, conflicts, and family strife have characterised the seven-decade wait for the new monarch. And there has been much discussion on the kind of ruler he will be following the queen’s peaceful and well-liked reign.
The new king was a member of a wealthy family. His supporters claim that he has been the hardest-working royal, a persistent advocate for philanthropic organizations who worked for conservation long before such causes became popular, garnering derision in a world that had not yet realised the impending danger of global warming.
According to a running tracker by the pollster YouGov, however, Charles is liked by 42% of the British public and hated by 24%, but the queen was the most well-liked royal with 75% of the populace.
That is often attributed to his illicit relationship with Princess Diana and the royal family’s alleged lack of compassion following her passing in 1997. Others claim it is because of his overtly political stances, which are unacceptable for the ostensibly apolitical royal family and a sharp contrast to his mother’s unwavering impartiality.
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The new king is aware of the controversy roiling around some of his positions.
The fact that Britain is a constitutional monarchy, as opposed to the absolute monarchies that rule Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states with ultimate, undemocratic political power, makes his comments somewhat controversial.
Despite being the head of state in Britain, kings have little actual political influence. They choose governments, reconvene Parliament following a break, and pass new legislation. However, all of those jobs are merely ceremonial rubber-stamping; there hasn’t been any indication to date that the crown could attempt to step in. A political catastrophe would result if it happened.
The prime minister and the monarch or queen do meet once a week. According to the influential essayist of the 19th century Walter Bagehot, the British monarch has “three rights”.
rights to consultation, encouragement, and forewarning.
The incoming king stated to the BBC in 2018 that it was “total nonsense” to assume he would be openly political because “I’m not that foolish,” and that he will handle his role as monarch differently than during his opinionated time as a prince.
“To see the transformation that can occur, all you have to do is look at the Shakespeare plays “Henry V” or “Henry IV, Part I and II. Because if you assume the role of sovereign, you perform your duties as expected, he remarked. Naturally, you act within the bounds of the constitution.
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Although there is no proof he has really acted, some detractors contend that his public opinions could lead to a constitutional crisis if the government takes a stance he has previously supported, such as helping farmers or authorizing contentious construction.
Born in a magnificent ballroom
The queen has always appeared uncannily fitted for this subdued, accommodating position, with plenty of dominating soft power but little physical power. The new king, on the other hand, has always seemed out of place.
On the evening of November 14, 1948, in Buckingham Palace, he was born as his father, Prince Philip, was playing squash. Outside, the devastation of World War II was being repaired in Britain.
London’s Blitz-era streets were still littered with debris, and the city’s residents were suffering from severe economic hardship, which helped lay the groundwork for the nation’s contemporary welfare system.
Prince Charles had entered the palace and a parallel world of great privilege and predetermined duty.
Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life,” by Sally Bedell Smith, is an unofficial biography. Shortly after Prince Charles was born, he “officially became public property,” Smith wrote. The royal midwife “took the newborn heir to the great gilded ballroom” and placed him in a cot “for inspection by the royal courtiers.”
He succeeded to the throne less than four years later, following the passing of his grandfather George V.
Smith and other biographers and royal historians concur that it was not a simple upbringing. His mother and strict father frequently missed Charles’ first two Christmases and third birthday while travelling the Commonwealth for months at a stretch.
According to royal biographer Tina Brown, who recently spoke with NBC News’ Keir Simmons for his podcast “Born to Rule,” Charles’ “alpha male” father tried to toughen him up by enrolling him at Gordonstoun, a rough, austere boarding school in Scotland. Charles was a “very sensitive and emotional young man,” Tina Brown said. The fact that Charles’ family “constantly tried to press him into this would, because he was the future king, that he just didn’t fit” is “exactly the tale of his life,” according to Brown.
Realizing he would become king was “something that dawns on you with the most awful, inevitable sense,” Charles said in a BBC radio interview at age 21.
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That tortured listlessness did not go away, he recalled, “until I realised I was rather stuck. I had entertained aspirations of being a railway conductor, a soldier, even a big-game hunter.” In a TV documentary from 1994, a young boy was shown questioning the man, “Who are you? Charles’ response to this was, “I wish I knew,”
The woman who would become Prince Charles’ wife and with whom he had a protracted love affair. But for the better part of three decades, Camilla Shand, as she was known at the time, would only loom in the distance.