Can England’s King Charles fill his precious mother’s shoes? According to Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s King Charles attends the state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson/File Photo


By Michael Holden and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) – Teenager Olivia Burch waited for hours in line with other mourners to pay her last visit to Queen Elizabeth as her body was brought back to its original state. But despite that devotion, she argued that Britain should no longer have a monarchy.

“I think it’s gone. It’s too traditional and old-fashioned, and I don’t think we can spend more money on a family that has no right here than anyone else,” said the 19-year-old Londoner. , one of hundreds of thousands of people who lined up to pass Elizabeth’s coffin ahead of Monday’s state funeral -farewell-queen-elizabeth-2022- 09-18.

“However, the queen is different.”

Her words, echoed by others publicly mourning the queen, illustrate some of the challenges King Charles faced in succeeding his mother after 70 years on her throne.

The funeral, which limits the number of days of pageants and ceremonies since Elizabeth’s death on September 8, drew hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of London and millions of viewers on television. The events underscore the affection and respect most Britons have for the queen.

Charles, 73, takes the throne at a time when opinion polls show UK support for the monarchy has dropped to its lowest point, and that – despite a huge jump since when he became king – but he was personally less popular than his mother.

He was the oldest person to become a British monarch, and there are still some who resent him and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort, for the breakdown of her first marriage to the late Princess Diana .

“The big question is obviously, when she (Elizabeth) died, was it all about her or was it about the monarchy?” says historian Anthony Seldon. “And can King Charles III maintain that prominence in this country … but around the world?”

Seldon noted a decade ago, polls showed 75% approving and appreciating the monarchy. Now, that number is 62%.

If it ever hits below 50%, he said, the monarchy will end: “There will be an elected head of state.”


For now, there is a fundamental goodwill towards Charles. A YouGov survey found that support for Charles has skyrocketed since he became king, with 63% saying he would be a good king, up 24 percentage points since March.

Support for Camilla also increased similarly.

When Charles met crowds of wise men on a tour of the four capitals of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, they greeted him with cheers and cheers of “Christ the King.”

“I think he’s going to be a great king, and with Camilla by his side, he’s going to be absolutely amazing,” Rosie Beddows, 57, who was at Westminster Hall, said as Charles and siblings his holding a prayer before his mother’s lie- in the state.

His heartfelt televised address to the nation the day after the queen’s death and the tribute he paid to his late mother were well received, even as some expressed dismay. doubts about him.

“He didn’t miss a step,” one of his former senior aides, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

An heir who has waited longer than any other person in British history to become king, Charles has forged himself as an advocate for issues ranging from the environment and climate change to architecture and alternative medicine.

It led to allegations of meddling, one that worried him and worried that as king he would abandon his mother’s neutral and apolitical approach to the role in a constitutional monarchy.

Now, Charles has put those concerns to bed, in his first speech to the nation that he will no longer devote much time and energy to the issues that concern him.

That is not to say that his reign will be the same as that of Elizabeth. While she is credited with modernizing the monarchy, she was a child of another era.

The king adopted a more informal tone, welcoming the crowd, accepting a kiss from a supporter and publicly declaring his love for his wife and children.

Robert Lacey, royal biographer and historical consultant on Netflix hit drama “The Crown” (NASDAQ:), says that what was once considered a weakness can now be a strength by Charles.

“Charles has always been an emotional man, wearing a heart on his sleeve, more than his mother, and he was criticized for it. Now, hearts on sleeves, mourning feelings and dedication , he conveyed those things very well.”


However, greater challenges lie ahead for Charles, including how to deal with his vindictive sons: William, now his heir, and Harry.

He will also need to work on his long-term goal of reducing the monarchy, to help assuage concerns about its costs – especially at a time when the country is at risk of slipping into a recession. prolonged and is struggling with rampant inflation.

Some media have noted that unlike other Britons, Charles does not pay inheritance tax and he will now have 10 homes and palaces around the country.

The former aide said Charles wanted to make sure the monarchy created “value for money”, although stripping it too far would mean it lost some of its “magic”.

But “Charles has a job on his hands, a terrible job,” said Howard Davis, 62, who traveled from his home in Dundee to see the queen’s coffin as it was brought to Edinburgh after her death. .

“He’s got a giant shoe to fill.”

Paramedic Elizabeth Shaw, 34, one of the visitors to the queen’s coffin in Scotland, said the loss of such a famous queen was the right time to make a purchase.

“As religion plays a lesser role in society, people are questioning the role of the royal family,” she said. “People are not only willing to accept that God has chosen these people to be in charge, they want proof and a voice.”

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