In fact, the most controversial political moments of Elizabeth’s reign came from the indifference of others.
While the letters seem pretty innocuous – focusing on things like subsidies to farmers and, interestingly, the merits of publishing private letters like that – it is in fact the head of the throne. happy to express political views with the Prime Minister warning the supporters of the conference that the monarchy was apolitical.
Knowing Charles’ views on these matters, however, may not have seemed important at the time, it should be remembered that during her reign we know almost nothing about Elizabeth’s personal views. , let alone how she feels government funding should be distributed.
“The monarchy has a huge amount of indirect power that it can have,” said Kate Williams, a leading royal historian and professor of public engagement with history at the University of Great Britain. influence public opinion on an issue, which is arguably more important than lobbying by ministers. reading.
She pointed to the time Elizabeth II said Scottish voters should “think carefully about the future” while leaving a church service in Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum. in isolation perhaps for the sake of neutrality, in the context of a referendum where both sides can claim it is the endorsement of the denial of independence,” added Williams.
Dispersion of opinion in the media
The seemingly incompatible mess of a monarch who shares views on such matters while remaining apolitical gets worse as we move further in generation from the late Queen .
The Prince and Princess of Wales, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are public campaigners for mental health. William, who will take the throne after Charles, has spoken in the profile of his own struggles with mental health, especially following the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
And the current head has had a difficult relationship with the British media, especially the BBC after it was revealed that one of their journalists, Martin Bashir, used nefarious methods to secure interview with his mother when she was extremely vulnerable after the divorce. from Charles.
Right now, support for the monarchy is high. We’ve seen a surge of both mourning for the late Elizabeth, and compassion for the new King, who is shouldering the part of his life in mourning for his mother. But that doesn’t mean support will remain high forever.
He added: “I have tried to make sure whatever I do is politically nonpartisan, but I think it is important to remember that there is only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.” . So you cannot resemble a sovereign if you are a Prince of Wales or an heir. ”
However, the problem that both the King and his heirs face is that they cannot put these comments back in the jar. And the fact is that these opinions are sure to affect their relationship with the public in the years to come, as we move further from the era of the puzzling Elizabeth.
That said, republicanism has never been extremely popular in Britain. Even last week, during official events, protests were mostly limited to a small group of people, many of whom simply held up scraps of paper. A disproportionate response from the police, in which several protesters were arrested, led to some media coverage and protests, but did not move the dial against the royal family in any way. meaningful.
The ability to maintain neutrality is impaired
Elizabeth was a particularly famous monarch. Most public research on the matter suggests that older monarchists consider her relative silence, relative to her successors, to be dignified and preserve the integrity of the monarchy. crown.
However, many of the supporters of this tradition were skeptical of Charles and wanted him to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
In contrast, the late Queen was popular with young monarchists despite her silence. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but it’s exactly a by-product of Elizabeth’s always on the throne and the young people being clueless.
What is also clear, however, is that younger monarchists approve of the royal family speaking out on issues that were previously considered too controversial for the Queen.
Joe Twyman, director of political research organization Deltapoll, said: “It is entirely possible that the generation thinks the Royal Family should keep a hard line on their lips and not talk about issues like parental rights. women and mental health will slowly die.”
“For people of a certain generation, the idea of bowing to your grandma every time you see her just because she’s the Queen seems insane,” he added, referring to the back row. Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last year in which she describes how she finds the regal life surreal sometimes.
This conflict over the exact role of the monarch is important because the institution lives or dies by whether the public thinks it deserves it.
It is likely that there will always be traditional monarchists who will defend its every move as long as it does not evolve or modernize. They tend to be the most supportive.
However, this group will likely become a minority before William ascends the throne. If Charles lives to be 99, as his father did, William won’t become King until 2048. No credible social scientist can confidently tell you the public’s attitude towards anyone. something at the time, be it the royal family, climate change or racial equality.
The fact that the King and his heirs have said things about all these matters will greatly undermine their ability to remain neutral on any such issue raised in the future. , which the Sovereign expected no matter how serious.
The fact that their perceived opinion on any of these matters, even if based on past comments, will continue to influence public opinion and thus political book. If William’s dim view of the BBC leads many Britons to think that public funding should be withdrawn in the coming years, how will politicians respond to that pressure?
The monarchy did not have to deal with these issues for a while because, as long as Elizabeth remained on the throne, public opinion of the family and its role had largely stabilized.
That era has indeed ended. Now, Charles and William must navigate a limited amount of time, balancing old and new views of who they are in the face of pressure to be a non-political head of state. And, unlike Elizabeth, they will do so knowing that the popularity they rely on is less guaranteed than at any point in the 70-year reign of the longest-serving monarch.