Charles, the conflicted new monarch

Published September 9, 2022
<p>A June 5 file photo shows the Queen, standing beside Prince Charles, waving to the public as she appears on Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the platinum jubilee pageant.—AFP</p>

A June 5 file photo shows the Queen, standing beside Prince Charles, waving to the public as she appears on Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the platinum jubilee pageant.—AFP

LONDON: With the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth on Thursday, Prince Charles has finally become king of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms, ending a wait of more than 70 years — the longest by an heir in British history.

The role will be daunting. His late mother was overwhelmingly popular and respected, but she leaves a royal family that has seen reputations tarnished and relationships strained, inclu­ding over lingering allegations of racism against Buck­ingham Palace officials.

Charles confronts those challenges at the age of 73, the oldest monarch to take the throne in a lineage that dates back 1,000 years, with his second wife Camilla, who still divides public opinion, by his side. To detractors, the new king is weak, vain, interfering, and ill-equipped for the role of sovereign.

Read: All the queen’s kingdoms: Where did Elizabeth II reign?

He has been ridiculed for talking to plants and obsessing over architecture and the environment, and will long be associated with his failed first marriage to the late Princess Diana.

Supporters say that is a distortion of the good work he does, that he is simply misunderstood and that in areas such as climate change he has been ahead of his time.

They argue he is thoughtful and concerned about his fellow Britons from all communities and walks of life. His Prince’s Trust charity has helped more than one million unemployed and disadvantaged young people since its launch almost 50 years ago.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2022

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