Elizabeth II 1926-2022 | King Charles III: The job of his life

All his life he will have been the crown prince who would succeed his mother to the British throne. And finally, on Thursday, at the age of 73, Prince Charles will take on the role he has been waiting for all these years: King of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms.

Posted at 1:53 p.m
Updated at 2:27 p.m

Jean Christophe Laurence

Jean Christophe Laurence
The press

The new British sovereign will take the name of Charles III, his services announced to Clarence House on Thursday.

The new King Charles, in his first intervention as sovereign, described the death of his mother Elizabeth II as “a moment of very great sadness” that would be felt “all over the world”.

“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a very sad moment for me and all my family members. We deeply mourn the loss of a beloved sovereign and a beloved mother. I know his loss will be felt deeply across the land, kingdoms and commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” the king said in a statement.

The new British Prime Minister Liz Truss called Charles “His Majesty Charles III”.

“Today, as it has done for over a thousand years, the crown goes to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III. about,” said the Prime Minister, who was received in audience by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday.

How is he received by his subjects? Unlike his mother, a highly consensual figure, Charles Windsor is anything but unanimous.

Over the years, the man has polarized public opinion, alternately being applauded, booed or ridiculed, and has long been a whipping boy in the tabloids. Just think of his ecological flights of fancy (harmony, A new way of looking at the worldpublished in 2010), his controversial lobbying with certain ministers (the Black spider memoswhere he offers his opinions on many subjects, from agriculture to architecture), his apology for homeopathy, his backward-looking architectural visions and of course his intimate conversations with Camilla Parker Bowles, who was exhibiting on the big day, is a romantic with a twist to say the least daring language reveal.

“His point of view will be different”

Those controversial episodes are long gone now. But the doubts about Prince Charles’ stature have not entirely disappeared. Does this stigmatized heir, who often seemed to lack the filter, have the stature to replace a sovereign as neutral and impeccable as Elisabeth?

For Penny Junor, author of two biographies on Prince Charles, the question just doesn’t arise.

Had the Queen died after Diana’s death in the mid-1990s, there would have been a bigger question mark. Because back then, Charles was deeply unpopular. But it’s been a long time. Today, public opinion towards him has changed.

Penny Junor, author of two biographies on Prince Charles

According to the British writer, Charles could surprise even as a sovereign. Where Elizabeth had accustomed us to royal reticence and avoided pronouncing on matters of public interest, Charles’s reign was marked by a new way of doing things, characterized by a greater involvement in modern subjects.

“Elizabeth was a conservative queen. She was popular but not innovative. Charles respects the monarchy, but I think his perspective will be different. People know what he thinks about urbanity, pollution, environment, organic farming, renewable energy and country life. These are questions that interested him before they became popular. My impression is that he will be more willing to listen to ordinary people. »

Are you confusing the skeptics?

Monarch historian Carolyn Harris agrees. Charles will be a monarch who might surprise, she believes, like her great-great-uncle Edward VII, who confused many skeptics after his accession to the throne.

“When he succeeded Queen Victoria, Edward was best known as a fun-loving person. But in the end he became a very popular personality and established himself as a diplomat. When he died he was so popular that some even speak of an Edwardian era. »

Elisabeth has been in the job for so long that it’s hard for the public to see anyone else in her place. But who knows, maybe Charles will grow into the role.

Carolyn Harris, historian of the monarchy

As per royal protocol, Charles automatically succeeds his mother to the throne. While in the past some have raised the possibility that the Prince of Wales might decide to pass the torch directly to his son William, an altogether more popular figure, Phillip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, is brushing speculation aside.

“Not a chance,” he said. It’s the job he’s been waiting for his whole life. »

at the Agence France-Presse

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