Will King Charles III depart from Queen Elizabeth II's traditions? UK wonders
King Charles III news: The United Kingdom is already wondering if King Charles III will be able to fill in Queen Elizabeth II's shoes. From the looks of it, he already seems to be departing from the traditions practiced by the Queen. On his first full day on the throne, he seemed ready to chart at least a slightly different course.
When Charles traveled to Buckingham Palace for the first time as the new king Friday, his limousine snaked through a sea of spectators then stopped short of the palace gates before he got out and shook hands with well-wishers. Charles looked more like a U.S. president on the campaign trail than the latest steward of a 1,000-year-old hereditary monarchy.
“It was impressive, touching, a good move to come out to the crowds,” said Ammar Al-Baldawi, 64, a retiree from Hertfordshire who was among the throngs outside the palace. “I think that’s where the royal family needs to communicate with the people now.”
The Queen also met her subjects quite often. But King Charles III meeting them felt different — a bit less formal, a bit more relaxed and personal. He spent almost 10 minutes greeting people pressed up against the crowd-control barriers, smiling, waving, accepting condolences and the occasional bouquet of flowers as the audience broke out in a chorus of “God Save the King.”
After inspecting the tributes to his mother lined up outside the palace, he waved once more and walked through the gates with Camilla, the Queen Consort.
Charles has spent much of his adult life speaking out on issues that are important to him, particularly the environment. But as per the laws and traditions that govern Britain’s constitutional monarchy, the sovereign must stay out of partisan politics.
Charles’ efforts to engage with the public more intimately reflect the fact that he needs their support. There are difficult issues ahead, most pressingly how the 73-year-old king will carry out his role as head of state.
His words have caused friction with politicians and business leaders who accused the then-Prince of Wales of meddling in issues on which he should have remained silent.
The question is whether Charles will follow his mother’s example and muffle his personal opinions now that he is king, or use his new platform to reach a broader audience.
“My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities,″ he said. “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
Ed Owens, a historian and author of “The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53,” said that while Charles will tread a careful path, it’s unlikely he will suddenly stop talking about climate change and the environment — issues where there is a broad consensus about the urgent need for action.
“To not do so would not be true to the image that he has until this moment developed,” Owens said. John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, said he hopes Charles will continue speaking out about climate change because it is a universal issue that doesn’t involve ideology. Kerry was in Scotland to meet with the Prince of Wales this week, but the session was canceled when the queen died.
(With inputs from AP)
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