Prince Charles has pushed the rules of what can be said for a monarch. Will the heir to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II be an equally political king?
The British monarchy is facing a turning point - and king Charles III. facing two challenges. The first is obvious: the heir to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II has to comfort a grieving nation while mourning the death of his mother himself. The second: He will have to prove that he can stay out of politics.
After all, a British monarch's first responsibility is to serve the unwritten constitution of the kingdom - not to influence it indirectly as a privileged voice. Last but not least, "I serve" is the official motto of the Prince of Wales, which is also documented on the insignia of the currently vacant title.
Well, Charles didn't strictly adhere to it at times.
In recent years, the prince Constantly getting involved in political debate, Charles has been noted for having strong opinions on everything from climate change to modernity architecture. And not always for the better. He always insisted that his opinions should be evaluated personally and not "monarchically". They were opinions anyway.
So it could be king Charles are attempting to (further) push the rules of what can be said for a monarch, as his friend and biographer Jonathan Dimbleby did a few years ago had already indicated? Such a move, Dimbleby said at the time, would mean a "seismic shift in the role of sovereign."
as Prince of Wales In any case, he took the freedom that a royal is not really entitled to, especially not one of his rank: he allowed himself a public political opinion.
A climate activist becomes king
The monarch entered political territory at the age of 21 when he raised awareness of the threats of pollution, plastic and overpopulation at a conference in Cardiff. That was in 1970, well before environmental concerns entered the political mainstream. At the time, he was considered "completely crazy" to put the issue on the agenda, said Charles later. Probably with a certain pride.
The environment, climate change and climate protection are for the former organic farmers and notorious Flower Whisperer has remained a central concern ever since, although the stages for his admonitions have become larger and larger over the years. 2008 appealed to the European Parliament, that the "doomsday clock of climate change is ticking".
He asked the G20 leaders in Rome in 2021, please to listen to the "desperate voices of young people" in the climate crisis: "It is impossible not to hear the voices of desperate young people who see you as stewards of the planet, who hold the viability of their future in their hands," was his urgent appeal. He was present at all kinds of climate conferences, gave speeches at the COP21 in Paris or COP26 Glasgow.
And the list goes on for a long time.
The monarch likes to interfere railed against modern architecturepresents itself as faithful representative of alternative medicine. And in the eyes of his critics, his political commitment has already overshot the mark.
With admonishing regards, Prince Charles
Charles had sent numerous letters to ministers and to former Prime Minister Tony Blair (1997 to 2007), released by the royal family in 2015 after a ten-year legal battle. The British "Guardian" had been fighting for the letters to be published since 2005, above all against the bitter resistance of the government.
In a letter from 2004, Charles called on the government to equip the armed forces with working attack helicopters, otherwise the soldiers would lack the "necessary equipment". prime minister Blair had previously sent British soldiers to Iraq. The monarch also thought about the future of agriculture and subsidies for mountain farmers.
Always on topics of public interest, as his office asserted in a statement at the time: Charles was only trying to pass on things that were brought to his attention. At the time, critics accused him of exploiting his position as future king and violating the principle of neutrality.
Similar, but different, Charles caused a shake of the head in Westminster just a few months ago. In June, the "time"that the prince sharply criticized the refugee deal with Rwanda in a private conversation. He was "outraged" at the idea of flying unwanted asylum seekers from England to Rwanda and was "more than disappointed" at government policy.
Since it was not a public statement, Charles's comments were not considered to be an immediate transgression - although some members of the government expressed anger. For example, cabinet members who wished not to be named warned the princethat he would no longer be able to afford "such interference" as a monarch. He apparently "misunderstood his role," a minister was quoted as saying.
King, right now
Now, as king, Charles will be forced to walk the razor-thin line between political interference and the throne's imperative of neutrality. And now of all times.
Because the density of crises is high: the kingdom is still divided into Brexit supporters and opponents, is fighting under the impression of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine under an economic crisis - and climate change has still not been stopped. Will King Charles III. can hold back?
Probably not, albeit behind closed doors and no longer in public, as "Guardian" columnist Simon Jenkins expects. For example, Charles could try to make his point at his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Liz Truss, the content of which is confidential. "It may not be more than a conversation with the most powerful person in the country," writes Jenkins, "but that in itself is an influential position." Especially since in Buckingham Palace and Westminster there is always a risk of a leak through which confidential information can leak out.
Charles may be king now, but things shouldn't be quiet about him.