What King Charles III. different from the Queen

Ahen Charles appeared alone for the first time as representative of the monarchy at Westminster Palace and opened the parliamentary season in the House of Lords in May, there was still an empty throne next to him. All should see that the holder of the crown was alive and that he was fulfilling her constitutional duties only by proxy. On Monday there was again a second armchair on the stage, but this time his wife Camilla took a seat there as "Queen Consort". The stage now belongs solely to the new royal couple. As the new monarch, Charles was to address both houses of Parliament at a commemoration ceremony.

The scene was Westminster Hall, the almost 1000-year-old heart of the palace. Here coronation banquets were held and trials; Charles' namesake, King Charles I, was sentenced to death here in 1649. The Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord McFall of Alcluith, on Monday called the hall with its massive wooden ceiling a "living space that, like our great nation, has always evolved". Important anniversaries were celebrated here and great speeches were given by Charles de Gaulle and Nelson Mandela, for example. On Wednesday, Elisabeth's coffin will be laid out here for five days.

Follow, don't copy

Charles was brief. With a quote from Shakespeare about Elizabeth I, he tried to span the historical arc, and then paid his respects to those present: "Parliament is the living and breathing instrument of our democracy." Again he recalled the vow of his mother and her " example of selfless service”. He was determined to follow this "faithfully with God's help and your advice".

However, following does not mean copying. Already on Friday, when he made his first appearance as king, Charles had made it clear that he would be different from his mother. When he returned to London from Balmoral, he spontaneously approached mourners in front of Buckingham Palace, spoke to them and shook hands. The Queen hadn't had that in 70 years; her style included elegant distance. In his televised speech, too, Charles struck a tone that contrasted with his mother's style. He spoke not only as a head of state, but as a mourner. Although his emotions were unmistakable, he had not repeated the recording that had preceded his speech. There was a message in it: someone is different here – and willing to show it.

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