Why the Germans are enthusiastic about the British royal family
Et is of course not true that Germans find the British royal family particularly fascinating because it has German roots. king Charles III may be able to pronounce the surnames of his ancestors, Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha as well as Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, almost without an accent; he speaks German like his father Prince Philip did, as was shown once again in his historic speech in the German Bundestag on Thursday.
But we certainly don’t see him as our King Karl, because we secretly long for a time long gone in this country. Nobody seriously wants our old Kaiser Wilhelm back, as it says in the Fehrbelliner cavalry march, which by the way does not refer to Wilhelm II, but to the founder of the empire and first German Kaiser Wilhelm I.
Forty visits as heir to the throne
There is no doubt that Charles has close ties to Germany and the Germans. As heir to the throne, he came to visit more than forty times, also because his aunts, his father’s sisters, married into old German aristocratic families. In the beginning there were at least a lot of private visits. Charles appreciates the supposedly German virtues, which he inherited from his mother: punctuality, diligence, dedication.
The Germans, on the other hand, are a people who love gossip. In fact, almost half of them say they are interested in the British monarchy, with all its ups and downs. This does not only refer to the often highly banal, family-related quarrels of the Mountbatten-Windsors.
Charles has actually left the shallows of the boulevard behind for a long time. At the wrong time, after the death of his mother and before his coronation in May, he was accused of his second-born son Harry, who had fled to America, and his wife Meghan.
It continues to pay off for the royal family to remain staunchly silent on the often unfounded allegations made by the ducal couple of Sussex, which range from cold-heartedness to racism within the royal family. Even Camilla, long blamed for the failure of Charles’ first marriage to Diana, is now more popular than Harry and Meghan in most polls.
Charles’s asset to wield is his credibility. Like his mother, he stands for a continuity that is not only felt to be beneficial in the UK, especially after the political upheaval that Brexit has brought with it, which includes five prime ministers in six years.
Just as long as Elizabeth II was queen, Charles was her heir apparent. As king, he now stands out, like his mother, among European monarchs. He is still the head of state for a number of countries and also presides over the Commonwealth with its 56 states.
His themes are modern
Undeterred, Charles went his own way. For almost 50 years he has been committed to nature conservation, ecological agriculture and alternative medicine. Back then, when he first spoke about climate change, he was smiled at for it. Today, precisely these themes have suddenly made it very modern for the young, the supposedly last generation.
Of course, he also spoke in the Bundestag about the possibilities of climate protection, for example about the German-British cooperation on the hydrogen economy. Both countries are already the largest producers of offshore wind in Europe.
Under the glass dome, “a beacon of democracy” that the British architect Sir Norman Foster built for us Germans after reunification, Charles acknowledged the old friendship between the British and Germans. That too was a clear sign of continuity: Elizabeth II had already taken a decisive step towards reconciliation between the two nations in 1965 with her first state visit to Germany after the devastating war.
It fills him with particular pride to renew these bonds now as king, said Charles. His message is that there is nothing to be quibbled about in friendship, even if the kingdom is no longer part of the European Union. A small smile at the expense of the other is quite permissible among friends. Who would contradict him?
Charles also spoke of the scourge of war that has returned to Europe and threatens our values. The ranks must be kept firmly closed to defend peace and freedom. Who could do that better as a symbol than the supreme representative of one of the oldest democracies? Charles carries weight, as a person and as a monarch. In this respect he is also our king.