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“Rex nunquam moritur”. The king never dies, but none had waited as long to be like Charles.

Ending a record wait in the history of the British monarchy, Charles automatically became king upon his mother’s death, in keeping with the old Latin maxim “Rex nunquam moritur” (the king never dies).

When she turned 73, Elizabeth II had already been queen for over 40 years. The year was 1999 and the firstborn of the queen and heir to the crown, Charles, Prince of Wales, was 51 years old, had a failed marriage, a relationship that was both conniving and troubled with the obligations of his condition and a certain bitterness of the English people. , two years after the death of Princess Diana, mother of their two children.

No one knew, nor could they have known, that he would wait another 22 years until he became king. An expectation that is hardly gentle in the context of a mother-son relationship, as succession has always implied the death or disability of the monarch. Now, disability was what Isabel II did not have in her 96 years of life, only showing poorer health in the last year and, even so, not failing to maintain, as far as possible, her duties as queen.

It is not surprising that in this bottomless pit that is the internet, one of the questions listed as frequently asked about the now king Charles III was “will Prince Charles ever be king?”. Never has any king in the history of England been so long in the queue for succession; before Charles, the record belonged to Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, who nevertheless ascended the throne at the age of 59. He is also the oldest monarch to inherit the crown, before him that record belonged to William IV, who was 64 years old when he became king in 1831.

The wait was long, but it didn’t make him a long-awaited king. It is “only” the 17th. member of the most popular royal family among the British, being surpassed even by his sister, the discreet Princess Anne. According to YouGov data, it had only 54% favorable opinions in August 2021, far behind the Queen (80%), son Prince William (78%), daughter-in-law Kate Middleton (75%) and sister, Princess. Anne (65%). 25% of Brits say they really don’t like him and 30% just feel neutral.

Prince William, firstborn of Charles and Diana, has long been on the list of preferences, and although there was some speculation about the possibility of an abdication from father to son, not only did it not happen, but, according to several analysts, it was never about to happen. . Because? Because despite several family disagreements, Charles was prepared and prepared to be king throughout his life. He was just 3 years old when his mother was proclaimed queen, and he ascends to the throne nearly 70 years later. William, currently 40 years old and second in line to the succession, will now be the prince in the queue.

“Tension in the palace, Charles refuses to be a mute king”
Carlos comes to the throne with a reputation for being more politically active than his mother, having a close connection to a variety of causes ranging from organic farming to youth poverty. He also has strong interests in the arts, particularly classical architecture.

The new British king, until now known as Prince Charles, will adopt the name Charles III. There are those who think it was unoriginal – “he could surprise and use another of his names, as his great-grandfather did in 1901”, Bob Morris, author of several books on the future of the monarchy in the UK, told AFP, but in fact using the birth name is even an originality in the United Kingdom, with Elizabeth II being one of the precursors.

In December 2016, in the same year that England endorsed the departure from the European Union, Carlos gave voice to the denunciation of populism and publicly showed himself against the hostility shown by some groups towards refugees.

“We are seeing the rise of many populist groups around the world, increasingly aggressive towards those who profess a minority faith.” All of this has deeply unsettling echoes of the dark days of the 1930s,” she said.

His “activism” gave rise to headlines such as: “Tension at Palace, Charles Refuses to be a Mute King” (Sunday Times), or “Queen Fears Country Isn’t Ready to Accept Carlos and His Activism” (The Times).

The two headlines responded to a controversial biography, “Charles: Heart of a King”, whose author, Catherine Mayer, presented him as an “unenthusiastic” man to replace his mother, for fear of having to abandon his interests, and surrounded by many people willing to serve him.

Camilla, the queen consort
A vigorous public relations campaign helped him turn the page on his unpopularity at the time of the tragic death of his ex-wife, Princess Diana, in 1997, from whom he had been divorced. She also helped him manage his new marriage to Camilla, the woman he’s been in love with all his life, in 2005.

Despite carrying the label of being the woman behind the divorce, Camilla, outgoing and laughing, ended up winning the sympathy of most Brits.

This Thursday, she automatically became queen consort by the express wish of Elizabeth II, who said so in a speech in February 2022 on the occasion of her 70 years of reign. It’s the title your mother and grandmother had.

The new king assumes the reins of an institution with a reduced role in the world, at a time and age that represent a double challenge for this prince of singular personality.

Since his first official engagements in the 1970s, the Prince of Wales’s role has been one of “support”, hosting dignitaries, attending state dinners and traveling to a hundred countries, especially after Elizabeth II was in better health. fragile.

Since the death of his father Philip in April 2021, and while the Queen was less present for health reasons, Carlos has narrowed the royal circle to his closest entourage: Camila, William and her younger brother Edward.

No one knows how Charles Philip Arthur George will embody the British monarchy, but whatever happens, it won’t be for lack of preparation time.

*With AFP

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