Would Prince Charles make a good king or a fabulous Duke of Windsor?
The heir in waiting to the British throne has a long standing difficult relationship with his future subjects. Most recently to date, the Black Spider memos and the censorship row that he now finds himself at the centre of.
Many online sources question if the natural line of succession of the monarchy should skip a generation, if that is even possible or thinkable. Certainly from the comments on both articles above, by the Guardian and the Independent, are harsh to say the least, and the less said about commentators on the Daily Mail version the better (although some hilarious observations). But there does seem to be a resounding voice among the people that many do not want Charles to be King.
Although the general public may not grasp issues that the Prince of Wales speaks of, it seems that it is the Prince who is out of touch with what the general public want. Perhaps ahead of his time and restricted by his position in order to speak freely, is it the case that he would make a far better Duke of Windsor than a future monarch? Unlike his mother, he voices opinions, which of course will not be shared by all. Royals are not elected officials, they should not voice opinions, but he does and frequently. As a monarch this could be highly damaging, as the next Duke of Windsor, he could, within reason, say what he likes.
Perhaps the best way to address the problem of what exactly will happen when Her Majesty the Queen is succeeded is to ask what is the monarchy and what does todays monarchy stand for, what is it’s purpose?
Many argue that the monarch is expensive, outdated and should be abolished in favour of a republican system. If the current monarchy were to be dissolved then it could be replaced by a far more costly system of civil servants, for example, the new Scottish Parliament cost £414 million to build. Does Britain need such decadence that would make Marie Antoinette blush? Instead of a royal family that live naturally through hand-me-downs and second hand gold carriages that were commissioned for £7562 back in 1762 (not bad value for 253 years use)? It is clear from commentators online that the average subject doesn’t realise what good value the Royal family are in comparison to the alternatives. So what rocks the boat?
Perhaps devotion to the late and adored Princess Diana. Prince Charles has surely been judged for his more than publicised marital infidelities and indiscretions, and the historical Panorama interview will never be lived down on his part. Perhaps the way the royal family treated the late Princess? Perhaps the marriage of Camilla Parker-Bowles to the Prince? Maybe subjects, especially those who have been wronged in love, feel that it is inappropriate to have a monarch who would have to swear allegiance and undying loyalty under oath at a coronation.
Monarchies are fragile and can break if not handled carefully.
Queen Elizabeth II has had her own criticism during her reign, but has always maintained a dignified silence, no matter what the circumstances, and her nation admires her for that. But nothing lasts forever, and as she ages, some members of the public do not want Charles as King, but how could this be avoided?
One option could be for him to gracefully stand down and become the next Duke of Windsor, free to live out a life of opinions about his plants and other things. He may face criticism that he would be burdening his own child with the heavy duty of becoming the next monarch, but if handled by his, sometimes, skilful PR people, he could give an earnest speech and recognise what the nation may want.
Some would say, unthinkable! But to those who do, we say there have been other unthinkable instances, for example the lowering of the flag to half mast for the late Princess Diana, breaking from precedent as this never normally happens unless the monarch has died, but it did happen. And why did it happen, not easily, but it happened to appease the majority of the British public.
Supporters of Charles may say ‘Don’t be too hard on the poor guy’, or remind us of Matthew 7:1 Do not judge or you too will be judged, but Charles is not like others, one day, if he were to face a coronation, could he really take oaths of truth, loyalty and devotion?
Perhaps a graceful bowing out of the situation as the next Duke of Windsor wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Who knows, he might even visit Gibraltar. Food for thought.