By Shawn Ness | September 12, 2022
Prince Charles III, left, Queen Elizabeth II, right
Photo Credit: Royal family website
Queen Elizabeth II died in Scotland on Thursday at the age of 96, and it leaves an important question for the United Kingdom after losing the country's longest-serving monarch. She will be succeeded by her eldest son, Prince Charles III. Charles will be the oldest person to take the throne.
The UK immediately set a plan into action in the days following the Queen's death: Operation London Bridge. Part of that plan includes a large security operation to settle civil unrest in the event that people get rowdy. Prior to this action occurring, a series of calls will go out to high-ranking officials to inform them of the Queen's passing. Following that is a string of visits that King Charles will have to pay to territories inside of the UK. Three days before the Queen’s funeral is set to take place, the Queen will lay in-state in the middle of Westminster hall, leaving her body to be viewed by the public for 23 hours per day until the funeral.
The royal house has undergone a number of scandals in recent years, with Elizabeth's second son, Prince Andrew being stripped of all his royal titles after a connection was made between himself and convicted child predator, Jeffery Epstein. The implications of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle leaving the royal family was also cause for scandal. Charles will now be tasked with navigating ongoing legal fallouts with Andrew, as well as social fallouts with Harry in an attempt to keep a strong image of the monarch as a whole. A large task of his as king will be to repair the relationships throughout the royal family.
“He has also long pushed to streamline the monarchy, partly to reduce its drain on the public purse. As king, he will be able to put that plan fully into action…” reported the New York Times. “In recent years, he has taken on several of the queen’s duties, from foreign trips to investitures… he placed a wreath at the monument to Britain’s fallen soldiers on her behalf.” He sits on the board of over 400 different charities.
Charles has never strayed away from political issues, speaking out against religious intolerance and Islamophobia. He even went as far as to call Chinese officials “appalling waxworks” in 1995 in response to Chinese soldiers replacing the Union Jack with the Chinese flag at the ceremony in Hong Kong where power was handed over from the British to the Chinese.
As the head of state, King Charles will not be tasked with enacting legislation or helping to write laws; that task is reserved for the head of government, Prime Minister Liz Truss, who assumed that position earlier this week. The head of state's powers are, for the most part, ceremonial and must remain neutral in the face of political matters. What the head of state does have is influence, so while they lack the ability to create or vote on legislation, they have much sway in what legislation has the opportunity to be brought to a vote.
The institution of the British monarchy is unlikely to die with the Queen. With a long line of heirs, and a plurality of British citizens according to an Ipsos MORI poll saying that the country would be worse off if the monarchy is abolished. The monarchy has sufficient levels of influence based on the country's past imperialism, and it is important for the royal family to maintain a good image at home.
If Charles can manage to repair the image of the royal family, his ruling may be viewed as a success. If he is unable to mend the wound, the perception of the royal family will weaken further.