With the ceremonies over, King Charles III faces his greatest task – Smithers Interior News


Cannons rang, bells rang, and mourners paid their respects.

Now King Charles III is faced with the task of preserving a 1,000-year-old monarchy that his mother nurtured for seven decades, but which faces an uncertain future. The challenge is immense.

Personal affection for the Queen meant the role of the monarchy in British society was rarely debated in recent years. But now that she’s gone, the royal family wonders if she’s still relevant in a modern, multicultural nation that looks very different from when Elizabeth took the throne in 1952.

Amid a global re-examination of the history of colonialism and slavery that has seen protesters tear down or deface statues in cities and UK universities like Oxford and Cambridge alter their course offerings, an institution that was once the symbol of the British Empire is likely to come under renewed scrutiny.

Charles will try to “maintain continuity” while signaling that the royal family is ready for change, said Anna Whitelock, professor of the history of modern monarchy at City University London. But he faces a series of questions.

“What place does a monarchy have in a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic society? Whitelock asked. “And is this the right rallying point for the nation? And should he be the monarch representing the UK abroad? What does it say about us? Is it a bastion of tradition that people should applaud? Or is it actually a brake on progress that does not represent the inclusive and diverse society that people hope Britain will now become?

And there’s another, more personal question lurking in the background: Is a 73-year-old white man the best person to deal with these issues?

Charles waited longer than any other heir to ascend the throne and in many ways epitomizes the modernization of the monarchy. He was the first monarch not to be educated at home, the first to graduate from college and the first to grow up under the ever-increasing glare of the media as deference to royalty faded.

He has been hailed as one of the earliest advocates of the environmental movement and has received accolades for his work to improve the lives of young people in disadvantaged communities.

But he also has the reputation, perhaps undeserved, of a somewhat stuffy old man who is more at home on the polo field or in one of his country estates than in football-crazed towns. of modern Britain.

Charles has also alienated many with his messy divorce from beloved Princess Diana and by straining the rules barring the Royal Family from intervening in public affairs, getting into debates over issues such as environmental protection and architectural preservation.

As the UK mourned its mother, it quickly became clear that Charles was ready to be a more personal monarch. He made a point of wading through the crowd of well-wishers, pausing to shake hands and exchange a few words, more like a US presidential candidate calling for votes than a king who inherited the crown of a line of ancestors dating back to 1066.

One woman even kissed him – a level of familiarity no one would have dared with Elizabeth.

At Monday’s state funeral for the late Queen, Bertram Leon personified the challenges facing Charles.

A proud Briton whose roots go back to the Windrush generation of immigrants who came to the UK from the Caribbean after World War II, Leon was at Westminster Abbey representing the community of Saint Lucia in honor of the Queen. Now he expects Charles to take the monarchy in a new direction.

“The King is actually going to change, maybe modernize the monarchy to the image he has these days,” Leon said, his British Empire Medal pinned to his chest. “We can’t live in the 1920s, 30s or 50s, when Elizabeth took over. We are now in the 21st century, and I think things are going to be considered and looked at a little differently.

As well as being King of the United Kingdom, Charles is the head of state of 14 “kingdoms” which retained the monarch as their sovereign after gaining independence from the former British Empire. It was in these distant nations, stretching from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean, that Charles might face his first challenges.

The pressures were clear earlier this year when Prince William and his wife, Kate, faced calls for a royal apology and reparations for slavery during a trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne.

During the visit, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the royal family that his country was “moving on”, months after Barbados severed its ties with the monarchy.

The royal family has also faced criticism from within after Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, gave up their royal duties and moved to California. In a widely publicized interview with American TV host Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, the couple alleged that the palace had been insensitive towards Meghan, who is bi-racial, and that a member of the royal family had asked questions. questions about the skin color of their first child. before his birth.

Charles sought to resolve tensions at home and abroad during his first speech as king.

“Wherever you live in the UK, or in kingdoms and territories around the world, and whatever your origins or beliefs, I will strive to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life,” he said.

Charles also faced concerns about how he would fare as king.

The laws and traditions that govern Britain’s constitutional monarchy dictate that the sovereign must stay out of partisan politics, but Charles has spent much of his adult life speaking out on issues close to his heart, especially the environment.

His words caused friction with politicians and business leaders who accused the then Prince of Wales of meddling in issues he should have kept quiet about.

The question is whether Charles will follow his mother’s lead and stifle his personal opinions now that he’s king, or use his new platform to reach a wider audience.

“My life will of course change as I take on my new responsibilities,” Charles said. “It will no longer be possible for me to devote so much of my time and energy to charities and the issues that are so close to my heart. But I know that this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others.

The king has made it clear that he intends to lighten the monarchy, limiting the number of active royals and reducing the expense of supporting them.

But for 10 days Britain spared no expense in honoring Elizabeth, who has become a heartwarming symbol of stability through the tumultuous years of her long reign.

The whole spectacle that has become synonymous with the Royal Family was on display as uniformed members of the Royal Family marched solemnly behind a gun carriage carrying the Queen’s coffin away from Buckingham Palace, cannons and church bells rang out in lamentation and world leaders packed Westminster Abbey for her funeral.

But it was pageantry with a purpose, celebrating the Queen’s life while reminding the public of the monarchy’s role in public life and connecting the people to the Royal Family at this time of shared grief.

“People often criticize the British monarchy or even deride it as pomp, circumstance and emptiness,” said historian Robert Lacey, author of ‘Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor’.

“Well, an occasion like this shows that it’s not emptiness, that pomp and circumstance mean something.”

—Danica Kirka, Associated Press

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