“The queen is dead, long live the king. » Now – as in the Middle Ages, when the throne did not remain vacant, at the risk of leading to a war of succession -, Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96, left the order of succession, which was set in the act. in the establishment of 1701, amended by the Act of Succession to the Crown of 2013, the throne of his eldest son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
A good day for one who occupied the antechamber of Buckingham Palace for a long time and who will reign in the name of Charles III. “He is the oldest British monarch to take the throne, which makes him, given his age, a transitional king,” believes Philippe Chassaigne, professor of contemporary history, specialist in Great Britain. While his mother, who took the throne at the age of 25, upon the death of his father, George VI, will break the record for the longest reign in the history of the United Kingdom, surpassing his great-grandmother, Victoria. , and his sixty-three years, seven months and two days.
The rejection of Edward VIII, was a trauma
For several years, Elizabeth let Charles take on more and more duties, without giving him the title of regent. At the same time, his son William, Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, Kate, are also on the starting blocks, taking on many representative functions. Will William wait for his father’s death to succeed him? A question many Britons ask themselves.
“Prince Charles has waited so long for this moment, that unless he has a serious illness, I don’t see him leaving the throne,” said Brian Cowan, a professor at McGill University in Montreal. However, if he is to agree to the idea that the monarchy embodied by his youngest son has a better chance of lasting, he must first evacuate for his own good. But in the family, “abdicate” is a taboo word. “Just as one does not speak of the poison in the house of a hanged man, one does not speak of the abduction of the house of Windsor. recalls Philippe Chassaigne.
The family experienced as a trauma the rejection of the throne by Edward VIII, uncle of Elizabeth II, who reigned only ten months and 21 days (from January 20 to December 11, 1936) and was never crowned. His decision to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson caused a scandal at the time, and the prime ministers of the United Kingdom opposed it. After several months of crisis, Edward VIII abdicated, leaving his place to Elizabeth’s father, who became George VI. Since then, mores have improved, in society as well as in court. Charles, divorced from Diana Spencer in August 1996, married Camilla Shand (formerly Parker Bowles), herself divorced.
Commitment to environmental causes
The queen’s eldest son is not well known, except for his commitment since the 1980s to environmental causes and organic farming without pesticides. The first Crown Prince to attend school, he was also the first in the family to graduate from a university, Trinity College in Cambridge, where he studied anthropology, archeology and history.
“He is a cultured man but has a troubled personality., continues Luc Borot. In a family where the rule was not to express his emotions, he confided to his biographer Jonathan Dimbleby that he “an unloved child, shy and lonely, with a dreamy and thoughtful nature, but (his) parents, little present to (his) young age, did everything to get angry (him) nature. » His unhappy marriage to Diana Spencer, “princess of hearts”his divorce and the latter’s accidental death, on August 31, 1997, gave him an image of coldness and apathy.
48% favorable opinions
“She was never as famous as her mother,” added Brian Cowan. In fact, according to the very serious YouGov poll, conducted in August 2019, the Queen is first among the most popular members of the royal family, with 72%, followed by her grandson Harry, 71%, then William, 69%. Charles is in seventh position with only 48% favorable opinions.
Will he be surprised by the modernization of the monarchy? On the religious question that makes the sovereignty of “Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” – head of the Church of England and sole protector of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland – Charles was surprised, even shocked, by explaining that he saw himself as the “defender of the faith”.