HomeLife‘I feel sorry for King Charles’

‘I feel sorry for King Charles’

I feel sorry for King Charles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an ardent supporter of some kind of republic for Australia. I haven’t fallen in love with all the pomp and ceremony that dominated our media for weeks after the Queen’s death.

I do acknowledge the Queen’s exemplary duty and devotion to her role and to her nation, but the concept of blue blood and royalty grates with me. Why should an accident of birth mean that I should bow to someone or that they are somehow better than the average man or woman?

But back to Charles. I feel sorry for him because all his life, his 73 years, he has been preparing for the role he inherited. It must have been such a double-edged moment – the job he knew would eventually go to him had to be at the expense of his mother. There are very few people in the world who have had to face that destiny, a cruel one if you like, a gut-wrenching journey to a job that few would envy.

Read: Frowns and wrinkles – a curse or testament to a well-lived life?

There was a moment in St George’s Chapel, as the Queen’s body was being interred, when the cameras focused on Charles’ face. He momentarily bit his lower lip, a small gesture, on what was otherwise a drawn, yet controlled face. For me that conveyed an enormous amount of pain and emotion. It conveyed to me a conflicted man, grief-struck and exhausted, but also a man who must surely question his skills to handle the role that his mother managed so well.

Will he be as well liked as she was? Will the monarchy in fact be seen as anachronistic and no longer of relevance to the British people? Will he be able to handle the immense role and pressure of royal commitments at his age? The Queen, of course, inherited this role at a young age and managed to shape it to her changing circumstances – her pregnancies and world-wind royal tours seemingly effortlessly carried out. She also had time to grow into the role.

Read: Planning for a grey future

Charles, as Prince of Wales, has no doubt already lived a life in a goldfish bowl of media attention and his many courtiers have stage-managed his life to avoid as much scandal and bad press as they could. He seems to have been forgiven for his infidelities and many people are pleased that he was finally able to be with the woman he loved, and loves. The pity is that ‘the Firm’ intervened in his life all those years ago.

Yet, now as king, the stakes are higher. The very concept of the existence of the monarchy must surely pass across Charles’ mind. There are many royal families in Europe that are now defunct, clinging onto titles that mean little and that have no great sway in the world of public opinion or politics.

He needs to show that he is capable, compassionate and ready to modernise the monarchy without making it redundant. A difficult task ahead and one for a man who in other walks of life would be retired and sunning himself in the back garden, perhaps a beer or wine in hand in the late afternoon, admiring his flowers or vegies. (Pardon my outrageous stereotype.)

I wish him luck. He will need it.

Do you feel sorry for Charles? Would you choose to be born into the royal family? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?


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