Reviews | Post Elizabeth: Will Charles shut up on environmental issues?
During his long tenure as heir to the throne, Charles shared many opinions and earned a reputation for green activism. “By damaging our climate, we become the architects of our own destruction,” he warned at the COP climate meeting in Paris in 2015. “Global warming, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced,” he told the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020. “We now have a dangerously narrow window of opportunity to accelerate a green recovery” , he said last October.
In his first speech as king, Charles acknowledged he would have less freedom as a monarch – a traditionally apolitical role – to engage in “the charities and issues that I care so deeply about”. Royal fans and critics are watching to see if he is more circumspect in his new role.
Additional Background: The Royal Family’s official overseas travel is coordinated with the UK government. While Prime Minister Liz Truss may not have agreed with Charles’ climate advocacy, the opposition here could have been rooted in arranging a more diplomatically strategic early trip to the foreign.
A way for Charles to stay above the fray but signal royal support for green measures? Send the new heir to the throne, Prince William, to the Egyptian gathering.
ICYMI: Not so fast with this “climate king” label, warns Post journalist Shannon Osaka.
Here is the video of Charles’ first address as king:
Coronation Update: Yes, we have heard rumors about the start of next summer, but: Buckingham Palace has not yet confirmed a date. We will let you know when the timing is official. Some factors favor early June: the weather could be better for large crowds (thousands of people are expected to line the procession route), and this timing could coincide with an already scheduled spring holiday. The sovereign’s official birthday is marked each June with a military parade.
Many will be delighted to learn that the editors of The Times have been instructed to drop the term queen consort.
Whatever clarifying use it had during the mourning period expired. Queen Camilla is now to be referred to as such or, if there is no risk of confusion, as the Queen.
— Jack Blackburn 🇺🇦 (@HackBlackburn) October 5, 2022
See you soon, wife: The Times of London reportedly asked its editors to stop referring to the king’s wife as the queen consort in favor of “the queen”. Technically, the bridegroom is correct: Because Charles is the sovereign, his wife is his wife. There is no derision in this fact, but some see the references to Queen Consort Camilla as casting a majestic shadow, a way of labeling her status as Queen. There’s a sensibility around the term because when Charles and Camilla got engaged, in deference to fans of his first wife, Princess Diana, the couple said it was planned for Camilla to take the title of princess consort when of Charles’s ascension to the throne. In February, however, Queen Elizabeth II announced that she hoped Camilla would one day be known as queen consort, easing the path for her daughter-in-law to become queen once Charles becomes king.
Core four: Buckingham Palace released a photo of the four oldest royals at the end of their official mourning for Queen Elizabeth last weekend. The King and Queen Consort and the new Prince and Princess of Wales (better known as Prince William and Kate Middleton) are seen standing in front of a portrait of George III. Americans might recognize the name of the king against whom we revolted; here he is symbolic as Britain’s longest reigning male monarch, adding to the image’s message of continuity. Charles’s relaxed confidence – hand in pocket, arm around his wife – is remarkable, but so is the dark clothing that makes the portrait an unusual choice to mark the start of a new reign. The photo was taken on September 18, ahead of a reception for world leaders in London for the Queen’s funeral.
Outside : With the royal family’s period of mourning over, public activities have resumed. Events this week include Charles and Camilla marking the new city status of Dunfermline, Scotland. The king signed a guest book – and shed light on his past frustrations with a leaky pen. Accessories of his own to be able to laugh at himself; it’s both attractive and a way to cut through the traffic of less flattering moments.
William and Kate heading to northern ireland on Thursday, where they visited a suicide prevention charity in Belfast as well as a street market. What’s the royal twist on shaking things up? A mixology contest. See the video they posted on Twitter about who shuffled the fastest. Outside, while shaking hands with people in the crowd, Kate was heckled by a woman but kept her cool.
Earlier this week, William attended a Unite for Wildlife Summit in London, where he gave his first speech since becoming Prince of Wales. “Our natural world is one of our greatest assets,” the prince said. “It’s a lesson I learned at an early age from my father and my grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my grandmother who I missed very much, who cared so much of the natural world. In times of loss, it is a comfort to honor those we miss through the work we do. And I am very reassured by the progress we are making in ending the illegal wildlife trade. Look at the address on YouTube.
On Wednesday, Kate went to a maternity unit at a hospital in Surrey, England. Sophie, Countess of Wessex (wife of Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son), traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she sought to draw attention to the impact of sexual and gender-based violence in conflicts and anti-poaching initiatives. On this side of the Atlantic, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry during a visit to the Big Apple.
Back online: Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has resumed her Spotify podcast. (The latest episode delves into “conversations with Margaret Cho and Lisa Ling about the archetypes that attempt to limit and define Asian women.”)
Precious pouches: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (ex-wife of Prince Andrew, the late Queen’s scandalous second son), told a literary festival on Wednesday that it was a “great honour” to look after two queen’s dogs and called the corgis “national treasures”. (Silent applause for Fergie: Her Instagram post about her late mother-in-law was personal, but not obnoxiously syrupy.)
👑 alert! With season five of ‘The Crown’ set to return November 9 – some of us really don’t get much sleep after midnight on Election Day – many fans are re-watching the Netflix drama to prepare for the next set of stories. (Remember: This is a scripted series, “largely based on historical events”, not a documentary.) Of potential interest to royal watchers: Episodes centering on the late Queen and a fact check on whether a KGB spy really worked at Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry co-wrote a Post op-ed last October warning against corporate oil drilling in southern Africa’s Okavango watershed. “The Okavango is a life force, providing the main source of water for nearly a million Indigenous and local people and some of the most majestic wildlife on earth,” said Harry and l Namibian environmental activist Reinhold Mangundu. “Drilling is an outdated gamble that brings disastrous consequences for many and incredible wealth for the powerful few. It represents continued investment in fossil fuels instead of renewables.
Some European monarchies are downsizing – and some royals don’t take it well. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark recently revoked the royal titles of prince and princess of four of her grandchildren. “His demoted grandchildren and their father have made their disappointment clear,” writes London-based journalist Ellen Francis. Interestingly, the 82-year-old Queen (the continent’s longest serving monarch since the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II) has acknowledged the spat and apologized – but she is not changing course. Practical background: Danish grandchildren are not suddenly (gasp!) commoners; they will always have titles such as Earl and Countess. A few years ago, the King of Sweden also removed the titles of some of his grandchildren. Such changes are meant to signal that taxpayers will not support hordes of royals who are not close to the throne.
We continue to be charmed by this video clip of ITV royal reporter Chris Ship. In early February, on the eve of marking her 70th anniversary on the throne, Elizabeth II was shown items given to Queen Victoria in honor of her 60th anniversary on the throne. Then something – uh, someone – else caught the queen’s eye.
Follow @washingtonpost and @postopinions on Instagram for more news coverage.
Do you have questions about the British royal transition? submit them here.