The party’s over for King Charles – now it’s time to get back to work.
The eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on Saturday at London’s Westminster Abbey. Following the pomp and pageantry, the monarch will need to lead an institution that many have criticized for being outdated and irrelevant today. Still, several royal experts insisted that the 74-year-old isn’t fazed by naysayers and instead, will follow his mother’s mantra: keep calm and carry on.
“The king has some difficult challenges ahead after the coronation,” British royal expert Shannon Felton Spence told Fox News Digital. “The affinity that existed for Queen Elizabeth II kept the monarchy afloat, as much of the public saw her as a grandmother-type figure. But since her death, there have been increasing calls to modernize this institution and to answer for, or even acknowledge, its colonial past.”
“[But] King Charles III is the right king at the right time to take this on,” Felton Spence shared. “He cares deeply about securing the institution but in a way that is pragmatic and modern. He has shown an ability and willingness to usher the British monarchy to its new era. He was on hand in 2021 when Barbados became a republic – effectively removing the British monarch as the head of state.”
“On a daily basis he is working on any of the diplomatic efforts – both in and out of the U.K,” she continued. “He is meeting with his staff about his patronages – the queen was a patron of over 500 organizations – acting as CEO to the royal family institution and making decisions about how each working member can best serve the government and the public and acting as CEO to the Duchy of Lancaster.”
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And Charles isn’t alone. The king has his eldest son, Prince William, in his corner. The 40-year-old is heir to the throne. His charities and causes – from mental health to the environment – have given hints of what sort of monarch he might one day be.
According to palace insiders, father and son have grown closer than ever following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal exit in 2020. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have aired out their grievances over the years, causing a painful rift within the House of Windsor.
Royal expert Duncan Larcombe told Fox News Digital that the king is still coming to terms with the impact of his younger son’s tell-alls.
“Since the queen’s death, Charles has been flawless so far and has won over new fans and people that perhaps thought he wasn’t going to be a good king,” Larcombe shared. “I think it’d be a case of trying to build on that. But he has got specific challenges ahead… That will be a priority as will trying to guide William as his heir and the job William has inherited.”
And Larcombe suspects that Charles may look to his son for fresh ideas. In November 2022, William, 40, and his wife Kate Middleton touched down in Boston, Massachusetts, on their first trip to the U.S. in eight years. The Prince and Princess of Wales were in town for three days of engagements leading up to their Earthshot Prize, which celebrates environmental innovators.
Larcombe noted there’s a possibility Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, may consider a trip to the U.S. to boost their public image.
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“As king, he will be expected to circumnavigate the globe,” Larcombe explained. “Meeting with foreign rulers and visiting places where the government of the day asked him to go because it’s the government that decides where the royals traveled to. Things very high on the list of priorities, for example, would be a visit to America. Places like Canada or New Zealand. They’ll want to get their first pictures with the king, and he will want to be seen.”
Nothing’s in the books for a U.S. trip – at least not yet.
“From dawn to dusk, the king works,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “He’s not into frivolity. He will continue to conduct more than 200 royal events every year, with at least a day and a half to prep. That’s almost every day! Does anyone know anyone who is 74½ years old doing that? [We can expect] more connection with people. He even walked over to the ‘Not My King’ protesters last week! He has guts and courage.”
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales have continued to connect with the public. Leading up to the coronation, they poured a pint of ale, hopped on the Tube and even took an order at an Indian restaurant. In between, they chatted with royal fans, tourists and locals. Hundreds of well-wishers, some hailing from China, Canada and the U.S., lined the streets, hoping for a glimpse of the couple, a handshake, or a selfie. At one point, William joked that he would have to watch how much he drank and “get back into work mode.”
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But not everyone has been in a celebratory mood.
Activists have long attempted to build momentum to dislodge Britain’s 1,000-year-old monarchy. And many have claimed the monarchy should have ended when the queen died. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch passed away in September 2022 at age 96.
Opinion polls suggest opposition and apathy to the monarchy are both growing. In a recent study by the National Center for Social Research, just 29% of respondents thought the monarchy was “very important” – the lowest level in the center’s 40 years of research on the subject. Opposition was highest among the young.
British broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti told Fox News Digital that growing backlash isn’t new territory for the Windsors. Therefore, it will be business as usual.
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“Charles knows the role well, as he has grown up and grown old watching his mother do it,” Sacerdoti explained. “Indeed, as she was able to do less, he took on many responsibilities even during her reign. So in that respect, he will not be surprised by what he has to do as king. Also, despite the coronation being this week, he has already been king for some months, and has had plenty of time to get used to it in reality.”
“He may find it challenging to reform the monarchy or the family should he wish to,” he shared. “He has spoken in the past about ’slimming down’ the working royal family… With the death of his parents, as well as Prince Andrew and Prince Harry no longer being working royals, there are now fewer of them to take on the work that needs to be done. So, in some respects, the slimming down may already have happened by other means.”
“The king will continue to emphasize service to the nation and the Commonwealth in his work, and also to perpetuate the support for the monarchy which his mother managed to enjoy,” Sacerdoti continued. “There are always contemporary issues for any monarch to deal with, but with the support of his very capable staff and advisers King Charles is highly likely to work hard at confronting any issues he encounters in a constructive and considered way.”
Felton Space pointed out that every Tuesday, the monarch meets with Britain’s prime minister privately. Larcombe shared that “no law is completely passed without his final signature” and “there’ll be a lot of paperwork that he would never have had to worry about before.”
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“These meetings are totally off the record and only the two of them are in the room,” said Spence. “It’s an opportunity for the prime minister to keep the monarchy updated in their priorities and the ins and outs of the government dealings, as well as a space for the monarch to provide any advice.”
In terms of what kind of king Charles will be, time will tell. But so far, he’s been looking to the past, while bracing himself for the future. And he has William alongside him.
“Every monarch does the job in their own way, so we may yet expect some differences and changes, but that is the nature of a monarch,” said Sacerdoti. “Just as with the coronation ceremony itself, King Charles is likely to change and modernize certain things whilst keeping tradition and history at the heart of what he does.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.