Who in their right mind would want to be king or queen? Rule can be a troublesome if not outright bloody affair, as the various Edwards, Henrys, and Georgies have learned over the centuries; a job that involves much more than just the occasional trip across the English Channel to enjoy the French.
And that’s the lesson that the hottest* new sovereign of 2022, King Charles III, is currently learning.
On December 17, His Majesty passed the 100-day mark of his reign – a milestone that most of the world has missed because our eyes have been riveted on television screens and the constant dissatisfaction with the evangelism of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
However, if this year turned out to be a difficult start to the third Carolian age, then 2023 promises to be in the spirit of the Matterhorn.
An obvious place to start is Montecito and the Sussexes. I’d like to imagine that at a time of year when courtiers are furtively tipping Brandy Alexanders to their tables and deciding what to give their Jack Russells for Christmas, the royal family was busy surviving the last softly lit fire from California.
Over the course of six excruciatingly long episodes, the Sussexes are back this month to remind the world how rotten they think things are in the SW1 zip state, portraying not only the institution of the monarchy but Harry’s family as ultimately rather ruthless.
The couple’s Netflix “documentary” may have been pretty much the second stretch of their clutch. Oprah complaints, the end result of which was a one-sided hagiographic sally bearing as much resemblance to cinema verité as the episode The farmer wants a wife (perhaps they should have called it The prince wanted a wife?), but it was still a fresh blow.
Harry is reportedly far from settling scores by telling the truth, depending on your point of view. Sunday Times reported that Harry’s upcoming memoir Spare “includes statements about the monarchy that are more provocative than those made in the Netflix series.” The palace had better not put down their body armor just yet.
In one episode, Harry says “In order for us to move on to the next chapter, you have to finish the first chapter”, but will they ever be able to move on?
If you are tired of watching Harry and Megan, the anger he feels is palpable. Will this resentment, this seemingly deep-seated sense of injustice, ever magically end? Spare hit the shelves? Exactly.
There’s also the fact that the Sussexes’ financial ventures have so far relied heavily on their willingness to throw profuse royal mud, and it’s hard to see how that will change.
All of this essentially means that Charles will get even more fire from his son and daughter-in-law in the future, and yet he’s pretty much unsure how to react. If he protests publicly, it just gives oxygen to the PR fire, but if he doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t dispute their accusations and doesn’t seem to care about them.
On top of that, there are Harry’s ongoing lawsuits against the London Metropolitan Police after they shut down security for the Sussexes in 2020. In July, the Duke was granted the right to file a High Court case against the Home Office over a decision by Ravek, the Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures) to remove the family’s 24-hour bodyguards after they left official duties and moved to North America.
(If you think that’s where Harry’s legal maneuvering ends, in October Harry joined Sir Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley among other big names in a lawsuit against May dailylparent company, alleging that their privacy had been violated and their phones tapped.)
Namely, Charles should consider buying up Panadol in bulk, given the potential problems on that front.
In December, the Palace announced that the couple would be invited to his coronation on Saturday, May 6. As with the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive, their presence threatens to devour. attention and interest of the public and the press. After all, watching a 70-year-old man oil up and swear an oath is hardly as juicy as watching a soap opera that will see Harry and Meghan return to royalty after Netflix.
But don’t think the king’s problems are limited to the Sussexes.
Prince Andrew isn’t going anywhere, and it’s clearly a lingering, festering problem for the royal family. It was revealed in November that just days before Queen Elizabeth’s death in September, Charles had met with his younger brother in Scotland to seemingly let him know once and for all that any chance of a comeback was almost as real as Bam! reunion. ( daily mail reported that Andrew was left “bereft” and “tearful”, a testament to the stupidity and selfishness of the Duke of York.)
And yet, does anyone really think that Andrew (a man who is 78 percent arrogance, 14 percent Davidoff Cool Water aftershave, and 8 percent greasy black pudding sandwiches he eats alone in midnight) will ever come to terms with his dismissal. and finally accept your fate?
Further, never has the issue of race and the royal house been as acute as in 2022.
In March, William and Kate, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, embarked on a Caribbean tour that was supposed to be waving schoolboys and the curious pleasure of seeing photos of the couple in sunglasses. It didn’t seem to occur to anyone at Kensington Palace that this was the couple’s first tour since Black Lives Matter.
Instead of a predictable PR campaign for the Commonwealth, the couple faced simmering Republican sentiment and demands for reparations for slavery. Not soon forgotten are footage of Kate shaking hands with people of color across a wire fence, and the duo doing what looks like some sort of colonial cosplay while watching troops from the trunk of a Land Rover in Kingston.
By the time they flew back to London, the damage had already been done. The royal duo walked away looking woefully out of touch with the world and out of touch with the world, and the royal family looked downright dumbfounded as they faced the specters of colonialism and their own historical ties to the slave trade.
In the end of November, Telegraph It has been reported that Barbados, which became a republic last year, will seek damages from Lloyds of London, Oxford University and the Royal Bank of Scotland over their historical ties to slavery, raising the stakes that the royal family could also face claim for damages.
The Palace’s inept handling of the Caribbean debacle only reinforced the Sussexes’ accusations of institutional racism, as did the storm that erupted when the charity’s chief executive Ngozi Fulani revealed that Lady Susan Hussey, one of Queen Elizabeth’s longtime ladies-in-waiting, made racist comments about her at a palace reception. (In December, the two women met and Lady Susan personally apologized.)
During a tour of Wales, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness bluntly told the couple that the nation intended to “fulfill our true ambition and destiny” to become a republic and separate from the British monarchy. Charles should probably prepare for what at least one less country to rule in the near future.
It remains to be seen how many of the 14 countries where Charles is still head of state can succumb to the quest for independence.
All these fires could go out of control at any moment, and Charles doesn’t seem to be able to put them out.
More broadly, he has yet to prove himself as a king, as a unifying figure in an increasingly struggling Britain. Twice in the first months of his life he was publicly pelted with eggs by protesters; less than auspicious start.
When His Majesty walks down the aisle of Westminster Abbey in May, he will be wearing the St. Edward’s Crown, made for Charles II in 1662, with a 2.2kg gem-encrusted pommel. Poor Charles. By the time he’s there, trying to keep her from falling in front of the world, chances are he’ll understand how hard and clumsy the position of King can be.
(*Okay, he was the only new sovereign in 2022.)
Daniela Elser is a writer and royal commentator with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.
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