King Charles’ reign is off to a better start than expected

  • I was at Buckingham Palace when Charles III returned as king after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Thousands of people cheered his arrival, some even shouting “Long live the King.”
  • Given Charles’ lack of popularity among the British public, it was a ray of hope in his reign.

When Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, arrived at Buckingham Palace on September 9, they Cheers swept the crowd of thousands of spectators.

From where I was in the crowd, I could see members of the public, people of all ages, gathering outside the palace gates holding phones and cameras, desperately trying to capture the new British sovereign as he drove past. And when Charles’ motorcade finally arrived, just a few minutes after 2 p.m., chants of “God save the King” and “Long live the King” reverberated through the crowd.

That was the day after Buckingham Palace announced it Queen Elizabeth II dies Peacefully aged 96 at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland. And although it was a moment when Charles told British Prime Minister Liz Truss that was “terrified” As reported by Reuters, it marked the beginning of his reign as king – a role he has waited seven decades to assume.

But those years of waiting to become king were not easy for Charles.

Only time has given the media more opportunity to scrutinize Charles. While the queen managed to survive very special character Until her death, the British public had historically viewed Charles as a flawed human being – and would probably prefer not to be king.

The Victoria Memorial was surrounded by spectators.

The Victoria Memorial was surrounded by spectators.

Maria Nouen / The Insider

There was a time when the idea of ​​Charles becoming king was questioned

Whether the public can accept Charles as king has long been the subject of speculation in the United Kingdom.

From his failed marriage to Princess Diana to the controversial beginning of his relationship with Queen Consort Camilla, The romantic scandals faced by Charles In the 1990s he left long-lasting scars on his reputation, from which he struggled to recover.

Diana spoke openly about the turbulent relationship she had with Charles during what is now considered to be one of them The most controversial royal interviews As ever, as Vanity Fair noted. While talking to the BBC’s Martin Bashir, the princess confirmed that Charles was doing it Extramarital affair with Camilaa famous saying: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

His scandals were so devastating that the MORI poll of public opinion in the United Kingdom about it Whether Charles will become a good king The New York Times reported that 82% said he would do so in 1991 to only 41% after his divorce from Diana in 1996.

Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prince William at Trooping the Color 1988.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Trooping the Color.

Tim Graham/Contributor/Getty Images

The British public has never forgiven Charles for his reckless marital behavior, even when He publicly admitted her and waited until 2005 to marry Camila In what might be considered an unusually demure wedding for a royal family.

In a 2016 Opinium Research survey about Queen’s successorThe Mirror reports that more than half of the 2,000 people surveyed said they would prefer his son Prince William to become King.

While Charles has seen positive press since the 1990s – he’s developed a public figure as a loving grandpa And the Climate Change Awareness Advocate – He’s been left on the back foot again in his relationship with Prince Harry, who She left royal life behind In 2020, broken.

After Harry told Oprah Winfrey in an interview with Everything in 2021 that Charles at one point stopped answering his calls, Insider’s Samantha Grendel reports that Popularity took a big hit.

Charles’ reception at Buckingham Palace signals a change of tide

As of Friday, the YouGov research dataset has reported this He is still ranked seventh among the royal familydespite occupying the most important position within the monarchy.

Topping the list is Queen Elizabeth II, whom historian and author Hugo Vickers once told The Insider would be “a difficult business to follow” for Charles.

People take pictures with their phones outside Buckingham Palace.

People take pictures with their phones outside Buckingham Palace.

Maria Nouen / The Insider

Having said that, I saw a glimmer of hope in the audience’s true enthusiasm for a new era at Buckingham Palace that could not be ignored. Someone named Linda I spoke to that day said he could have seen him as a good king because she thought he had the same “sense of duty” his mother was famous for.

Linda was among the thousands who came to lay flowers in honor of the Queen – these were the same people I’d seen and then went from mourning to cheering Charles and Camilla enthusiastically upon their arrival.

And it’s not just what I saw that day that proves that the tide is turning for Charles. YouGov released a new report on Thursday that already shares public opinion ‘Greatly transformed’ On Charles after the Queen’s death. 63% of 1,727 people surveyed across the UK on whether Charles would do well as king said yes, while only 15% said no.

In the end, Charles’s reign got off to a better start than she – and perhaps even him – had expected. But how far he can climb or fall in the public eye remains to be seen.

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