Charles, the heir presumptive to the British throne, had already taken the throne when his mother, Elizabeth II, passed away.
In a statement issued shortly after the formal notification of her passing, Charles referred to the demise of his “loving” mother as “a moment of the greatest anguish for me and all members of my family.” In the days to come, Charles will take on his new responsibilities and mourn a big loss.
He has spent his entire life in the spotlight, and he is well-known in Britain and throughout the world. However, no one knows what kind of king or queen King Charles III — the title he has assumed, putting an end to years of speculation — will become.
Before he turned 70 in 2018, I was given the opportunity to visit Dumfries House, his magnificent residence in Scotland, along with a number of other journalists. I stayed there for two days and was granted uncommon access to Charles and many of his close friends. I had a great time at high tea, banquets, tours of the estate, and a bagpipe performance next to a fire that was blazing.
For the future king, this is where his biggest hobbies and causes come together, from music to the preservation of rare breeds, internships for underprivileged children, and organic farming. There was a flurry of activity across the entire estate, and I could see how excited he was to walk around and question his employees.
Every Friday night, wherever he may be in the world, Charles receives a sizable report on the estate’s progress. He returns it to the estate with notes the following morning. His wife, Camilla, will attest to the fact that he stays up late every night reading, writing, and responding to support and guidance requests.
Charles made the position of Prince of Wales his own and professionalized it, unlike many of his predecessors who saw it as a ticket to a playboy lifestyle and a guaranteed income. Even though he didn’t want to wait till he was king, he desired a legacy. In my experience, he’s determined and impatient and gets really angry when one of his tasks isn’t completed.
“The signs were there from young adulthood,” Kenneth Dunsmuir told me during the visit to Dumfries House. Dunsmuir runs The Prince’s Foundation, an educational charity set up by Charles to help teach traditional arts and skills. “His concerns about social issues in the community and ecological issues were all there, and all that’s happened is that he has gotten more and more involved and has had the time to do that.”
Dumfries House is Charles’ stately home near Glasgow in Scotland.
Dunsmuir’s comment points to the other reason Charles achieved so much during his tenure: he was the longest-serving Prince of Wales ever due to the longevity of his mother’s reign. Dunsmuir thinks of Dumfries House, he said, as a “fantastic physical legacy to that work that will always be here and always remain.”
In speeches over the years, Charles has frequently struggled to suppress his enthusiasm for the job, expressing his ambitions and worries and frequently sounding more like a campaigner than a constitutional monarch-in-waiting. He was accused of endangering the monarchy’s impartiality and independence as a result. Consider the issue of climate change, which he has advocated since 1968. Since then, it has gained popularity and, for some, political significance. Charles was a strong supporter of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord and had a tea conversation with Donald Trump in December 2019 as he was getting ready to withdraw the United States from the agreement.
In November 2008, Charles, the Prince of Wales, struck a formal portrait-posing position. When the king died, he was crowned.
The following month, at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Charles gave a powerful speech, asking: “Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink in time to restore the balance when we could have done it?” ”
I sat down with Charles for an interview that day, and he insisted the Paris Accord was still achievable. If we go on like this, with every month another record in temperatures being broken, if we leave it too long, as we have done, just growing things is going to become difficult, “he said.
Despite criticism—and at times ridicule—for his efforts to be the royals’ ecowarrior, Charles has remained a leader on environmental issues in recent years.
Charles has taken a strong stance on a variety of touchy subjects, including homeopathy, architecture, and genetically engineered crops. He is now a more controversial figure than his mother, who hardly made an expression or voiced an opinion during her rule. Charles has always maintained that when he ascends to the throne, he plans to follow Elizabeth’s example and stop interfering. But not many people know that Elizabeth’s well-known ability not to offend or alienate people was more strategic than most people think.