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Queen’s death raises fundamental questions over future of monarchy

08 Sep 2022 3 minute read
The Prince of Wales delivers the Queen’s Speech. Photo Alastair Grant PA Images
Professor Anna Whitelock suggested the Duke of Cambridge, rather than the Prince of Wales, might be a better prospect as King for the institution’s survival.

But she said Charles would not step down in favour of his son, so his commitment to his role could potentially be the demise of the monarchy.

The author said that while the Queen was the lynchpin of the monarchy, Charles lacks the “mystique” that surrounded his mother.

“There’s going to be all kinds of questions about the relevance of monarchy, about whether in fact Charles is the best embodiment of monarchy,” Prof Whitelock told the PA news agency.

“We know that he’s dabbled in politics. He doesn’t have the kind of mystique of monarchy that the Queen had. We know in great detail Charles’s back story in terms of his relationships.

“We know so much about him. He doesn’t have that sense of mystique. I don’t think he commands the reverence that I think the Queen had.”

Big questions

She added: “So in many ways it’s going to raise some very big questions about what the monarchy is for, what it represents – not just in Britain but in other parts of the Commonwealth. The Queen was very much the lynchpin of all of that.”

Prof Whitelock, professor of the history of monarchy at City University, suggested that the Duke of Cambridge – now heir to the throne – might be a better choice of sovereign to ensure the monarchy’s survival.

“If William were succeeding that would be the best prospect for the monarchy – a younger, more accessible face of the monarchy,” she said.

“There’s no way Charles will step down. In a sense, him being committed to his role might be the demise of the monarchy, actually.”

The time leading up to the new King’s coronation could be a turbulent one, according to Prof Whitelock.

“Coronations don’t happen quickly anyway historically. They take some time. But the Queen’s funeral will be absolutely immense.

“It’s going to be a hard time while everybody is committed to paying due reverence to the Queen, grieving her properly, but almost at the same time there will be a massive: ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen to the monarchy now?’”

Defender of Faith 

In 1994, as a passionate advocate of religious tolerance, Charles caused controversy when he spoke of his desire to become “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith” when king – raising the prospect of a major change in the ancient relationship between the Church and the monarchy.

Charles later said in 2015 that he believed it was possible to be “Defender of the Faith” as well as being a protector of faiths.

Prof Whitelock, who is also director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy, said such a switch was not a straightforward one, adding: “All of these things make nice soundbites, but the implications are huge.”

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1 year ago

Our hard working ER2 has now sadly passed after a life time of service and toleration of 15 U.K. Prime Ministers…of differing abilities and morals .

We must wish her son all the best and now start some thinking as to how best we see our nation of Wales moving towards a system aa best suites us… an inclusive, outward looking , diverse and aspiring country.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard

I hope that the people who’ve disliked this post can reflect. Even if we think selfishly, majority of people liked Queen Elizabeth II so it’s going to be more difficult to get people on your side if you can’t at least acknowledge her legacy.

But seriously, where is that petition to stop William being named Prince of Wales?? That title should be for a Welsh person or not exist at all.

1 year ago
Reply to  George

Yes, we can reflect. Whatever one’s misgivings about the monarchy, most of us recognised that the Queen commanded a certain degree of affability and respectability, even amongst ardent republicans. The same cannot be said of her son however, or the other royals, who are more associated with a luxurious and party lifestyle (and in some cases, scandal), than they are with duty or service. Given Charles’ predilection for interfering in politics also, I think people are right to be concerned and I disagree that we immediately “owe” him our trust, loyalty or good wishes. I welcome a discussion about Wales’… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by SundanceKid
1 year ago

Republic, now

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

The late Monarch had no residence in Wales even though we were a Kingdom of kingdoms. No respect was shown to us afforded to Scotland. The newly crowned King Charles III reneged on his pledge made at his 1969 investiture speech as Prince of Wales to serve the Welsh people. Charles made lame excuse once in an interview to BBC Wales anchor Lucy Cohen, ” I’ve got other titles you know” the reason.for his absence only moving into a holiday cottage in Carmarthenshire 40 years after his investiture.. We in Wales have been treated with utter contempt throught our vast… Read more »

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