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Will King Charles really keep his mouth shut during Britain’s economic crisis?

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As his subjects bear the heavy costs of the faltering British government, what can King Charles III do about it? nothing. Doing nothing in political crises is exactly what Queen Elizabeth II has always practiced – and she strongly advises her heir.

What the new king really thinks about the pain of falling sterling, the endangerment of millions of people’s pensions, the money-hungry welfare state, a winter in which many will find it hard to warm and nourish, and in Liz Truss a prime minister who seems as oblivious to danger as the captain of the Titanic – he can’t speak for all this.

Ironically, for years, the fear was that, as a king, Charles wouldn’t be able to keep his mouth shut. This was based on his record, as Prince of Wales, of sending notes, called “spider notes” due to his articulated writing, to various government ministers, with commentaries on policy.

In 2018, Charles vowed that it would be different once he took the throne: “If you become sovereign, you play the role as expected. So obviously I won’t be able to do the same things I did as heir… It’s a different job” .

In his first speech as King, Charles acknowledged his new world of forced dialectical restraint, saying, “Of course my life will change when I take on my new responsibilities. It is no longer possible for me to give so much of my time and energy to charities and causes that I care so deeply. But I know that this Important work will continue in the hands of others who are trusted.”

On Saturday, we saw that Truss was quick to take a hard line in imposing a muzzle, and on an issue Charles has long made one of his most fervent causes: climate change. The king had planned to join the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, later this month.

But, According to London Sunday times, canceled after Truss “advised” not to. A palace source was quoted as saying that the decision was made “entirely in the spirit of constant diligence as the king that he is acting on the advice of the government.” It is clear that Truss offers an extraordinarily powerful interpretation of what the constitutional authority of the prime minister’s advice actually means.

Truss was quick to exercise her new powers. The Queen died within days of accepting the resignation of Boris Johnson, the prime minister who organized a raucous party in 10 Downing Street on the eve of Prince Phillips’ funeral, and painted her to Truss as successor. As the state of mourning continues for the royal family, the new Conservative Prime Minister has set out to banish anyone who opposes her brutal ideas.

Its first victim was Sir Tom Scholar, who ran the British Treasury. He was fired without trial. I asked one of Britain’s wisest statesmen, Lord Robin Butler, who had served as private secretary to five prime ministers and then headed the civil service, what he thought of it. He said it was a “ridiculous gesture and I think the Truss government will regret it. If there was a time when the government needed stability and expertise in tackling the national and international problems it faces, now is the time.”

It took a little time for this alarm to be justified. And it’s a fair bet that the King’s more experienced advisors, with the same experience and worldview as Lord Butler, will feel the same. But they are gagged like the man they serve.

Truss’s fiscal policies are so reckless that they have received the kind of reprimand from the International Monetary Fund usually reserved for banana republics.

Although she was the environment minister from 2014 to 2016, Truss is not interested in appearing green in thought or action. She has complained that wind farms are “filling up” Britain’s Sylvan landscape, even though they occupy less than 0.1 percent of the land. It intends to abolish green taxes on energy bills, lift bans on fracking and ramp up fossil fuel production. In this, she is more extreme than many of her party members.

In addition to being hit, like much of Europe, by energy shortages and price inflation as a result of the war in Ukraine, there is a steady rise in the economic price of Brexit. Truss was forced to admit that his revered trade deal with the United States would not happen. It joined a long list of other dummy lifeboats that successive Conservative Party governments had promised but had not. Indeed, Truss’ fiscal policies are so reckless that they have received a kind of reprimand from the International Monetary Fund usually dedicated to banana republics.

The danger now for Charles is that the bleakness of Britain’s economic future could pose an increasing danger to the monarchy itself. The British people, perhaps facing years of austerity, may be as angry at the lavish trappings of the royal family as they are with the Tory doctrine of pampering the wealthy with tax cuts while deliberately dismantling the social safety net on which millions depend. survives.

So proprietary optics became crucial. In earlier times of trouble, the Queen remained a rainy head of state, always seemingly sympathetic, and was herself a legend born of a wartime “keep calm and carry on” patriotic spirit. Charles has none of this appeal. On top of that, his mother had left a HR nightmare that he had to deal with right away.

He inherited three royal courts, not one – the Queen, his own at Clarence House who gradually gained power as the surrogate remained, and the junior serving Will and Kate in Kensington Palace – now, as Prince and Princess of Wales, they have moved to Windsor and their independence has been curtailed by assimilation In the new court of Charles III.

No modern ruler has matched the long-dominant influence of Tommy Lascelles, the man who held an iron grip on the royal family the last time it passed from one era to the next, from George VI to Elizabeth II. Next, the young and inexperienced Queen was willing to accept the guidance of a powerful, deeply rooted and conservative medium.

It’s different this time. Shortly after the queen’s death, her private secretary, Edward Young, had to hand power to Charles’ principal, the most politically astute Clive Alderton. But any notion that this would lead to a migration of staff from Clarence House to Buckingham Palace was quickly confused.

Long before the current national crisis, Charles recognized the necessity of reducing the monarchy. It has become more urgent now.

While royal funeral rites were still in progress, about 100 Clarence House employees were warned that they could lose their jobs as the two main courts were merged. Some have worked for Charles for decades. (Charles’ private employees at Clarence House included four cooks, three maids, and two butlers.) They were angry, and this mishandling of pink slips does not bode well for a smooth, bloodless transition. The turf battles between the two courts will be fought bitterly, but staff death is inevitable because there is a lot of potential redundancy.

Long before the current national crisis, Charles recognized the necessity of reducing the monarchy. It has become more urgent now. And this must include the space of palaces and castles, which convey something of the extravagance of the Sun King. More than $500 million was spent renovating Buckingham Palace without actually knowing its future role.

As the Republic moves in, the palaces come under greater scrutiny. Charles could have foreseen this problem by making the palace and its extensive gardens more open to the public, keeping the famous terrace for ceremonial purposes, but otherwise making it more of an administrative center for his reign rather than a family residence, which was never quite convenient for him. He and Camilla are said to prefer living in Clarence House.

Can the kind of grandeur that creates a stunning setting for royal processions, as Windsor does, avoid the charge of aggressive ambivalence when so few enjoy such privileges?

During the Queen’s last year, when she moved from the palace to Windsor, power passed with her, but she is now back in London. Windsor will return to being a strange mixture of ancient ramparts, shrines to royal corpses of highly variable quality, royal archives that serve as a sealed vault for many family secrets rather than an aid to historians, and secret residences for closer relatives (where Andrew lurks still an unresolved embarrassment ), and an impressive royal garden that reflects the late queen’s equestrian interests.

Windsor also illustrates another dilemma for a potential reformed king. Is “Modern Property” really an antonym? Could the kind of grandeur that creates a stunning setting for royal processions, as Windsor does, evade the charge of being offensively unfit as a large family kindergarten while few others have such privileges? Or does the whole thing justify itself as one of the world’s most compelling tourist attractions, along with its celebrity residents?

Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the platinum pageant on June 5, 2022, in London, England.

Max Mambe / Indigo / Getty

And speaking of celebrities, did the Windsor family have an unresolved star billing issue? It’s early days so far that the family is still in mourning, but it’s already clear that when it comes to people, loves cameras and people without charisma, the new Prince of Wales and his family outlast the King and his Queen consort. , in a sign that there’s a barely pent-up yearning for Will and Kate as their best bet for achieving 21st century ownership.

Charles, of course, was never quite as lovable as them. And his personal flaws will not disappear because he wears the crown.

Sometimes a small event describes a larger habit, like the now infamous episode at Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland, when Charles and Camilla were signing a document with a fountain pen, which lived up to its name and started leaking ink. Charles bluntly exclaimed, “Oh my God, I hate this… I can’t stand this bloody thing, that’s what they do, every time it stinks.” Then he pushed the pen into Camilla’s hands, wiping his hands as he walked away.

Charles had always been uncomfortable with informal work and was inclined to reclaim the rank when he felt the respect he demanded was lacking.

Indeed, this has been his management style when things go wrong, as in his charitable foundation, the Prince Trust, where his response to the award-trading scandal has been to flee into the bush, claiming not to know the problem, and blaming others.

Even more disconcerting, to the public, was his undying concern for his wardrobe forcefully joining the “luxury” class in a way that the Queen, despite her immense wealth, had never reflected—indeed, in the last decade of her life, she went into a blaze of bright colour. That removed any whiff of elegance. By contrast, Charles had always been uncomfortable with informal work and tended to attract ranks when he felt that the respect he demanded was lacking.

The aura of royal entitlement that clung to Charles as Prince of Wales was sometimes used for vulgar commercial purposes, as happened earlier this year, when he approved the name of his personal country house, Highgrove, for use in the Highgrove Bouquet fragrance. The perfumer said: “His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was inspired to create a fragrance that captures the scent of Highgrove Gardens in summer.”

Now, having found himself king over a nation in hard times, he might not care so much about fragrance as about the stench of corrupt rule.

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