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King Charles III completes a month on the throne with discretion and uncertainty behind the scenes


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The days following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, full of ceremonies in honor of the sovereign, were for the new King Charles III a mixture of sobriety, protocol and, frankly, a little clumsy. After the official mourning, this Saturday (8) Charles completes a month on the throne, and little official news has come out of Buckingham Palace in recent weeks.

The new royal monogram, the pound coins with the monarch’s face and the occasional official photo were released. On condition of anonymity, members of the royal staff said they are working to have the coronation take place on June 3, a Sunday eight months from now. In the midst of discretion —which ultimately marked her mother’s reign—, little was clear about the future directions for the monarchy.

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Opinion polls, which regularly measure the popularity of the institution and the family, show a rebound in Charles’ approval, with an increase of more than 20 percentage points to 70% – still below that of his son and direct successor, Prince William. , although. From March to September, the desire for the United Kingdom to maintain the political system and the impression that the monarchy is good for the country also rose.

The question is how much more the impulse has to do with the commotion at the death of the queen than with the figure of the new king itself.

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In the few public agendas so far, he has sought to show support for both diversity and tradition: he hosted leaders from Asian communities, visited the town of Dunfermline, Scotland, and met with Australian politicians. He also gave the impression of a more informal tone, approaching subjects for greetings. Behind the scenes, on the other hand, less festive stories are also emerging.

One of them is the confirmation that the king will not go to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP27, next month in Egypt. According to the British press, Prime Minister Liz Truss would have suggested to the king that he decline the invitation – publicly, she said only that Charles’ agenda concerns only him and that his conversations with the monarch are private.

A Palace source said he had agreed not to go but was disappointed, and a minister said the king “has other priorities now”. In its place, Prince William must travel. The invitation was right: Charles’ first speech on the environment was made in 1970, when he was 21, with warnings about the threats of plastic and chemical disposal in rivers and at sea. Last year, he opened COP26 in Glasgow, replacing his mother, who needed to rest.

Upon assuming the throne, the king had said that he should move away from activities such as charity and environmental preservation projects, to dedicate himself to state affairs.

In Scotland, another controversy is taking a toll: according to The Guardian, the king has vetoed a bill being discussed in Parliament that would prevent homeowners from raising rents for the next six months, due to rising cost of living. An old rule, called royal consent, determines that the monarch can bar – in a secret way – any project that affects his personal interests, his public power or his private property.

And the royal family owns a lot of land in Scotland. Scottish ministers have refused to confirm to the press whether there was a veto. Elizabeth II used the mechanism to stop at least 67 pieces of legislation that affected her in the last 20 years.

Charles’ image had already taken a hit in mid-September, when an assistant announced to about a hundred employees at Clarence House that they might be sacked because, with the King’s move to Buckingham Palace, their duties would redound to the staff. of the new house. The movement has been called “heartless” by a union, given the time of mourning for the British, but the measure still does not appear to have taken effect.

The case added to his episodes with pens, which invaded the internet in the first week of his reign. In one of them, an inkwell leaked into his hand and he reacted by saying “Oh God, I hate this”.

No big deal, if the king hadn’t, three days earlier, beckoned brusquely — and clumsily disguised — for assistants to remove a case from his face on the table; the act was seen as that of a person who expects them to do everything for him.

To these setbacks in behavior the press has added the memory of the idiosyncrasies of Charles Philip Arthur George (his personal name unknown). One such story says that every morning your chef cooks half a dozen eggs, removing each one 30 seconds after the other. That way, he can choose, according to his preference that morning, whether he wants a soft-boiled egg, a well-boiled one, or any in-between—this was denied by Clarence House.

Paul Burrel, Princess Diana’s former butler (1961-1997), has said that Charles also expects his valets to put the paste on his toothbrush. The preference is one inch of paste, or 2.54 centimeters.

In a documentary about the royalty, the employee also said that Charles wakes up when a waiter opens the curtains and prepares a bathtub with seven inches of water at 20 degrees, with drops of Floris London No. 89 perfume; your towels are mathematically folded into a preset shape and the shoelaces must be ironed every morning.

He likes vegetables to be cooked with mineral water all the time, and he proves to be against food waste — surpluses are saved for the next time he sits down at the table. And he doesn’t dispense with a cracker and cheese after meals.

According to reports, the new king does not eat lunch; he has breakfast late and works straight through to dinner, which forces his direct assistants to at most swallow a sandwich hidden in their pocket, since they have to be on hand at all times. A Guardian report in 2002 pointed out that Elizabeth II thought her son’s staff was too big.

Other more prosaic curiosities have also been mentioned. In 1975, Charles became a member of a society of magicians, passing the entrance exam with a hidden balls trick. He once took a one-day course to learn how to escape a submarine, including a 100-foot deep dive into a tank.

Reminiscent of environmentalist verve, its cars — including Jaguar, Audi and Range Rover — would have been converted to run on biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil.

Newspapers also highlighted his taste for architecture. Poundbury, a village on the outskirts of Dorchester, in southwest England, was designed after Charles’ architectural precepts. With construction started in 1993, the site of 4,500 residents has no traffic signs — except for one, at the central roundabout — and the curved streets were designed so that cars do not run and pedestrians have the right of way.

The invariably ironic tone of Charles’ profiles, in short, demonstrates that the king has a lot to do to conquer a good image and lead the monarchy.

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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