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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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HomeCulture WarsTime to think the unthinkable about King Charles III?

Time to think the unthinkable about King Charles III?

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AS A committed supporter of the many advantages of living in a country with a well established constitutional monarchy, and a great admirer of the late Queen Elizabeth II and her life of service to Great Britain and the British Commonwealth over several decades, I ask this with some trepidation and a heavy heart. However, how much more of her successor, King Charles III, can we afford to take?

Queen Elizabeth II, whom I first set eyes on as a star-struck young teenager when her car passed slowly in front of me in 1969 on her way to a fleet review at Spithead celebrating 25 years of Nato, was a past master of keeping any views she may have had to herself. As such she was always a symbol of unity and continuity within an increasingly divided country falling into decline, and was admired throughout much of the world, especially throughout the Commonwealth, and by many world leaders from the era of Eisenhower and Churchill to that of Trump and Macron several decades later.

Witnessing her funeral, it was hard not to think that we were losing our final link to the country we once were and the people we once were, especially if we also dwelt on how things were likely to unravel under her son. So it has transpired, and rapidly too.

In barely a year as her successor, King Charles threatens to destroy much of her work and that of her predecessors. His notoriously close relationship with Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum had already given rise to suspicions and concerns that things would quickly come unstuck during his reign.

Charles seems unable to curb his tongue or avoid wading into hotly contested political territory. In recent weeks his alarmist views on ‘climate change‘ have come to the fore yet again with his keynote speech at COP28 in Dubai.

It is one thing for a political activist, party politician or private individual to say what he said at COP28; quite another for it to come from a head of state. His sayings cannot be indulged as the harmless witterings of an out-of-touch old man, as some still complacently like to do. It becomes especially repugnant when we remember the consequences of climate policies for ordinary UK citizens in the shape of much higher fuel and heating prices, outright falls in living standards and increasing restrictions on how we choose to travel. For that to have the seal of approval from the most privileged person in the country, and for him to call for even more severe measures to follow, is somewhat tone deaf – to put it mildly. It is particularly so when he is addressing world leaders, many of whom have done precisely nothing about carbon emissions in their own countries or indeed have actively exploited the gullibility of Western nations on this issue.

‘Climate change’ is far from the only controversial subject Charles has embroiled himself in. His tongue has been rather loose on the subject of slavery reparations in recent months. It is one thing for the Royal Family and other wealthy families with historic links to the slave trade to finance their own ‘reparations’ for their past connections to the slave trade. It is quite another to expect the whole country to pay them, people whose ancestors would largely have had no connection with the slave trade and who in many cases are descended from people themselves exploited during the Industrial Revolution, driven from the countryside and being obliged to take jobs involving very long hours in mining, in factories or in a mill.

Charles should either put his own money and very considerable wealth, and that of his family, where his mouth is or finally learn to keep quiet. As others have rightly said, reparations are a wheeze to take money from poor people in rich countries and give it to rich people in poor countries. Intriguingly, we never hear anything about other countries which were involved with slavery being asked to pay their share of reparations. I wonder why? In an era where public services and infrastructure are crumbling before our very eyes, despite taxes being higher than for decades, it is completely unacceptable.

Somebody needs to urgently rein in Charles to save him from himself. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before his position becomes untenable. How much longer can we afford a monarch actively engaged in calling for measures that can only make our own country and each one of us poorer? If this tendency on his part continues, I see it becoming less and less unthinkable to call for him to step aside in favour of somebody more suitable, preferably by the next in line to the throne, provided he undertakes to return the monarchy to the path it was following under Elizabeth II.

An abdication crisis some 90 years after the last one? Don’t bet against it.

This article appeared in Patrick Clarke’s Column on December 8, 2023, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Patrick Clarke
Patrick Clarke
Patrick Clarke was briefly active in politics during the 1970's before leaving to 'get a life'. You can read more articles from Patrick Clarke in his Substack column.

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