This is solely an info post…I do not expect many people to care (but I have been mistaken before)
The Queen is dead….Long live King Charles III…..
In Britain, the second Elizabethan age ended Thursday, and the era of King Charles III began—a huge change for a country and Commonwealth where most people weren’t alive in 1952, the last time there was a change of monarch. At 73, Charles is the oldest person ever to accede to the British throne, and it will be up to him to ensure the institution has a future in changing times. More:
- His first day. Charles, who automatically became king upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, will travel to London Friday for a busy first full day as king, the Guardian reports. Charles is expected to meet Prime Minister Liz Truss, record an address to the nation to be broadcast Friday evening, and approve plans for a period of national mourning. He will be traveling from Scotland with his wife Camilla, who now has the title Queen Consort.
- A lifetime in preparation. NBC looks at the life of Charles, who became the heir apparent at age 3 when his mother became queen. When he was 21, he told the BBC that he had dreamed of becoming a train driver, a soldier, or even a big-game hunter, “until I realized I was rather stuck.” His popularity with the British public dropped after the end of his troubled marriage to Diana and her death in a 1997 car crash, though it steadily recovered in the following decades as he took on a growing share of royal duties.
- The “climate king.” While the British monarchy is powerful on paper—Charles is now the head of state of the UK, Canada, Australia, and 12 other countries—in reality the monarch only has “soft power,” and some analysts expect him to use it to advocate for environmental causes, Vox reports. He has long embraced such causes and has been warning about climate change since the 1990s.
- Staying out of politics? But while Charles has long been outspoken on on climate change, including architecture and genetically modified crops, Max Foster at CNN says his approach will change now that he is king. “Elizabeth’s legendary ability not to offend and alienate was more strategic than many realize, but Charles has always insisted he intends to follow her lead and stop meddling when he takes the throne,” Foster writes. He notes that when the BBC asked him in 2018 if the campaigning would continue when he becomes king, Charles said: “I’m not that stupid.”
- A “different style.” Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London, says Charles will have a different style than his mother, but not to an extent that could cause a constitutional crisis, the New York Times reports. “He will be an active king and he will probably push his prerogatives to the limits, but he won’t go beyond them.” The Times notes that some of the biggest challenges Charles will face as king include healing the rift with his son Prince Harry—and dealing with the fallout from his brother Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
And now the King’s Queen Consort….what the Hell? What about the rest of the royals?
If you think you’re going to have a hard time remembering to call Charles “king” instead of “prince” from here on out (don’t forget the “III”!), try to master that soon, because a number of other royal titles are about to undergo a shift. Here’s how the name game is set to play out for the other royals in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death:
- Camilla: Charles’ wife will now be known as Queen Consort, which, per USA Today, is simply a “fancy name for the wife of a reigning king.” Fox News notes that when Camilla married Charles in 2005, it was announced she’d one day be called Princess Consort if Charles ever became king, out of respect to his deceased ex-wife, Princess Diana. Queen Elizabeth changed her mind on that earlier this year, noting she wanted Camilla to have the Queen Consort title. If you want to call her Queen Camilla, though, that’s said to be acceptable, too. (Read much more on the Queen Consort’s role here.)
- illiam and Kate: The man who’s now next in line to the throne and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, were known until Thursday as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their new main title: the Prince and Princess of Wales, a label previously held by Charles and Diana, per Today. Charles announced the update on Friday, and their social media has already been modified to reflect this change.The pair will also retain a secondary title, Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, per the Independent. The Cornwall title, which is typically held by the eldest son of the reigning monarch, was also handed down to William from Charles, per People.
- Harry and Meghan: Nothing changes for them personally, but their kids, Archie and Lilibet, are now in the running to become prince and princess, respectively. That’s per a century-old decree handed down by King George V granting those titles to the children and grandchildren of a reigning sovereign. Charles has the right to amend that decree, however, which Fox notes “he may do in order to fulfill his reported stated objective of slimming down the royal family.”
- Something for Edward? Charles inherited the Duke of Edinburgh title from his father, Prince Philip, when Philip died last year. But because that title has now “merged back into the Crown” with Charles’ ascension to king, Charles could opt to hand it down to Prince Edward, the youngest of Charles’ siblings, who currently goes by the Earl of Wessex.
Finally there is this diamond held in the Tower of London that India is pissed about…..
In the Tower of London, housed with other crown jewels of England, lies a platinum crown created for the late Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, so she’d have something to wear for her husband King George VI’s coronation in 1937. Earlier this year, the queen announced that headpiece would transfer to Camilla, wife of then-Prince Charles, when he one day ascended to the throne and earned Camilla the title of Queen Consort, reports NDTV. That day has come, after the death of the queen on Thursday, but now there’s controversy over what happens next to the crown—not because of an issue with Camilla, per se, but because of the giant gemstone that’s set into the head-topper. The problem with the 105.6-carat Kohinoor (or Koh-i-Noor) diamond? The people of India, where it was originally found, want it back, reports Time.
The magazine notes the gem was mined sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries, in what’s now the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. The Kohinoor changed hands multiple times after its discovery, first ending up with the Moguls, then the Persians, and then the Afghans. It made its way back to India at one point, but then was “acquired” by the British during Punjab’s annexation in 1849 and eventually presented to Queen Victoria, per Time. The diamond was originally nearly 800 carats uncut, but it was said to have been trimmed down in 1852 at the request of Prince Albert. The UK’s Historic Royal Palaces website notes that was done “to improve its brilliance and conform to contemporary European tastes.”
India has asked for the diamond back in the past, to no avail, but now that the queen has died, the request is springing up anew on social media. “If the King is not going to wear Kohinoor, give it back,” one commenter wrote, per Time. Another claimed the diamond was “stolen” by the Brits, who “created wealth” via “death,” “famine,” and “looting.” Indian citizens aren’t the only ones clamoring for the gem: The governments in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan have also staked claims to it. More on the diamond’s centuries-long journey at India’s ThePrint.
Now don’t you feel better that you have all that information?
(Where is Pete when we need him?)
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”