Prince Charles Now King Of England

King Charles III becomes monarch after death of mother, Queen Elizabeth II2 min


Prince Charles was with the Queen at Balmoral facing the sad reality the death of his beloved mother would lead to the greatest transition of his life: from heir to king.

And then, on Thursday afternoon, it happened: Buckingham Palace announced she had passed away.

Charles, 73, now King Charles, has been next in line to the throne for seven decades – by a distance the longest wait in the history of the British monarchy. Neither he nor his courtiers have ever wished to speak publicly about the moment it is over. The prospect of the Queen’s death has always been considered a matter of great private sadness.

Prince Charles

“He never wanted to think about accession because it meant the death of his mother,” a former aide said on Thursday.

But with the Queen’s doctors voicing concern for her health and her other children and grandchildren scrambling to be with her, the role of heir that has defined Charles’s life since the age of three, when his mother acceded to the throne in 1952, appeared to be drawing nearer.

A new, inevitably shorter, chapter of Charles’s life will begin. Becoming monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms from Canada to Australia will allow him to answer a question that has followed him for decades: after a lifetime of outspoken interventions in public life, what kind of king will he be?

In the immediate days he faces the twin challenges of personal bereavement and leading the nation in mourning.

“He will be focused on the personal and the family, but for the palaces it will be a question of [choosing] the right things to say and do that lead the nation in mourning but also establish the first steps of the new reign,” said another former aide.

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Charles, they added, had a “deep emotional facility” with bereaved people, which they predicted would serve him and the country well in any period of mourning.

On Thursday, the focus of attention was squarely on the family as the Queen’s children and grandchildren gathered around the Queen. The Duke of Cambridge, who is in line to become the Prince of Wales and first in line to the throne, rushed from Berkshire to Balmoral, while Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, remained in Windsor to take care of their children, George, Charlotte and Louis, who had their first full day at their new school.

Charles will take over a role meant to represent stability in times of change, at a time of great political and social flux. But with decades of active duty as the Prince of Wales behind him he will hope to rise to that task. Not least, despite his age he will represent a different generation to the Queen, becoming the first British monarch to have gone to school.

Prince Charles

The new king has met scores of foreign leaders, interacted with numerous British governments and established a network of charities and causes that have plugged him into at least some of the concerns of ordinary British people and led him into conflict with others.

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