King Charles III has succeeded Queen Elizabeth II on the throne following a lifetime of scrutiny as Britain’s longest serving heir-apparent.
Whereas the nationwide mourning interval for his mom and his coronation within the coming months will assist him to outline his picture as king, inspecting his a long time of controversy may provide some clues to how he would possibly behave as sovereign.
The revelations of infidelity in his marriage to Princess Diana left him, and now-Queen consort, deeply unpopular. Whereas he has managed to regain some constructive sentiment within the British public, he stays much less esteemed than many different members of the Royal household.
Certainly, one Ipsos ballot confirmed in April 2022 that almost half of Britons suppose Charles ought to let his son Prince William be the following king. And YouGov polling ranks him because the seventh hottest royal—behind his mom, daughter-in-law Kate, son William, father Prince Philip, sister Princess Anne, and niece Zara Tindall. Amongst Millennial-age Britons, he ranks twelfth.
Learn extra: Mourners pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Most just lately, he has been embroiled in controversy over donations to his charities. In July, the Sunday Occasions of London reported that the half brothers of September eleventh terrorist Osama bin Laden made a $1.2 million donation to the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund again in 2013. Charles’ official workplace Clarence Home mentioned the royal didn’t personally solicit the donation.
Nevertheless, the primary main brush with disapproving public opinion got here amid his marriage to Princess Diana—the twenty fifth anniversary of whose loss of life the world just lately marked. A brand new HBO documentary The Princess reveals archival footage of the duo touring Australia that implies he was jealous at how way more well-liked she was.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana attending a presidential banquet on the Blue Home on Nov. 3, 1992, in Seoul, South Korea, on their final official journey collectively.
Tim Graham Photograph Library—Getty Pictures
The dam broke when she known as him out for having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles’ now-wife whom he met within the early Seventies. “There have been three of us on this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana mentioned in her well-known 1995 BBC interview.
Even his well-known stewardship of charity causes has not gone un-criticized. Whereas he has been lauded for his efforts to guard the setting and converse out about local weather change, scientists have additionally raised considerations about different points Charles has championed. For instance, in 2019, after turning into a patron of a gaggle centered on homeopathic drugs, the Good Considering Society, which promotes evidence-based science, known as him “anti-science.”
Learn extra: Queen Elizabeth II’s Loss of life at Balmoral Has Main Implications for Scotland
However Robert Lacey, a biographer who was a historic guide to the Netflix present The Crown, argues that the royal was cautious concerning the causes he acquired concerned with, as he had the problem of ready within the wings for seven a long time and making a profession for himself within the meantime. Lacey, who spoke to TIME previous to Queen Elizabeth II’s loss of life, believes Charles steered away from “politically contentious areas” by concentrating on points that need to do with the countryside, ecology, and British heritage.
Maybe most related now that he’s king, Charles was additionally accused of making an attempt to affect the British authorities. In 2015, it was revealed that Charles acquired confidential papers on the internal workings of the British authorities that even elected ministers had not seen, prompting a senior Member of Parliament to name him Britain’s “finest knowledgeable lobbyist.” The Guardian acquired 27 memos—dubbed the ’black spider memos’ due to Charles’ scrawl—that confirmed the royal engaged in private lobbying efforts to senior politicians a couple of vary of points from orders of navy helicopters in the course of the Iraq Warfare to “unlawful fishing of the Patagonian toothfish.” On the time, Clarence Home mentioned it’s typical for heirs to the throne to be briefed on political matters, however critics argued that members of the royal household ought to keep out of politics.
Given his activism on political points, it stays to be seen whether or not King Charles III might be a politically outspoken monarch. As James Vaughn, an professional on British historical past on the College of Chicago, advised Politico, “The query mark can be: Would he attempt to use his function within the unwritten structure to have extra affect over insurance policies and considering of [the British government] than in all probability his mom was ever keen to attempt to do?”
Now as king, scrutiny of Charles will solely heighten. However a remark he made to TIME in a 2013 profile of the royal could possibly be directed towards anybody who questions whether or not he deserves his reign and is as much as the job: “When you chuck away too many issues,” he advised the journal, “you find yourself discovering there was worth in them.”
Extra Should-Learn Tales From TIME