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King Charles III, the Green Monarch

During the recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the European correspondent of age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Bevan Shields saw US Secretary of State John Kerry answer a cell phone as he entered his hotel. “Hello Your Royal Highness, how are you?” he said warmly. The future king was clearly making sure his voice was heard by the most powerful climate decision makers.

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Charles himself uses electric vehicles on his properties, has placed solar panels on his residences, heats one of his houses with biomass from fallen wood, has installed heat pumps in others and has installed a hydroelectric turbine in the river that runs alongside Birkhall, his home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

His favorite vehicle, an old Aston Martin, has been modified to run on 85% bioethanol derived from “surplus English white wine and [fermented] whey from cheese making”.

Modernist architects will be less enthusiastic about King Charles.

Charles has for decades made known his disdain for much of contemporary architecture. In 1985 he killed off an extension project for the National Gallery in London, describing it as “monstrous anthrax on the face of a much-loved and stylish friend”.

He later rejected a plan to redevelop a square next to St Paul’s Cathedral saying “you have to give so much to the Luftwaffe, when they knocked down our buildings they didn’t replace them with something more offensive than rubble”.

In return, some modernist architects despised Charles’ own housing estate: a village called Poundbury in Dorset, which design critic Stephen Bayley once compared to the furniture floor of a provincial department store.

Charles, however, seems immune to derision about his ideas for sustainable housing.

He is also believed to have planned what could be called a sustainable monarchy: a lean monarchy during a time when many Britons are facing a period of austerity.

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Filling a new company of working royals, beyond King Charles III and his Queen, his heir and his wife, would be Charles Edward’s brother and his wife Sophie (the Duchess of Wessex) and King Anne’s sister, the Princess Royal.

Absentees would include Charles’ second son Harry and his wife Meghan, who have essentially quit their royal duties and moved to the US, and the king’s other brother, Andrew, who is in disgrace after allegations that which he would have benefited from the sex trafficking of Jeffrey Epstein. of underage girls.

Underage royals – the so-called ‘junkies’ – could find themselves seeking new careers and homes as Charles seeks to reduce the financial appeal on the royal estate.

Charles is far from harsh, of course. He was independently wealthy, drawing as Duke of Cornwall several million pounds each year for his family and projects from the sprawling Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate established by Edward III in 1337. Now that Charles is king, the prince William becomes Duke of Cornwall.

The duchy spans 52,789 hectares in 21 counties and includes farms, residential and commercial properties, forests, rivers, quarries and a coastline.

No wonder that in the 1970s Charles was regularly described as “the most eligible bachelor in the world”.

And yet, despite being “heir apparent” since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the throne in 1952, Charles’ life and achievements to date have been overshadowed by his extremely long reign. popular.

His efforts to forge independence got off to a bad start when, aged 14 on a school excursion to the Scottish Isle of Lewis, he ordered a cherry brandy in a pub, observed by a journalist. The moment became a worldwide sensation.

His monumental effort to please the royal family by marrying, at age 32, a beautiful young woman named Diana, 13 years his junior, ended in worse disaster.

Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William in Alice Springs in March 1983. Credit:Gerrit Fokkema

Charles, Diana has publicly revealed, had been having an affair with a married woman, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Divorce followed and Diana, forever the public’s darling, was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997.

Charles and Camilla have been married since April 2005.

Over the long years of their post-Diana relationship, the reputations of the two have undergone a significant makeover.

Indeed, in the years following Diana’s death, Charles employed public relations expert Mark Bolland as assistant private secretary to help rehabilitate his public image.

Subsequently, Bolland has been credited with improving public acceptance of Charles and Camilla’s relationship.

King Charles – formerly known as the Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh since the April 2021 death of his father Prince Philip – and Queen Consort Camilla, who was previously given the title Duchess of Cornwall to avoid any unfortunate overlap with Diana, Princess of Wales – now enjoys a form of wide approval in Britain that once seemed impossible.

Even Aussies seemed to thaw when Camilla made her first visit with Charles in 2012.

This was a milestone, as Diana had established enormous and lasting popularity when in 1983, accompanied by Charles and their baby William, she made her first official visit to Australia.

Two decades later, Camilla’s quick wit and laid-back nature earned her surprised applause everywhere she went in Australia, and the palace reportedly breathed sighs of relief.

The fact that she succeeded in gathering in Australia was significant because Charles, as king, succeeds his mother as head of the Commonwealth, an association of 56 nations, almost all of which are former territories or colonies of the British Empire.

Australia, among the most developed of these nations, has an influential voice in the sometimes turbulent affairs of the Commonwealth. The new king and his wife will look to Australia as a reliable pillar when the going gets tough.

It was thought until recently that Camilla would be unlikely to receive the title of queen.

Instead, under an agreement reached at the time of Charles and Camilla’s somewhat controversial marriage, Camilla was to be known as the Princess Consort.

However, Queen Elizabeth II’s intervention on the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne changed all that.

In her official message on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee on February 6, 2022, the Queen said: “When, in due time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will bring him and his wife Camilla , the same support you have given me. And I sincerely hope that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her loyal service.

Since Her Majesty was the only person who could define such royal titles, that settled the question: Camilla would be queen.

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The post appeared to change public opinion in Britain, where support for Camilla as Queen had been lukewarm since her marriage to Charles in 2005. A survey of 1,054 adults by JL Partners for The daily mail on February 8, 55% of people wanted Camilla to be known as a queen consort, compared to 28% who said she shouldn’t and 17% who didn’t know.

Meanwhile, Charles, having chosen to be known as King Charles III, will rise above any association with the previous two kings of that name.

Charles I, who believed in the divine right of kings, was executed by beheading in 1649, after being found guilty of treason.

His son, Charles II, who ascended the throne in 1660, was nicknamed “the merry monarch” for the abandoned behavior of his court. He is believed to have fathered 11 illegitimate children, although he left no legitimate heirs to the throne.

For King Charles III, who has spent his life preparing for his role, he will no doubt lean on Camilla to raise him.

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