The proclamation of Crown Prince Charles as the new King of Great Britain is clouded for Charles III not only by the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, but also by a whole range of upcoming challenges that he will have to deal with during his reign. This is the announced release of the scandalous memoirs of his son Prince Harry, and the low rating among the British, and the threat of the collapse of the United Kingdom. But not only – there are problems relating directly to the monarch himself.
According to The Guardian, King Charles III faces many challenges as he ascends the throne. Here are a few key questions that should seriously worry the new monarch.
1. At the end of 2022, Prince Harry is expected to publish a memoir that his publishers presented as a comprehensive account of his “experiences, adventures, losses and life lessons.” Penguin Random House, which is believed to have paid $20 million for the Duke of Sussex’s memoirs, called the future bestseller an “intimate and sincere” book.
It will span Harry’s life to the present day, raising the possibility of further revelations about the palace’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex, which led to the couple’s abrupt departure to America, and how the royal family reacted to the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when Harry was 12. years, as well as the relationship between his father and Camilla.
The King may have to decide whether to require evidence prior to publication, or to use lawyers to keep confidential family secrets or keep contested claims out of print.
2. The royal son Prince Harry has also had a dispute with the Home Office over his safety while in the UK. The prince is filing a lawsuit in the high court, alleging that the change in the level of protection he received made him feel unsafe, even though he himself offered to pay for the staff.
3. Police are investigating the Prince Charles Foundation, one of the current monarch’s three major charitable foundations, over allegations that he solicited donations in exchange for honors.
The king denied knowledge of the arrangement, but the fund’s chief executive, longtime aide Michael Fawcett, has already resigned. The Mail on Sunday reported that Fawcett offered to help the Saudi billionaire obtain a knighthood and British citizenship in exchange for generous donations.
In addition to discussing the implications of the case, the story highlights a broader issue for the new king – what should Charles III do with his network of charities that focus on his various interests, from architecture and planning to the environment. One suggestion is that the Princes Trust, a youth charity he founded in 1976 and of which he is still president, could become fully independent as Charles focuses more and more on his job as head of state.
4. After Prince Andrew negotiated a more than £10 million settlement with American Virginia Giuffre over her sexual harassment lawsuit in US civil courts, the new king could face constant scrutiny over how the royal family helped his younger brother to find money.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment earlier on reports that Queen Elizabeth II would be contributing to the settlement with her personal income from the estate of the Duchy of Lancaster. Other questions may be whether the King wants Andrew to continue to live in the Royal Lodge he rents from the Crown Estate and whether he should continue to be called the Duke of York.
5. The king has work to do to gain his public popularity. He is only the seventh most popular member of the royal family, according to a late 2021 YouGov poll. At the top of the ranking were Elizabeth II, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Charles lost in popularity even to his niece Zara Philips and his younger sister Princess Anne. Among millennials, he fared even worse, dropping to 11th. Loyalty to the monarch – given that the level of trust in the monarchy has remained above 60% over the past three years – will likely boost his rating.
6. Last but not least, the king is likely to face three constitutional battles. The first will be carried out in the form of campaigns in a number of states, the head of which is the British monarch. After the death of Elizabeth II, it is possible that some of these 14 countries will want to follow the recent example of Barbados and become a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy. Republicans in Australia are likely to cheer up, and in some Commonwealth countries such as Jamaica and Belize, succession will require a referendum to elect King Charles III as head of state.
The new sovereign may also face calls in the UK for reform of the monarchy, and from a minority – at least for the moment – for its abolition. With continued pressure from supporters of Scottish independence and tensions over the governance of Northern Ireland, he may also face threats to the unity of the state.