A year after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarchy remains widely supported.
However, controversies surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex along with growing republican voices pose challenges for the reign of King Charles III.
The challenges of the reign of Charles III
When Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, the United Kingdom bid farewell to an era defined by the Queen’s stoic and apolitical nature.
Despite scandals among royal family members, Elizabeth II expertly navigated decades of controversy.
Upon assuming the throne, King Charles III quickly established his own approach, warmly engaging with crowds during the national mourning period.
Like his mother, the new monarch must deal with family issues, specifically the ongoing criticism from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their step back as sitting royals.
For constitutional expert Robert Hazell, Charles III’s reign represents a stable and continuous monarchy.
Recent polls affirm the British public’s support. An August YouGov poll found that 61% favor maintaining the monarchy compared to 24% preferring an elected head of state. 59% expressed satisfaction with Charles’ performance as king.
Though Prince Harry remains estranged from his father and brother William over his wife Meghan’s treatment, Hazell believes the damage will be limited.
“The Duke of Sussex has little U.K. support,” he said.
Republican voices grew louder during Charles’ coronation, with protesters rejecting the monarchy along the procession route.
The demonstration resulted in the arrest of Republic leader Graham Smith and other members of the group, despite the fact that it was a peaceful gathering of this growing movement.
To adapt the monarchy to austere times, Charles follows his mother’s lead in reducing working royals.
“Charles always wanted a smaller royal family,” noted Hazell.
While controversies persist, the continuity and stability of Charles’ early reign reflect public approval.
As in his mother’s time, family problems are inevitable, but the Crown endures, for now, as the bedrock of British tradition.