King Charles: 4 big problems facing the monarch ahead of his coronation

King Charles and Camilla during a visit to Bolton, as they try to get back to business as usual after Harry's memoir release. (Getty Images)
King Charles and Camilla during a visit to Bolton, as they try to get back to business as usual after the release of Harry's controversial memoir. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

It's just under three months until King Charles's coronation and – following weeks of rancour and negative headlines – the monarchy seems to have settled back into its normal routine.

The past two months have been dominated by Prince Harry and Meghan's Netflix documentary series and his follow-up memoir Spare, both of which were filled with explosive allegations about the Royal Family. There was also the fallout from the Lady Susan Hussey racism scandal.

But the long-established rhythm of regular royal engagements has started up again: Kate has refocused on her "life's work" of early years development and William has met with last year's Earthshot prize winners, as well as the usual charitable engagements.

Charles has undertaken multiple engagements, both with Camilla and by himself, covering everything from supporting those affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria to visiting community sheds, as he looks to cement his place as monarch and national figurehead ahead of his coronation on 6 May.

Doing so will not be as easy as it was for his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, who took the throne at a time when the Royal Family could assume more deference than they can today.

(Original Caption) 11/5/1952-London, England: Queen Elizabeth II, 26 years young, is radiantly happy here as she waves and smiles in acknowledgement of the cheers of the crowd as she drove in the state coach to the House of Lords yesterday. History was made as the young queen appeared in the House of Lords to open the First Parliament of her reign. Her address, prepared by the government, indicated that Britain will swing back to Capitalism in 1953 by denationalizing the steel and trucking industries.
Queen Elizabeth in the state coach on her way to open Parliament for the first time in 1953. (Getty Images) (Bettmann via Getty Images)

Attitudes towards the monarchy have shifted in recent decades. The late Queen enjoyed favourability ratings that would be the envy of politicians worldwide, and the Windsors need both relevancy and popularity to ensure that the monarchy as an institution survives.

Public perception of the royals will inevitably fluctuate, as it has over the months since the Queen's death last September.

Yahoo UK looks at four key questions that Charles will have to address as he looks to stabilise the Royal Family after his coronation.

Can Charles improve the royals' popularity in the UK?

Today, favourability is a mixed bag for the House of Windsor, with younger generations showing less and less interest in monarchy as an institution.

A recent YouGov poll found that only 4% of those aged 18-24 had a "very positive" opinion of Camilla, the Queen Consort, and only 8% had one of King Charles.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort meet members of the public during a visit to the Bangladeshi community of Brick Lane on February 8, 2023 in London, England. The King and Queen Consort meet local charities and businesses as well as members who were actively involved in the anti-racism movement of the 1960's and 1970's. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla meet members of London's Bangladeshi community in Brick Lane. (Getty Images) (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

This compared to 40% of those aged 65 and over who felt very positively about the new King, and 24% who were as favourable to his wife.

Equally, this generation gap is clear when those polled were asked how they felt about monarchy as an institution: only 29% of 18-24 year olds viewed it favourably, compared to 76% in those aged over 65.

While Charles has not always boasted the same favourability ratings as his late mother, becoming King has seen his popularity uptick – despite having experienced two attempted eggings.

However, across the generations, the British public are not entirely optimistic about the future of the monarchy, with only 52% of all age groups believing the UK will still be a constitutional monarchy in 100 years.

Can they remain relevant in modern Britain?

The monarch may play a primarily symbolic role in the UK, but that doesn't necessarily mean its influence is limited.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: King Charles III visits The Africa Centre on January 26, 2023 in London, England. The King is visiting the centre to learn about its role in connecting Africans with the UK and to visit its exhibition illustrating the effects of climate change. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charles visits The Africa Centre to learn about its role in connecting Africans with the UK and to visit its exhibition illustrating the effects of climate change. (Getty Images) (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

From being head of the armed forces and supreme governor of the Church of England, to the fact the government bears the monarch's name, our stamps and money their likeness, the existence of the Royal Family is still relatively entrenched in British life – at least on a superficial basis.

The iconography of the monarchy can also still claim to be synonymous with a sense of Britishness internationally, but beyond that imagery, the traditional power of the royals has slowly been curtailed.

As supreme governor of the Church of England, the monarch could once rely on the religious nature of British society to sure up their authority.

However, census data has shown for the first time that about one-third of the English and Welsh populations identify themselves as having no religion, and those identifying as Christian fell below half for the first time.


Previously unissued photo dated 13/12/22 of King Charles III during the recording of his first Christmas broadcast in the Quire of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Issue date: Friday December 23, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL King. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
In his first Christmas address, Charles paid tribute to multi-faith groups not just the Church of England. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

This raised questions about the longevity of Charles's role as head of the Anglican church – as a national symbol he must endeavour to represent the entire country, not just a fraction of it – but it also means that the influence of the monarchy has become limited, as the authority of the church and Christian orthodoxy itself has diminished in people's lives.

The Church of England is also in a time of crisis as its teaching comes into conflict with modern values over same-sex marriages – something that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been reported as saying he "would rather see the church disestablished than risk losing conservative groups within the global Anglican church", according to The Guardian.

While our bank notes and coins will still feature the King, in Australia it has been announced that going forward the country's $5 note will instead honour its indigenous communities. Charles's mother had been featured on the note since 1992.

Vicki Treadall, the British high commissioner to Australia, has said of the decision: "It is for Australia to decide what it wants on its coins, and on its notes."

Can the royals remain relevant throughout the Commonwealth?

The British monarchy has a diminishing influence across the Commonwealth, particularly in Caribbean countries where there is a trend towards republicanism and some countries like Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have already removed the British monarch as head of state.

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 30:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks as President of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason looks on during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Prince of Wales arrived in the country ahead of its transition to a republic within the Commonwealth. This week, it formally removes Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and the current governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, will be sworn in as president. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images)
Charles – then Prince of Wales – represented the crown at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony when Barbados became a republic in 2021. (Getty Images) (Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images)

Equally, the Telegraph reported that over half of Canadians would prefer to become a republic and just under 40% of Australians feel the same way.

The Windsors have shown that they are aware of that their family's future across the Commonwealth is an uncertain one.

Last year, Prince William undertook a tour of the Caribbean to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, but it ended as a PR disaster. He then released an almost unprecedented personal statement during which he recognised it may not be appropriate for him to act as head of the Commonwealth as his grandmother and father have done.

"Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn't what is on my mind", he said, while reiterating his commitment "to service".

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – MARCH 22: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shakes hands with children during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
Kate shaking hands with children through a metal fence was the lasting image of her and William's last visit to Jamaica, which was widely seen as a PR disaster. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that's not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have", he wrote.

In 2018, Queen Elizabeth spoke to directly to Commonwealth leaders to express her "sincere wish" that Charles would succeed her as head of the voluntary association of countries, and they agreed.

William's acceptance that it may well never be his turn to lead the 54 countries as head of the Commonwealth shows that the monarchy are looking to the future, and understand one of the only weapons in the monarchy's arsenal to maintain any influence will be to show more flexibility.

Can Charles make peace with Harry and Meghan?

The Royal Family has not escaped the backlash from Harry's memoir entirely unscathed, with allegations made by the Duke of Sussex about his stepmother Camilla still hanging in the air.

Harry claimed that Camilla leaked stories about him and his brother William in an attempt to rehabilitate her own public image, which was damaged by her position as "the other woman" in Charles's first marriage to Diana.

Britain's King Charles III (L), Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex look at members of the Bearer Party transferring the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard, form the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy into the State Hearse at Wellington Arch in London on September 19, 2022, after the State Funeral Service of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The last time Harry was with Charles and Camilla before making his explosive allegations was at Queen Elizabeth's state funeral in September. (Getty Images) (ISABEL INFANTES via Getty Images)

"Shortly after our private summits with her", Harry wrote that Camilla "began to play the long game, a campaign aimed at marriage and eventually the Crown. (With Pa’s blessing, we presumed.) Stories began to appear everywhere, in all the papers".

Since the release of Spare, according to an Ipsos poll, those viewing the new Queen Consort unfavourably has increased from 25% to 30%.

The palace has rigidly conformed to the Royal Family's mantra of "never complain, never explain" when it comes to Harry's recent claims, and perhaps refusing to enter the fray is the only way it can assure the controversial allegations don't continue to make headlines.

However, another reason the royals may have escaped the full impact of these controversial allegations is that Harry himself admitted during an interview with The Telegraph that he held back so there was still the possibility of reconciliation with his family in the future.

"But there are some things that have happened," Harry said. "Especially between me and my brother, and to some extent between me and my father, that I just don't want the world to know. Because I don't think they would ever forgive me."

Harry's position shows that, at least from his side of things, there is a chance for reconciliation, if he gets he accountability and apology he needs from his family.

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