Could, Would, Should Prince Charles Let Will and Kate Take the British Throne?
Early on Thursday, the internet was in a tizzy, thanks to a post on Yahoo com that said Prince Charles was letting his son, Prince William, take over the British Throne from Queen Elizabeth. It was dubious at best—Yahoo.com picked it up from Closer Weekly, who got it from Life & Style, who either deleted the post or never posted anything at all (their website shows no articles about Prince Charles from the last three days).
But this claim wasn’t a one-off. Rumors have run rampant for years about whether or not Prince Charles will be King. It was even the basis for the West End play turned made-for-BBC-movie, King Charles III.
Which begs the question: What exactly will happen to Charles—the longest serving heir apparent in British history—when the throne is finally his to take? Could he pass it on? Should he pass it on? Would he pass it on?
Let’s start with could. The Settlement Act of 1701 states that the British monarch must be the direct Protestant descendent of the current ruling descendant of Sophia of Hanover. (Quick side note on the religious stuff: it’s because the monarch is also is the head of the Church of England. Also, if you are wondering who in God’s name Sophia is, here’s a brief explainer.) As Prince William is Prince Charles’s son and therefore the next direct Protestant descendent, there’s no real legal standing forbidding him for taking over, if he father wants to step aside. And, after Prince Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, there is a precedent for an heir to refuse the throne. So yes, it is possible.
Now, would. This, too, ties back to abdication. It’s said that Queen Elizabeth refuses to step down, despite her advanced age, because of dark memories it evokes: “It affected her deeply and she is well aware how much damage an abdication can cause to the brand of the royal family,” Gordon Rayner, former royal correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, told NBC. “The queen made a promise to the people of the Commonwealth before she even became queen that she would devote her whole life, whether it be long or short to the duty that she would be taking on. For her it is a duty you carry for your whole life and to her that means literally,” he said.
With the Queen firmly against succession drama, it seems likely that she views Charles as her rightful heir, not William. It sounds like Charles does too—tabloids report he’s ramped up his royal responsibilities over the last few years. Just a few weeks ago, Buckingham Palace announced he will represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Games.
The other reason he might give the throne to her son, according to Ephraim Hardcastle, resident pundit for the Daily Mail is “as a means of expressing regret that he had to wait so long”.
But should he? That’s a whole other thing entirety. His popularity never quite recovered after Princess Diana—in 1988, a year after her death, his approval rating was an abysmal 39 percent. He rebounded to 60 percent by 2016, but that’s significantly lower than Prince William (79 percent) and the Queen (81 percent). The liberal press routinely calls him a “prat” and a ”twit”, and, thanks to a slew of Diana documentaries rehashing his divorce and affair with Camilla, even more negative press is being mucked around in 2017. Another nail in the coffin: a second poll said 54 percent of people want William to take over for the Queen. TL; DR: People just don’t like him that much.
Plus, at age 68, Charles will be the oldest King ever to take the throne. With the monarchy routinely facing claims that it shouldn’t even exist, some think modern, well-liked monarch is a better choice (and others think it will die out with Queen Elizabeth: “I think, no one is saying whilst the Queen is alive the monarchy should be abolished… everybody, given her constancy and given her selflessness, thinks she’s a pretty amazing woman” historian Dr. Anna Whitelock said. But, after her death, “the monarchy would be potentially be on its last legs.”
Yet if Charles has one thing going for him, it’s the wonder of tradition—the very reason Brits tolerate paying taxes for such posh institution. And if going by tradition, he is next in line and next in throne.
Source: vogue com
Tags: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Charles and Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen, Elizabeth II, Throne, Monarch, Death, Tradition, Monarchy, Historian, Dr. Anna Whitelock