by Will Lloyd
Friday, 9
September 2022
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19:14

King Charles is no longer Hamlet

The royal could finally say goodbye to his prince's title
by Will Lloyd
King Charles III

In his address to the nation this evening King Charles III said goodbye to two people. The first was his mother. The second was the Prince of Wales. 

This was literally the speech of a lifetime. Charles became the Prince of Wales in 1969. His reputation has scratched wildly up and down ever since like a seismometer needle. It is hard to think of anybody else in public life who was dragged through the mud quite as many times as him. “Nobody knows,” he once said, “what utter hell it is to be the Prince of Wales.”

Long before today, when crowds greeted their new King with acclaim, kisses and flowers, Charles had begun to rebuild his reputation. Not as an elder statesman or a dynamic paterfamilias, but as a man who was right — right about climate change, right about the bees, right about dry stone walls. Scorn had changed, slowly, into affection. 

Monarchy survives on such feelings. Who could watch Charles talk of grief and gratitude this evening and not feel something? Or when he walked — staggered almost — through the gates of Buckingham Palace with Camilla earlier in the day. Two tiny, aged figures heading towards the flat blank face of the palace, resembling nothing less than a sacrifice, as crowds swarmed behind them. Here was monarchy in a snapshot: the burdens, the loneliness, the inhuman scale. 

Charles’ speech acknowledged all of this, though he called it “the promise of lifelong service”. A promise kept by his mother, and a promise he pledged to renew again. “I too now solemnly pledge myself throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”

To do that, Charles noted that he would have to step back from his charities and the issues he cares so deeply about. For any monarchist, this should be met with relief. Charles is a blatantly decent man with a loose judgement for pet projects and friends. If gaining a crown means losing them, it can only be for the good. 

There was nothing left to say but thank you and goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II. Charles chose a line from Hamlet — and hadn’t he always rather resembled Hamlet? May “flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest”, he said to his mother. The line before that is “Good night, sweet Prince.” There was the second goodbye, to himself, and the old days of waiting.

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michael harris
michael harris
26 days ago

As he got down from the plane at Northolt I thought he looked different in some way.
And when he walked the line of the crowds outside te Palace, shaking hands, touching, offering and receiving comfort… yes he was changed.
You could summon up psychology or another social ‘discipline’ to explain this development in him.
I would rather say this. Sometime in the last hours, without warning and bare of ceremony he has been granted the Mandate of Heaven.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
26 days ago

Right about architecture too, but some can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
26 days ago

King Charles will be a fine king. How could he not be, with his mother’s example? We have been blessed to live in the 2nd Elizabethan age and he has been fortunate that she lived long enough to allow him to grow older and wiser in her shadow. If she could endure for 70 years, he can surely honour her memory for 20.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
26 days ago

Well written by Will, and quite apt. Shakespeare sought to free himself from the shackles of the first Elizabethan age and with the passing of the second, it seems the modern-day Hamlet is suddenly able to bound free to fulfil his own destiny.

That Charles as king seems to have made an unexpectedly sure-footed start is very encouraging for us all. He is now both more free and more obliged to reign… sorry, rein himself in on behalf of a greater cause.

David McKee
David McKee
26 days ago

This is an excellent piece – fair, balanced and to the point. And it makes a very good point. After half a century as Prince of Wales, the record is mixed: Prince’s Trust – excellent, the ‘spider letters’ – not so excellent.
I note the ‘if’ towards the end of the piece. Exactly. If…

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
26 days ago

He came across as very dignified in his address. His Coronation Oath will be fascinating. It is unthinkable that it will be the same as the one sworn by Elizabeth II. The big question is, how much primacy will be accorded to the Church of England as opposed to other faiths? I predict a paen to the multicultural age.

https://theheritagesite.substack.com/

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
26 days ago

Ah, that’s where the quote was from. I though it was from a hymn. Thanks for clarifying.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
26 days ago

To be or not to be. . . has been the question for a very long time. Now the question is resolved. He is . . . will be, King. May God save Charles III in this role, for which he has waited for so long.
We are expecting some meaningful emphases–far beyond ceremonial– to be brought forth under his royal hand . . . sustainability, appropriate technology, planetary citizenship paired with classic architecture, and an emphasis on township and community.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago

Packing him off to the semi Waffen SS environment of Gordonstoun was a major blunder. Eton would have been a far better choice, but sadly his (German) father thought differently.

Last edited 26 days ago by stanhopecharles344
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
26 days ago

Danish/Greek father, if you please!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I disagree, he was a scion of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a collateral branch of the German House of Oldenburg, and his mother from the equally German Battenberg House (of eponymous Cake fame).
There was nothing remotely Greek about him. (Greece had been ruled by “rent a Krauts” since its independence from the Ottoman Turks in the 19th century.)
Apparently, in the early days, the Royal Household used to refer to Philip in a jocular fashion as , “The Hun”.
But surely you know all this?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
25 days ago

Prince Philip is about as German as all the English kings of the last 350 years, who descend from either Prince Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover (the Hanoveranians), of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (the Windsors). Not to mention that according to paleontology we are all Africans.

He is also about as German as Queen Margaret of Denmark (house of Glücksborg, or Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) – which is Danish enough for me. I rather take objection to the suggestion that Denmark is currently under German rule.

Last edited 25 days ago by Rasmus Fogh
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
25 days ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Well at least we can agree he wasn’t a Greek.
Perhaps we should call him a Schleswig-Holsteiner as a compromise?
His four sisters off course could hardly be described as anything other than German.
As for African Apes too right!
I’ve often wondered, as no doubt you have, why God gave up on Dinosaurs and opted for Apes instead.

Trevor Q
Trevor Q
26 days ago

Kurt Hahn who founded Gordonstoun was originally Jewish and a refugee from nazi Germany. He spoke out against Hitler publicly to the pupils of his school there and was imprisoned. He was released after the intervention of Ramsay MacDonald and came to England.

Last edited 26 days ago by Trevor Q
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago
Reply to  Trevor Q

Correct, but besides being Jewish he was also German was he not?
Gordonstoun was not dissimilar to many Hitler Youth facilities, which is hardly surprising is it?
Even today I gather it is fairly ‘robust’, let us say.

Trevor Q
Trevor Q
26 days ago

I have no direct experience of Gordonstoun. I agree it has a reputation for austerity but suspect it was not unique in that among public schools of the time. I was simply pointing out that it is an unhappy analogy to attribute the attitudes of the Waffen SS to a school founded by a critic of the Nazis who had been persecuted by them for openly opposing their beliefs.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
26 days ago
Reply to  Trevor Q

I agree, perhaps Prussian would have been a better choice of words.

Last edited 26 days ago by stanhopecharles344
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
24 days ago

Never a truer word spaketh… and his brothers too!!!

Ivanna Zelda
Ivanna Zelda
23 days ago

good

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
22 days ago

Don’t you mean sisters! Three of whom married prominent N*zis! Much to chagrin of our own Royal Family it must be said.