Monarchy in decline among young people, national unity threatened: Charles III's first challenges

The eldest son of Elizabeth II, the monarch who died this Thursday (8), is due to be proclaimed King Charles III on Saturday (10) and had two main challenges at the beginning of his reign: the decline of support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom among the young population and the maintenance of national unity.

Although the post of monarch in the country is practically ceremonial, economist Igor Macedo de Lucena, a doctoral candidate in international relations at the University of Lisbon and a member of Chatham House – The Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Portuguese Association of Political Science , recalls that Charles III’s mother knew how to work with the prime minister at the beginning of his reign, Winston Churchill, to unite the British people and overcome post-war adversities.

“ The United Kingdom is going through a period of strikes, of rising inflation, suffering the consequences of a war, which will require decisions to be taken by the new prime minister. wrath-minister and with King Charles III on the throne. The challenges that are posed today are as great as those that Elizabeth II faced”, highlights Lucena.

In addition to the economic problems, the United Kingdom faces the risk of a breakdown of national unity: the Scotland wants to hold another independence referendum in 2023, which, for Lucena, “could make room for a reunification of the Irelands”.

Wilson Maske, professor of history at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), believes that Charles III would remain English and Scottish monarchs even if the separation is approved.

“If Scotland becomes independent, it will return an earlier situation, from the reign of Charles I (1625-1649, tried, convicted and executed for treason), in which he was simultaneously king of Scotland and England”, he explains.

“I don’t know what arrangement would be given to this question, but the British are very skillful in resolving these matters on acceptable terms. , because due to the parlame system very solid ntarist, since the limited monarchy was established with Parliament, in 1688, England has not had more revolutions, and not because there are no social crisis situations that could lead to this, but because the parliamentary regime created situations that made reforms possible. The current problems do not threaten the United Kingdom and the monarchy, which have already faced more difficult times, such as the Second World War”, he argues.

Although resolving political and economic tribulations is not the monarch’s responsibility from the United Kingdom, Maske projects that Charles III’s eventual wear and tear on these issues “will depend on how he behaves on these issues”. “If he remains obedient to government decisions, as his mother did, they should not influence much”, he justifies.


Igor Macedo de Lucena believes that, like his mother, Charles III should not interfere in political decisions, despite his past of opinion on social and environmental issues. “He always had a very big political vision, but in recent times, he stopped giving an opinion because he knew he would soon become king”, he reports.

Elizabeth II was a popular figure, but lately nor was his charisma enough to reverse the erosion of the monarchy among young British people.

A survey by the YouGov institute last year showed that 41% of young people from to 24 ) years thought the country should have an elected head of state, while only 24% would like to see the monarchy continue. In 2019, 46% of the population in this age group was in favor of the monarchy and only 26% would prefer the UK to have an elected head of state.

Charles III will struggle to reverse this decline: a survey conducted in July 1649, after the birth of Prince George – then third in the line of succession – indicated that the most popular royals after Queen Elizabeth II were Prince William, his wife Kate. , and Prince Harry.

This Thursday, many people on social media (largely in a jocular tone, of course) were already “campaigning” for William to assume the throne in the father’s place. For Lucena, Charles III will not be helped by the fact that the queen consort will be Camilla Parker Bowles, with whom the then-prince had an affair when he was still married to Princess Diana and who later became his wife – British public opinion was on the sidelines. side of the “people’s princess” when her marriage to the heir to the throne ended.

“In a time of great future stress, Charles may even be forced to leave the scene and move to crown for the son. He is not a charismatic figure and does not represent a renewal of the crown, as William does”, argues the analyst.

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