King Charles’s ‘placeholder’ theory dismantled

King Charles' Christmas speech discussed by Russell Myers

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King Charles wants to “make his mark” as a sovereign after having prepared for the role for several decades, a royal biographer believes. Christopher Andersen, who penned the book The King: The Life of Charles III, dismissed speculation Charles will be just a transitional monarch as a “misconception”.

He told “One of the biggest misconceptions about Charles is [that he is] a placeholder king, that he intends to simply keep the throne warm for William.

“Charles has waited too long for this moment, however brief or long it may be, and intends to make his mark on history.

“He has long planned to streamline and modernise the monarchy, and he will do it sooner than people think.”

In recent years, prior to his accession to the throne, polls, experts and royal watchers argued whether Charles would step aside following the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and let Prince William be crowned King instead.

Similar reasonings were linked to William and his wife Kate’s greater popularity when compared to Charles and Camilla.

The day after the death of Elizabeth II, however, King Charles made it clear he will follow in his mother’s example as he pledged to serve the country and the Commonwealth for the rest of his life.

In his first national address as sovereign, Charles said: “Queen Elizabeth was a life well-lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”

Nevertheless, the fact that Charles became monarch aged 73 led many to believe he won’t make too many changes to the Firm but, rather, he will simply keep the ship steady ahead of the beginning of the reign of King William.

Marlene Koenig, a royal historian with a focus on British and European royalty, told Insider in September: “He knows that his time is shorter. But he’s gonna do the best that he can.

“He is and he knows he is a caretaker for the next generation.”

The long-rumoured plan attributed to Charles when he was the Prince of Wales to slash the number of working royals was dismissed in October by a source who told the Daily Express the King would retain all the working members the Firm currently counts.

However, the monarch has already moved to make other significant changes, including reducing the public role Prince Harry and Prince Andrew could still play for the monarchy.

Earlier this month, royal assent was granted to a bill that sped through the Houses of Parliament just weeks after the death of the Queen.

The Counsellors of State Bill changed who can act as stand-in for the sovereign on certain constitutional matter when abroad or ill and added Princess Anne and Prince Edward among those the King can choose.

Prior to this bill, the King could choose between Queen Camilla and the next four people in the line to the throne aged over 21.

As at least two Counsellors are needed to carry out duties on behalf of the King, the previous Counsellors line-up raised the chances to see three non-working members of the Firm – Andrew, Harry and Princess Beatrice – carry out official duties.

The King: The Life of Charles III by Christopher Andersen is published by Simon and Schuster.

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