King Charles 'more willing' to talk about difficult issues says expert
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King Charles’s first state visit with the South African President has shown he is “more willing to talk about difficult issues” than his late mother, a royal commentator has said. Historian Wesley Kerr, speaking about the royal stand against apartheid and their relationship with Nelson Mandela, lauded Charles for hosting Mr Ramaphosa and suggested the monarch was improving upon the relationship built by his late mother. He claimed the King would be instrumental in ensuring Britain successfully tackle climate change with South Africa and called for increased trade between the two nations.
Mr Kerr said: “It was a colony. There was brutality involved. There was the Boer War. Interestingly, of course, Britain was against apartheid since before it began in the late 1940s.
“And that was the reason the Queen and her parents went on that tour to stop apartheid. And then Britain campaigned against apartheid.
“So, Britain’s role in the history of South Africa is a kind of mixed role but I think in the last thirty or forty years, it has been a positive role.
“There is a lot that the two countries can do together going forward, not least on the issue of climate change and biodiversity, as well as trade, which was a strong theme.
“So, I think that Charles is more willing to talk about difficult issues in the past than the Queen was.”
The monarch at the time said: “South Africa, like the Commonwealth, has always been a part of my life. My mother often recalled her visit in 1947, the year before I was born, when, from Cape Town on Her 21st birthday, she pledged her life to the service of the people of the Commonwealth.
“It is therefore particularly moving and special that you are our guest on this, the first State Visit we have hosted.”
Mr Ramaphosa subsequently thanked the British and its monarchy for helping end apartheid and urged further support for a reformed global institutional order and climate justice.
Experts suggested that the focus of the conversations showed the King was willing to acknowledge Britain’s complicated past and push for change in ways suitable for a monarch.
Meanwhile, Charles has described himself as enjoying taking on the “most difficult challenges” as he appeared in a royal Grand Designs-style TV documentary.
The programme, which was more than a decade in the making, tells the story of Charles’s ambitious plan to restore the 18th-century stately home Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland.
The King, then the Prince of Wales, led a consortium which paid £45 million for the dilapidated estate in 2007 in a bid to save it from ruin and help regenerate the deprived local community.
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In A Royal Grand Design, which will be broadcast on ITV on Wednesday November 30 at 9pm, Charles describes the vast project as an “appalling risk”.
But he says it was worth it to help the local community, who suffered after the loss of the mining industry.
Charles acceded to the throne following the death of the late Queen in September, and the broadcast is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth II.
Footage includes Charles showing his mother around the grounds when she opened the walled garden in 2014.
Narrated by the actor Richard E Grant, the documentary is said to capture the “real man behind the crown”.
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