The laws and traditions that govern Britain’s constitutional monarchy dictate that the sovereign must stay out of partisan politics, but Charles has spent much of his adult life speaking out on issues that are important to him, particularly the environment.
His words have caused friction with politicians and business leaders who accused the then-Prince of Wales of meddling in issues on which he should have remained silent.
The question is whether Charles will follow his mother’s example and muffle his personal opinions now that he is king, or use his new platform to reach a broader audience.
In his first speech as monarch, Charles sought to put his critics at ease.
“My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities,″ he said. “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
Ed Owens, a historian and author of “The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53,” said that while Charles will tread a careful path, it’s unlikely he will suddenly stop talking about climate change and the environment — issues where there is a broad consensus about the urgent need for action.
“To not do so would not be true to the image that he has until this moment developed,” Owens said.
John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, said he hopes Charles will continue speaking out about climate change because it is a universal issue that doesn’t involve ideology. Kerry was in Scotland to meet with the Prince of Wales this week, but the session was canceled when the queen died.
“It doesn’t mean he’s involved in the daily broil of politics or speaking for a specific piece of legislation,” Kerry told the BBC. “But I can’t imagine him not … feeling compelled to use the important role of the monarch, with all the knowledge he has about it, to speak out and urge the world to do the things the world needs to do.” [Continue reading…]