King Charles is becoming so woke he is in danger of abolishing himself

Petronella Wyatt

King Charles, it has been reported, has a “10-year plan”. Apart from making him sound like Stalin, the plan apparently involves being King for 10 years, before handing over to William. As if he would. As Melvyn Douglas says to Soviet Commissar Greta Garbo in the 1939 film Ninotchka, “I’ve been admiring your five-year plan for the last 15 years.”
I hope the King makes it as far as 10 years, as his plan also involves the Royal family dispensing with what historian Vernon Bogdanor calls the “magic” side of their role, and “taking the lead on the major issues of the day”. They haven’t been doing this with much distinction so far. The Duke of York tried to take the lead on obscure medical conditions that prevent people from sweating, and on whether or not you should hand over a small fortune to a woman you don’t know.
Prince Harry, meanwhile, has taken the lead on issues like keeping families together and how to get streaming giants to give you millions of dollars, as well as other pressing global matters. Now Charles has commissioned a study into the monarchy’s historic links to slavery and has not ruled out reparations. This “study”, the focus of which is to be the three King Georges, is not to be conducted by an established British expert, but by an eager PhD student called Camilla de Koning. According to academic historians, there is little or no evidence linking the Georges to the slave trade, but doubtless Ms de Koning will find some. It’s a dangerous door to open. What of the monarchy’s links with other unpleasant things? One could mention the burning of heretics, both Protestant and Catholic, the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands both here and abroad (some Muslim friends are still miffed about the Crusades), and cutting the heads off women; not to mention stealing land and the throne from people who had a better claim. My brother, Pericles, has a better claim to the throne than Charles does. He is one of two senior surviving male Plantagenets (the other being the Earl of Loudoun) and is a collateral descendant of Richard III, who we call “Uncle Dickie”. Uncle Dickie was murdered by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth and it remains an upsetting subject. In fact, we want our throne back, and at least three of the Royal Palaces that were nicked. But there is a cautionary tale in this. Charles is becoming so woke he may end up abolishing himself. The Coronation hasn’t even begun yet, but it is already alienating his natural supporters. We do not want a monarchy that looks and acts like a branch of the civil service.
The late Queen knew very well that it is possible to combine public duty with the most seductive magic. If we are to have a taxpayer-funded Coronation, we want our money’s worth. Instead, MPs and peers, who vote through the Sovereign Grant, have been incensed by the cavalier way in which they have been treated. Aside from the King’s personal friends, only 20 peers have been invited; one Duke, one Marquess, one Earl, one Baron etc, as if it was Noah’s ark, not the Coronation. Labour peers, who are always the greatest snobs of all, are angry that they will not be allowed to wear their Coronation Robes, and that those not invited to the Abbey will be put in an iron corral outside. Senior Tories are equally annoyed. In a future Conservative Party led by a Kemi Badenoch, I doubt there will be much defence of the hereditary principle. I know, from friends of the King, that Charles is fearful of the future and alarmed by the prospect of a Labour government. Keir Starmer, who is a borderline republican, plans to make swingeing cuts to the Sovereign Grant.
But pandying to republicans is as futile as a Christian in Ancient Rome trying to make friends with the lions. Charles would do better to please monarchists and the nation as a whole, not bend to every prevailing fad and foible. His mother would not have done so. There is only one honest impulse behind republicanism and that is envy. A wealthy and privileged king with an itch to “take the lead” on divisive issues like climate change won’t find the Red Wall behind him the next time Extinction Rebellion uses the M1 as its personal carpet. Nobody believes in any idea absolutely, but the King will never win over such people. In the presence of monarchy, instinctive republicans will always be palpably uneasy, like non-believers at a religious service. But there are still a majority of instinctive monarchists in this country, and where our flambeaux smokes, the King should set his bait. Yesterday I read that the Coronation Procession has been cut so short that most bystanders who brave the weather to camp overnight won’t even get a glimpse. May I suggest a rethink on this as a start.
The Telegraph