Prince Charles Philip Arthur George has been announced as King Charles III of Britain in an elaborate ceremony at St. James’s Palace in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. Charles III was inaugurated as king in front of an official assembly called the Council of Accession at St James’s Palace on Saturday morning local time.

King Charles III waited for this moment all his life. He has been heir to the throne since he was born exactly 73 years ago. He was three years old when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the throne in 1952. Since then he has been the next heir to the queen.

He has been nurtured, trained and endlessly trained for a job. Responsibility has finally come to him at an age when most men want nothing more than a peaceful retirement.

Prince Charles drunk at the party

The future of the monarchy will depend on how he manages his rule. In fact, it will determine whether there is a monarchy at all. His great-grandfather Edward VII came to the throne in 1901 (aged just 59) after Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign. He had a reputation then as an amiable but untalented and unabashedly ill-tempered king. This must have been what his mother thought, yet when he died nine years later he was considered a king who succeeded. He developed the monarchy, improved its popularity and made it more acceptable in a democratic country.

Prince Charles while studying at Cambridge

Can King Charles accomplish something similar? The question remains. Can the successor of an elderly sovereign associate a monarchy with a country whose population is much smaller than theirs and whose future is not shared with future generations? Especially in a country where politicians, business leaders, generals, police chiefs are decades his junior. Almost all of the entire generation are 20 or 30 years younger and have different experiences and skills.

Keeping up with the times and adapting to them is the hallmark of this dynasty’s success. If he does not, both he and the monarchy will sink. Will he be able to carry out the main objective of all his predecessors from time immemorial to pass on the crown inviolably, safely to his heirs and successors? Or will he, of his own accord, end up as Charles the Last?

Unlike his predecessors, especially Edward VII, he was trained in the requirements and expectations of monarchy; He viewed state papers, sat in on meetings and stood in for his mother at royal events. He is as prepared as anyone for the role of head of state, and has been for more than half a century. He is the oldest as well as the longest-waiting heir to the throne and the Prince of Wales. Now is his time.

The outline of Charles’s life has been scrutinized in great detail since the November evening in 1948 when the announcement that Princess Elizabeth had been safely delivered as heir was posted on the railings of Buckingham Palace.

First, the sensitive little boy with a ruthless father and an often absent mother was sent to board the Spartan. Then came to Cambridge. There’s awkward bachelor life, a brief naval career and a long search for a suitable wife, a disastrous marriage to a fairytale princess. Then came the tragic condemnation of their acrimonious divorce and her sudden death a year later.

This was followed by a more contented second marriage and the emergence of her two sons into the adult world as young men who inherited their mother’s best traits rather than their father’s worst traits.

Prince Charles with Diana

Because Charles is a more complex, difficult, and reserved man than modern celebrity allows, his popularity is decidedly limited. He is not liked or even much liked, not particularly admired or respected and this is a huge obstacle for him to overcome in his new life.

Some of these may be admirable. But reconciling a job that demands absolute discretion as the price of survival can be difficult. One never knew what his mother was thinking about anything. But the problem is that everyone knows what Charles thinks about practically everything.

This will make the evolution of the monarchy more difficult. Her mother could handle the change evenly and without trouble. But in his case it might be more difficult.

He sits uncomfortably at the apex of the monarchy’s modernization project. He was the first heir to the throne to attend school with his contemporaries.

For decades, he has met common people to express his duty to the people. He did not interact with them directly nor did he realize what the life of the common day laborers was really like. As a result, he does not seem to have a deep understanding of the reality of the daily lives of his future subjects. Accordingly he never stepped outside the gilded life of large estates and the retirement of servants. Other royal families were prepared to do so, but not Charles. His imagination seems strictly limited and adventurous.

He is not only the King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but also the King of 14 other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada as well as the Solomon Islands, Saint Lucia, Tuvalu and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Charles began his reign as king with a large legacy of public goodwill. Also he has to be careful not to destroy the institutional inertia. He may feel that after all these years it is finally his turn. But will he suddenly become old? How else would he leave his mark on history? And what if that symbol brought down the whole empire?

(September 10)