In a statement released shortly after the official announcement of her death, Charles described the death of his “beloved” mother as “the moment of greatest grief for me and all members of my family.” The next few days will be a time for Charles to mourn a great personal loss as he undertakes new assignments.
After a lifetime in the public eye, he is a familiar figure to many in the UK and around the world. However, no one knows yet what kind of monarch Charles III will become.
As CNN’s Royal Correspondent, I have covered Britain’s new King for years and traveled with him around the world.
This is where the new King gathers all of his greatest passions and objectives, from music to the protection of rare breeds, apprenticeships for underprivileged youth, to organic farming. I could see how thrilling it was to walk around and ask questions of the staff.
Every Friday night, wherever he is in the world, Charles receives a ton of reports with updates on the estate’s work, and he replies with a note first thing Saturday morning. His wife, Camilla, tells me that he stays up late every night to read, write, and respond to requests for support and advice.
While many of his predecessors saw the Prince of Wales role as their ticket to the playboy lifestyle and guaranteed income, Charles specialized it and made it his own. He wanted a legacy, but he didn’t want to wait until he was king. In my experience, he’s impatient, driven, and incredibly frustrated when one of his projects goes awry or doesn’t come to fruition.
“The signs were there from a young age,” Kenneth Dunsmuir told me during a visit to Dumfries House. Runs the Prince’s Foundation. “All his concerns about social and ecological issues in the community were there and all that happened was that he became more and more involved and had time to do it.”
Dunsmuir’s comments point to another reason why Charles accomplished so much during his tenure. Dunsmuir sees Dumfries House as “a wonderful physical legacy of work that has always been there and will always remain.”
Charles often struggled to curb his passion for his work, and over the years expressed his hopes and fears during speeches, making him sound more like a campaigner than awaiting a constitutional monarch. This prompted accusations that he was threatening the independence and impartiality of the monarchy. Since then it has become a mainstream issue and, for some, a political issue. Charles was a prominent supporter of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, and in December 2019, as the then president was preparing to pull the United States out of the accord, he met Donald Trump over tea on the issue. We talked.
The following month, at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Charles delivered a powerful speech, asking: Balance when you can? I don’t want to.
Despite criticism, and sometimes ridicule, for his battle to become a royal eco-warrior, Charles has remained a pioneer in environmental issues in recent years.
Charles will attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021, calling on countries to work together with industry to create solutions to climate change.
“We know this will cost trillions, not billions,” he said at the time. He added that climate change and biodiversity loss are major threats and the world needs to be in a “warlike position” to combat them.
Charles has been outspoken on a variety of sensitive issues, from genetically modified crops to homeopathic medicines and architecture. Elizabeth’s legendary ability not to offend or alienate was more strategic than many might think, but Charles always followed her lead and stepped up to the throne. They have insisted that they stop interfering once they have taken office.
In all the conversations I had with family members and their aides, there was also no talk of the more popular Prince William leaping his father to the throne.
Charles spent his life preparing to become sovereign and proved beyond doubt that he was not shy about his job. During that time, William was in no hurry to grab the crown, preferring to steadily build a royal portfolio while focusing on his young family and developing his own set of interests and objectives. .
Prince Charles and Prince William united both personally and professionally when Prince Harry stepped down from royal duties in 2020, leaving the rest of the senior royals a much more compact group. The relationship between the new king and his heir will be key to the future stability of the monarchy, as will the dynamics between the new king and his wife.
I’ve seen the tower that Camilla has always held up for Charles. She has a unique talent for relieving tension during sex.
In 2015, I met Charles at another estate in the Scottish Highlands, Burkhall. It was to mark the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary, ahead of their US tour.
He told me, “It’s always nice to have someone who you feel understands and wants to encourage you.
After the interview, I went with him to the drawing room and joined Camilla while we waited for the camera to prepare for some set-up shots. I asked how Camila was and she joked about how we were dressed. Her ability to stabilize her chambers made her an asset to the nation, as the wife of the head of state and as a symbol of stability.
With Camilla firmly by his side, Charles sets his stamp on the monarchy. Also the head of state. When he takes over the mantle of the king, the eyes of the world will be on him.