The British monarchy is a globally recognized and respected institution.
Queen Elizabeth II is the current head of the monarchy. She has been in reign since 1952.
In addition to being the head of state in the UK, the monarch is also head of the Anglican church and head of the Commonwealth.
Billions of people are directly or indirectly affected by the happenings and decisions made at the monarchy.
Prince Charles is the heir apparent. He is expected to succeed his mother in leadership and continue the long reign of the monarchy.
However, many do not have faith in his leadership. Judging by how he has behaved in several instances in the past, some have expressed opinions that the line of succession should skip a generation and go directly to his son Prince William.
A leader’s strength is not measured by the good times. It is measured by the tough times.
Based on his actions during the tough times, is Prince Charles fit to be King? Let’s examine this.
Behavior towards Princess Diana
Prince Charles married Diana Princess of Wales in 1981. Due to their 12 year age difference and their incompatibility, their marriage did not work.
Prince Charles broke the marriage vows he made to his wife by committing adultery with Camilla his current wife. He ignored Diana’s efforts and determination at making the marriage work. Even her confronting Camila did not deter him at all. She voiced on many occasions that he made her feel inadequate and that whenever she gasped for air, he would push her down again.
He wasn’t a supportive husband and was not there for her as she fought postpartum depression, self-harm, and bulimia.
He also did not have her back when she was on the receiving end of constant negative attack from the media.
Upon their divorce, he was also the one that insisted she be stripped of the title Her Royal Highness. A young Prince William reassured her that he would give it back to her one day when he was King.
Some conspiracy theorists even suggest that he had a hand in her gruesome death.
His behavior towards Diana, Princess of Wales leaves many wondering whether as King, he shall keep the vows that he will make based on how he failed at keeping the ones he made on his wedding day to Diana.
Behavior towards Prince Harry
Recently, in a bombshell interview together with his wife, Prince Harry revealed that his father had cut him off financially, and had not been taking or returning his calls. All these were in response to Prince Harry’s actions of stepping down from his official duties as a senior member of the royal family and moving to North America to start a new life.
Among the reasons Harry gave for this move, was in a show of support to his wife Meghan Markle who had been receiving discriminatory negative feedback from the British tabloid press. He also did not want to see a repeat of history based on what happened to his mother Princess Diana.
Even after stepping down, the two have vowed to continue pushing for the causes they were working on as senior royals.
In choosing the welfare of his young family, his mental health, and a healthier more liberating lifestyle, Prince Harry’s actions might have come out as though he was abandoning his birth family, his country, his subjects, and his role in the monarchy and British society in general.
This could be a tough situation for any family or parent. And reacting to it healthily could help mend relationships.
Prince Charles's reaction however was toxic. By withholding funds from his son especially at the point in his life when he needed them the most, he was controlling and manipulative. Without sufficient funds, he probably expected his son and his young family would find it harder to navigate through their new life which would deter them from moving forward with their plans of seeking their independence.
As a parent, he did not have to fully understand his son and his actions, he did not have to fully support his decision, but in lieu of Harry’s situation as a royal who had been socialized from birth to be dependent on his family financially, Prince Charles had the moral obligation to help his son out financially as he settled into his new life. It’s what any loving and nurturing parent would do.
By failing to do so even though he could more than afford to, and by failing to communicate effectively on the matter, Prince Charles failed miserably as a father.
He put his ego over the safety, security, and general well-being of his own son. He also abandoned him at his hour of most need and lacked the compassion to empathize with his situation.
The question is if he could do this to his own son of whom he is biologically inclined to care for and protect, what could he possibly do to his subjects?
Leadership comes with its own set of challenges. Your subjects may not always be in agreement with your leadership style and the decisions that you make for them and on their behalf.
Is this how Prince Charles will act as King when it comes to meeting the needs of his subjects? Will he abandon them and refuse to listen to their needs and requests when they don’t agree with his beliefs?
His behavior towards his son during this conflict painted him in a negative light, set a bad example of him as a leader and it informed the world on how he might act once he assumes the throne if he faces a similar situation with his subjects.
He might want to control and manipulate the situation to achieve his objectives. And that is poor a mark of poor leadership.
“Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. ”— Lord Acton
Prince Charles had power over his son’s well-being and he didn’t use it for the good of all parties. One might wonder what he would do once he has some power over billions of people.
Also, as a global leader, by failing to handle the matter with his son in a fair manner, he set a bad example to all fathers that may look up to him.
He also failed to be a good example to his son Harry by not setting the pace on how to healthily handle father-son conflicts.
Head of the Anglican Church
The British monarch is also head of the Anglican Church. Churches are also some of the pillars of morality, kindness, and goodness in society.
In the event that Prince Charles will become King, and based on how unkind he has been to those closest to him, it is clear that the role as head of the Anglican church will not be befitting him.
His actions to his former wife and son were and are a portrayal of a lacking of goodness at a personal level. And morally, it would be hypocritical of him to assume the role of guiding millions to seek goodness when he seems to lack it himself.
Accusations of racism at the monarchy
When Prince Harry decided to step down from his duties as a senior member of the royal family citing several reasons one of them being racism, millions around the world gasped.
His marriage to Meghan Markle an African American actress was also questioned by many as she was the first black person to be a member of the British Monarch. The family had been known to be opposed to marriage to commoners for centuries. Let alone blacks!
According to Harry and Meghan, there were conversations in the royal family about what the color of the skin of their unborn son would look like.
Since then, speculation has been brewing as to whom exactly made these utterances.
As heir apparent, as father to Harry who has a mixed-race child, as father-in-law to a black woman, and as grandfather to a child of color, Prince Charles failed at ensuring that undertones of racism and racist microaggressions were completely absent at the monarchy.
He also failed at protecting Harry and his young family from the racist attacks from the media.
The UK has millions of citizens of African descent. As the monarchy also reigns over territories comprised of black and brown people, the accusations of racism at the top realm left many questions answered.
If the issue of racism is a problem at the family level, how big of a problem is it at a leadership level? Does the monarch view all peoples as their equal despite the color of their skins or do they view being anything other than Caucasian as less than?
It is obvious that most anglo relationships are exploitative from a political-economic perspective especially with the third world. The big question here is, are the relationships the monarchy enjoys with these nations based on shared interests and collaboration, or do they look at them as master-slave relationships, to begin with?
The Queen’s attitude
It has been suggested that the Queen has not abdicated the throne or had any thoughts of retirement because she has no faith in her son’s leadership. Others suggest that she also does not actively groom him to take the leadership by passing over some of her core roles to him.
As she took an oath to rule until her death, this theory even though having some merit is refuted.
Prince Charles's approval rating is low. Millions have not forgiven his past mistakes especially the ones committed to the people’s darling Diana, Princess of Wales.
The current situation with his son Harry is not going to help him either. As matter of fact, many people that empathize with Harry and his young family have called Prince Charles out for his failure as a parent and as a leader. This could push his approval ratings even lower in the eyes of many.
Many citizens prefer to be ruled by leaders that they have an affinity for. And subjects love their rulers based on their benevolence, relatability, and compassion among other traits. As Prince Charles has not sufficiently displayed these traits, many people have expressed that they find him not fit to rule over them.
Is the Monarch even necessary to begin with?
In our current world, you have to earn everything you get. For many people, any job, income, wealth, respect, power, and influence is hard-earned through sweat, blood, and tears.
For members of the monarchy, however, you are born into it. All the wealth, respect, power, and influence that most of the royals enjoy is simply because of their parentage.
We are well aware that centuries ago, their families gallantly fought to liberate their territories, proceeded to guide and rule their people, built strong foundations for their nations, and through the years drove their countries to prosperity. But those were their ancestors who earned every ounce of power, respect, and wealth that they got. Not the royals of today who wave hands, receive flowers, write some cheques, go for high teas, influence fashion, broadcast their weddings, go for photo ops, create scandals, courts the tabloid media, and sometimes kisses babies.
To many people, the current monarchies of the world may feel like entitled brats whose roles in society and their maintenance may have several cons that outweigh their benefits.
It has been posited that monarchies have no place in modern societies. All leadership roles should be earned. They should not be a birthright.
The British Monarch whose role is mainly ceremonial brings in revenue, particularly from tourism. Many royal fans are quick to point out its relevance using this fact. This notwithstanding, it is worthy to note that many countries of the world that have no monarchy record higher revenue numbers from tourism than the ones the British monarch brings to its country. America with Hollywood is an example.
In the question of Prince Charles being fit to rule, it's the question of whether he has earned the right to guide others. Simply because he comes from a long line of rulers does not guarantee his wisdom as one. And simply because his mother has ruled for decades with grace does not mean that he is capable of doing the same.
It’s also not the question of him being fit to rule in particular. It’s the question of the relevance of the entire monarchy in general.
Look, even billionaires who built their wealth from scratch and have a thorough understanding of every aspect of living both privileged and none privileged lives have expressed seeing no merit in passing over their business empires and enormous wealth to their children simply because. How about those that inherited their wealth and power?
If monarchs chose their successors through merit and not through birthright maybe it would help bring some confidence in their competence to rule. But even so, the fact that they are placed high up the pedestal simply because of who their ancestors were is core to why the whole institution is irrelevant in our modern competence-based society.
It is highly unlikely that the monarchy will skip the line of succession and have Prince William as King at the expense of his father.
But at his current age of 72, it is expected that once he assumes the throne, he shall not rule for long or as long as his mother has. For this reason, his impact shall not be major and it can be quickly overshadowed by his successor.
Prince Charles has had some positive impact on the world. He supports various charities and has pushed for environmental protection.
His negative impacts however transcend his good deeds. And that might be his legacy even after he is King.