King Charles III faces several challenges as new reign begins

"I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me," Charles said.

King Charles III
King Charles III. Photo: Twitter/Clarence House

King Charles III was on Saturday (September 10) proclaimed Britain’s new monarch. The throne had passed to the 73-year-old former Prince of Wales following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Thursday.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me. In taking up these responsibilities, I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these Islands and of the Commonwealth Realms and Territories throughout the world,” Charles said.

Following the proclamation, Charles held his first Privy Council meeting and made his personal declaration to “assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty” and follow in the footsteps of his late mother. The Privy Council includes politicians, senior members of the clergy and Supreme Court justices.

Also read: Prince Charles is now King Charles III; proclaimed king in an elaborate ceremony

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Now, Britain’s new King faces several challenges as his reign starts amid the Russia-Ukraine war, high inflation, the energy supply issue, a new Prime Minister in Liz Truss, and the rise of Republicanism.

Other major issues which he has to deal with include younger brother Prince Andrew’s sex abuse case and allegations of royal racism.

Not popular

Also, another big challenge ahead of Charles is that he is not popular as his late mother. At the end of last year’s YouGov poll, he came seventh in ‘The Most Popular Royalty’ list which was headed by Queen Elizabeth II followed by Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William.

Britain’s The i newspaper said Charles will face decisions over Prince Andrew after he settled out of court with his sexual abuse accuser Virginia Guiffre over allegations linked to his paedophile friend Jeffery Epstein.

Also read: Why King Charles III’s tenure signals a change of tone, course

Will the King fund Andrew’s living costs? Will his brother keep his title as Duke of York and will he be allowed to remain in the £30m Royal Lodge near Windsor Castle? the newspaper asked.

According to the newspaper, the King’s philanthropic organisation, the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, “could yet land him in more trouble if more revelations emerge about donations like the suitcases of £2.5m in cash” said to have been handed over by an ex-Prime Minister of Qatar, between 2011 and 2015. In July, the Charity Commission said it will take no further action and Charles will hope that is the end of the matter.

Royal racism row

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle revealed some racist undertones within royal ranks as unnamed royals raised concerns over the skin tone of their first-born son, Archie, even as they were told he would not be made a prince and therefore not provided with security.

“In those months when I was pregnant (there were) concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born,” said Meghan, a former actress.

In the same interview, Harry said he was “let down” by his father Charles. Harry said Charles “stopped taking my calls”.

Also read: Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96; King Charles III accedes British throne

“I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like and Archie is his grandson. But at the same time, of course, I will always love him but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship,” he said.

The couple has settled in the US after stepping down from the royal family.

Reacting to the couple’s accusations, Buckingham Palace had said, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

In his first address, Charles spoke about Harry and Meghan and expressed his love.

“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said on Friday.

Allegations against Prince’s Foundation

According to a Reuters report, last November, Charles’ closest aide and right-hand man for decades, Michael Fawcett, stepped down from his role running his charity, The Prince’s Foundation, after allegations that honours were offered to a Saudi national in return for donations.

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A few months later, London Police said they had launched a criminal investigation into the charity, while other inquiries are being carried out by regulators. Charles’ office has said he had no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing, but his charity’s links to Fawcett and his events company had ended, it said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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