This Monday, King Charles III of Britain will have been in power for a whole year. His reign has thus far been marked by a peaceful succession from that of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Given that his mother’s 96th birthday falls on Friday, the anniversary is likely to be observed in secret.
The longest wait for an heir in British history, Charles, 74, has reportedly settled into his new position with ease.
However, despite hopes for reform, he has not yet significantly altered the monarchy, fueling the notion that he is merely acting in a caretaker capacity until his eldest son and heir Prince William assumes the throne.
“I think the transition has been much smoother than was anticipated,” Pauline Maclaran, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, told AFP.
In front of royalty and world leaders, Charles and his wife Camilla were formally crowned on May 6 at Westminster Abbey in London.
The extravagant ceremony attempted to be more representational of contemporary Britain while adhering to centuries-old customs. It was shorter and less ornate than his mother’s ceremony from 1953.
“I think we can expect maybe small changes, but he is really paving the way for William, and I imagine William will be the real moderniser of the monarchy,” said Maclaran.
In terms of popularity, Charles still trails his deceased mother and the 41-year-old William, but since his ascension, his approval rating has significantly increased.
According to a YouGov poll, 55 percent of Britons feel more favorable toward their new head of state than 44 percent were one year ago.
A record 10.6 million people in the UK watched his first Christmas Day broadcast, which was a traditional speech to Britain and the Commonwealth, which he also leads.
Charles has traveled about the nation on multiple occasions as king, frequently with Camilla, and has generally come across as friendlier and more approachable than Elizabeth II.
The official images that they (the palace) provided are far more laid back, according to history lecturer Jonathan Spangler at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Charles “is more aware that these things need to be done,” he added, adding that “there is a bit more humanity.”
Maclaran asserts that Charles has demonstrated himself to be “humble and accessible” at a time when Britain is experiencing the biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation.
She continued, “His annoyance over a leaky pen after the ceremonial meeting announcing his accession was the sole public image mishap so far.
While there had been no “major mistake,” there also had not been “any kind of defining moment,” according to Anna Whitelock, a historian of monarchies.
Big issues still remain, such as how he will respond to requests for an apology over colonial legacies. The entire inquiry regarding tax exemptions? Added she.
In the meantime, the pro-republic movement, which favors an elected head of state, has taken advantage of the opportunity to revive discussion regarding the constitutional future of the British royal family, which had previously been put on hold out of respect for the ailing and advancing monarch.
During his visits, Charles has frequently encountered anti-monarchy banners.
The king has only made one state visit, to Germany, although serving as the head of state of 14 Commonwealth nations other than the UK, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
His first trip was supposed to be to France in March, but it was postponed because the nation was rocked by irate demonstrations against pension reforms. The excursion has been moved to later this month.
According to reports, a significant overseas trip is planned to enhance ties with the Commonwealth.
Presidents of South Africa, the United States, and Ukraine have all been hosted by Charles, including US Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Elizabeth II was thought to be particularly committed to the Commonwealth, a 56-nation alliance made up primarily of former British colonies, but with Charles, “the emphasis is global,” according to Spangler.
Closer to home, Charles has also had to deal with the revelations in his younger son Prince Harry’s autobiographical tell-all book.
Along with a docuseries, he and his American wife Meghan revealed their motivations for leaving the royal family in 2020.
“Charles handled this situation excellently. He didn’t really begin to respond or assign blame. When the accusations arose, he essentially followed the Queen’s maxim, “Never explain, never complain,” Maclaran said.
“I honestly don’t think the scandal has been any more damaging than what the monarchy has suffered many times before,” she added.