As the first anniversary of King Charles III’s Accession Day approaches, we are reflecting upon the first year of his reign. Although Charles strove for bold change while Prince of Wales, he has taken a different approach to his role as sovereign.
King Charles’s reign started with one of the significant public events of the twenty-first century, his mother’s funeral. His Coronation in May was the first in seventy years and was both a harkening back to the past and a look to the future. Throughout this first year, he has walked a fine line with change.
Many expected Charles to make sweeping changes when he came to the throne, but much of the “business” of the monarchy has continued as it did under Queen Elizabeth II.
The senior members of the Royal Family – The Prince and Princess of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester – have continued to carry out engagements with the same rhythm and schedule as the previous reign. All key events were observed, and little has changed in how they “do” their work.
The Duke of Kent has largely retired from public life following his cousin’s passing in September 2022, but this was to be expected given that he is 87. The Gloucesters have also slowed down on their engagements; as they are approaching 80 themselves, this was also to be expected.
The one notable change came in March when Charles announced that he was making Prince Edward The Duke of Edinburgh for his 59th birthday. The title was granted only for Edward’s lifetime and will not be passed on to his son, a significant change from Queen Elizabeth II’s granting of titles.
Perhaps we will see further changes under The King now that we will be entering the second year of his reign.