King Charles may well prove the monarch for his time

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In his first address to the world on Friday evening, London time, the King noted he would not be able to give as much time to the charities and issues he cared about, and pledged to “uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation”.

Yet his is a new era, and King Charles III may well prove a monarch for his time, as governments grapple with the very issue he has been championing for decades.

The British monarch is the head of only 15 nations now – a fraction of the full Commonwealth – but he holds sway over many more.

King Charles can, with skill and restraint, use his position to pursue the greater good when it comes to the environment, without compromising the political neutrality of the Crown. Such an achievement would be a remarkable one, and fitting for the new king.

The shrinking of the realm – and the continuing relevance of the monarchy – is also an issue that Charles inherits from his mother, who saw more than a dozen nations remove her as head of state during her reign, most recently Barbados in 2021.

Australia too is set to revisit the issue of becoming a republic while Charles is King, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese foreshadowing the government will look at such a move should it be elected for a second term.

Rihanna, honoured as a National Hero, greeted Prince Charles at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Barbados last November. The nation is now a republic but still in the Commonwealth.Credit:Getty

When Barbados became a republic, King Charles recognised the right of his subjects to determine their future, and by extension, his.

“I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member’s constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide,” he noted.

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Regardless of such decisions, advocacy on climate change at this critical point in time is a way for King Charles to prove the monarchy remains relevant in the 21st century, and still carries influence, even as its official domain grows smaller.

The reign of Charles III, who takes the throne at age 73, will not be as long as that of Elizabeth II.

However, the new king will leave his own legacy if he can adopt his mother’s deft diplomacy and couple it with his environmental knowledge and passion to bring about effective action on climate change – action the whole world is waiting for.

Gay Alcorn sends an exclusive newsletter to subscribers each week. Sign up to receive her Note from the Editor.

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