Change of guard?

IS Prince Charles finally ready for the throne of England? It would appear so. A report in Sunday Times claims that Britain’s royal family is making preparations to pass on the crown to the Prince of Wales. Sweeping changes, the newspaper claims, are in the pipeline to modernise the coronation and other ceremonies marking Charles’s accession. And in tune with the changinig times, ‘Ruritanian’ elements of the coronation ceremony will be pruned in view of the non-Christian subjects of the future king.

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Published: Mon 27 Dec 2004, 11:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:13 AM

Of course, Queen Elizabeth II is in good health. But at 78, she is not getting any younger. It is perhaps about time to pass on the mantle to her successor, who has already turned 53.

A lot of water has gone down the Thames since the Queen took over half a century ago — in 1953. Her kingdom has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis. It is not what it used to be. Although its power has decidedly shrunk with the sun setting on many of the empire’s proud possessions, the kingdom has enormously grown in its cultural richness and diversity. Half a century has also seen the erosion of the people’s faith in the monarchy as an institution owing to several factors including the exploits of some residents of the Buckingham Palace. Nonetheless, Britons continue to remain emotionally attached to the monarchy.

The question is would Charles make a good king? Although he is remarkably reticent and a private person, the future king of England comes across as a warm and caring human being. His political and social outlook may be conservative but he is gifted with a rare understanding of British ethos and what people expect of him. A well-read man of fine tastes, he is known for his avid interest in sports and culture. A champion of popular causes, Prince Charles must be conscious of the fact that ruling a multicultural, multifaith and multiracial Britain would not be a cakewalk or as easy as it would have been 50 years ago when his mother took over. Perhaps, that is why, he has sought to reach out to various sections of the British public including the Muslims. Islam is the second largest religion of the country after Christianity.

Prince Charles’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles was seen, until now, as an obstacle to his accession. But with the Church of England raising the possibility of resolving his marital status by suggesting a register wedding, even this hurdle might be removed. To the coronation, then.

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