As the King and Queen Consort grieve privately at Balmoral in Scotland, plans are under way for the next chapter in his role as Britain’s head of state.
Once the royal family completes seven days of private mourning – from the date of the Queen’s funeral on September 19 – it’s back to business for the King on Monday, royal observers said.
In the short term, there is the decision about where to live – the King and Queen are currently at Clarence House and may treat Buckingham Palace as the office until renovations are completed in 2027.
Paperwork will return, with the resumption of daily dispatches and documents for signing, along with weekly briefings with the British prime minister, not to mention dozens of pre-arranged ceremonial occasions to attend.
The King is reportedly poised to make his first official state visit “as soon as next month” – heading off to France following an invitation from President Emmanuel Macron. It will be followed by a trip to Germany.
Next year, the King will “likely” travel to Commonwealth countries including Australia and New Zealand, which “will be high on the priority list”, according to royalcentral.com.
Then there are the charities, foundations and global causes King Charles is passionate about, especially climate change and the environment, with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt in November to think about.
And one day next year – rumoured to be June 2, the 70th anniversary of the late Queen’s own coronation – the King will be formally crowned.
So, let’s start pencilling in his diary.
France and Germany
On September 20, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that France was “the surprise choice” for his first state visit.
After bonding with Mr Macron at the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year, the King caught up with the French leader at the Buckingham Palace reception on Sunday night before the Queen’s funeral.
“The King warmly greeted Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte, reflecting what one source described as ‘a long friendship’ between the two men,” reported the newspaper.
The Foreign Office, the paper wrote, which has the final say over the destinations for royal visits, was “understood to be keen to utilise the diplomatic power of the monarchy to build bridges with major European neighbours post-Brexit”.
The visit would also draw attention to the Great Green Wall exhibition in Paris – an ambitious, 8000-kilometre tree-planting scheme across the African continent. Mr Macron and the King are reported to both be keen supporters.
The Telegraph said Mr Macron confirmed he had issued an invitation.
“I had the opportunity to invite King Charles to come to France when it is appropriate for him.
“I think the British people and the King felt France’s deep affection for them and the emotion we shared,” Mr Macron said, according to the newspaper.
Sources suggested that Germany, as the largest country in Europe, would also be near the top of the list for a state visit. The King is likely to head to Berlin after visiting France.
Daily dispatches in the red leather box
The BBC said the King “will receive daily dispatches from the government in a red leather box, such as briefings ahead of important meetings, or documents needing his signature”.
“The prime minister will normally meet the King on a Wednesday at Buckingham Palace, to keep him informed on government matters.
These meetings are completely private and there is no official record of what is said.
“[He] will host visiting heads of state, and meet foreign ambassadors and high commissioners based in the UK. He will normally lead the annual Remembrance event in November at the Cenotaph in London,” the BBC wrote.
Charity work and causes
According to the official, updated royal.uk website: “His Majesty has taken a keen and active interest in all areas of public life for decades. The King has been instrumental in establishing more than 20 charities over 40 years, including The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation and The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund.
“His Majesty has worked closely with many organisations, publicly supporting a wide variety of causes relating to the environment, rural communities, the built environment, the arts, health care and education.”
However, in his first public address after the Queen’s death, the monarch said: “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply.”
Although his position as monarch will be politically neutral, there’s a global push for the King to continue to advocate on the world stage on climate change.
A year ago, when he was Prince of Wales, he told the COP26 gathering in Glasgow that climate change was “an existential threat” that required the world to go on “a war-like footing”.
COP27 will be convened at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt from November 6.
Operation Golden Orb, the coronation
On September 20, the Daily Mirror reported the King was planning a “slimmed down” coronation as part of a drive to “modernise the monarchy”.
He was said to be “mindful” of the cost of the ceremony, given so many are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, adding it will be “inclusive and reflect the whole country and Commonwealth”.
It would be “shorter, smaller and less expensive” than his mother’s coronation in 1953.
Aides will give the King a range of options to explore for his coronation, the Mirror reported. Plans could include an extra bank holiday, and “probably street parties up and down the land”.
“He has already spoken of his wish to continue his mother’s legacy and this includes continuing to recognise what the people are experiencing day by day,” the paper reported.
The Daily Express reported the number of working royals could be cut to seven, in line with the new King’s much vaunted vision for a slimmed down monarchy.
They will be the King, Queen, his eldest son Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, his sister the Princess Royal and brother and sister-in law, the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The paper’s survey of 2351 Britons found reducing the cost of the monarchy was the public’s second biggest royal priority, after support for environmental issues – 65 per cent of survey participants backed the idea, with only 7 per cent opposed.
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