Features

To save the British monarchy, skip the Prince of Wales

9 April 2016

9:00 AM

9 April 2016

9:00 AM

On 21 April Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday, the first of our reigning monarchs ever to do so, and it will be a very happy occasion, just as her Diamond Jubilee was in 2012. Five years ago there had been a more sombre milestone for the queen’s eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales. He passed the mark of 59 years spent as heir to the throne set by his great-great-grandfather, Victoria’s eldest son, the Prince of Wales who became King Edward VII in 1901.

The prince will be celebrating his mother’s birthday as enthusiastically as anyone, while oppressed by unmistakable frustration. He’s now 67; the Queen’s mother, the late Queen Mother, lived to 101; when he inherits the throne, he will be well beyond most people’s retirement age.

When or if: as the royal birthday approaches, I’m not the only person wondering whether the monarchy will survive to see the reign of Charles III. Dr Anna Whitelock, director of the London Centre for Public History, said the other day that present support for the monarchy was due to the Queen herself, and warned that the institution might not long outlive her. All those who value constitutional monarchy — which must include the prince — should ponder the very grave difficulties he would face on the throne, difficulties which, it must be said, are largely of his own making.

Such criticisms tend to come from republican malcontents, so let me say that the House of Hanover has no more loyal subject than myself, no stronger adherent to the principles of the Glorious Revolution, the protestant succession and constitutional monarchy. And while I’m not a member of the Prince of Wales’s Party or of the Highgrove Set (if there is one), I’ve always had a soft spot for the prince, as a fellow crank and one more emotionally illiterate Englishman. Some years ago, Alex Beam of the Boston Globe, that sharpest and wittiest of American columnists, listed ‘Twelve Reasons to Love Charles’ by way of answering criticisms aimed at him. ‘He despises the media — who doesn’t? He has failed in love — who hasn’t? He just wants to be left alone — me too. He talks to his plants. I talk to my dog… “The prince’s office had a longstanding reputation for being chaotic” — come see the floor of my office sometime.’ My feelings entirely.

Of course no institution, including monarchy, whether absolute or constitutional, can depend purely on the personal qualities of the inheritor, good or bad. History is littered with rulers whose countries survived them, more or less, and we were particularly brutal in getting through Welsh, Scotch and Dutch rulers until we settled on German princelings just over 300 years ago, for our convenience rather than theirs. One can’t say that the first four Georges knew their place, but the fifth and sixth did. Under Victoria, and for all her gross partisanship, we arrived at that brilliant combination of constitutional or limited monarchy and parliamentary government which Walter Bagehot extolled as The English Constitution nearly 150 years ago.

That settlement has been an incalculable benefit. George Orwell quoted a French journalist who told him that the monarchy was one of the things that had kept England from fascism; and, watching this year as the Americans choose between a ranting boor and an utterly unworthy and untrustworthy woman for their head of state, one can only be grateful for our own system when it works.


It works, that is, when the monarch confines himself or herself to what Bagehot called ‘the right to be consulted; the right to encourage; the right to warn’, if that. It can’t possibly work if the monarch holds and expresses strong views of his own.

In contrast to his mother, the Prince of Wales has never hesitated to tell cabinet ministers, in his famous ‘black spider’ letters, or the rest of us, what he thinks about every-thing from genetically modified crops to grammar schools to alternative medicine. Whether he’s right or wrong is by the way. I happen to disagree with him about fringe medicine and his tenderness towards barbarous Saudi despotism, while sharing his love of the Prayer Book and his distaste for much contemporary architecture. But then I’m not a prince, I’m a journalist, or just a freeborn Englishman with the same right as any other bloody fool to hold forth in the pub. The prince may or may not be a bloody fool, but he’s certainly not a private citizen, and when he dilates on those topics, I’m reminded of what the Duke of Wellington said when explaining why he deplored the practice of soldiers cheering their officers: ‘It comes dangerously close to an expression of opinion.’

Just what a problem the prince has become was spotted some while back by James Lees-Milne. That fastidious conservationist, devout royalist and brilliantly penetrating diarist came to know the Prince of Wales and to like him: ‘A sweet man. Heart bang in the right place.’ But then Lees-Milne went on lethally, ‘Not very clever in spite of praiseworthy intentions. Lays himself open to criticism because he contends with intellectuals and specialists in fields of which he can inevitably have only superficial knowledge.’ To make it worse, the prince has told us that he won’t desist from contending if he inherits the throne, thus demonstrating a complete failure to understand the nature of a constitutional monarch’s role.

If he means it, republicanism will receive a boost it hasn’t known since 1870, when the Prince of Wales was booed at the racecourse after his name cropped up in a lurid divorce case, and when ‘To speak in rude and general terms,’ as Gladstone inimitably put it at the time, ‘the Queen is invisible and the Prince of Wales is not respected.’ A foretaste of our problem had come with his father. Prince Albert was a man of stronger views if anything than the present Prince of Wales. In her recent biography Bertie: A Life of Edward VII, Jane Ridley suggests that Albert’s early death in 1861 might have been for the best, since a Prince Consort with such committed opinions would have fitted awkwardly into the emerging British democracy.

Instead, Albert’s son accepted his modest role. He had regained his popularity by grave illness and recovery from the brink of death — and then by his sheer amiability and charm, until he would be cheered by great throngs at Epsom when he won the Derby for the third time, and in Paris when his visit there in 1903, charming rich and poor in faultless French, undid years of Anglo-French animosity.

Nothing the Prince of Wales has done suggests that he would play that part. And in any case, does he really want to be king? He spends much of his time alone, or in the company of the very likeable second wife with whom he seems to have found the personal contentment that had eluded him. It’s hard to believe that she, in her 69th year, looks forward to gruelling royal duties, or the obloquy which her husband would be likely to incur.

When a Prince of Wales last inherited the throne 80 years ago, he occupied it for less than a year. ‘The Yorks will do it very well,’ Queen Mary said after the abdication in December 1936, and so they did. When the Duke of York was crowned King George VI the following May, Winston Churchill, who had almost wrecked his career over his support for Edward VIII, told his wife Clementine that he had been wrong: ‘the other one’ would never have done, he said, and so he wouldn’t.

That abdication shook the monarchy badly, but it entirely recovered in 1940. From the crowds cheering the King and Queen on VE Day to the far larger numbers than had been foreseen who paid their respects to the Queen Mother when she died in 2002, some of whom were old enough to remember her during the war, to the Diamond Jubilee four summers ago when we remembered that the Queen served as a mechanic in the ATS and that her husband saw action as a young naval officer, the monarchy has drawn on a stock of affection which is not inexhaustible.

Unlike the Duke of Windsor, our Prince of Wales is a fundamentally decent and serious man, maybe too serious for the role he awaits. He possesses a strong sense of duty. Might not it be best expressed by renouncing the throne in advance? It would pass directly to the Duke of Cambridge, an affable man with an engaging young family, who would carry out his duties humbly, while the Duke of Highgrove (or whatever he might be called) could continue harmlessly to bestow on us whatever views he wanted.

God save the Queen! God bless the Prince of Wales! Long live King William V! He must be the best hope, for his dynasty and for all of us.

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Show comments
  • Roger Hudson

    Aren’t you wrong about the constitution? If Charles renounced the throne in advance that would also disqualify all his heirs as well and we would get the Yorks again, Prince Andrew and Co. OMG!

    • davidshort10

      I think you are right. He would have to accede then abdicate.

      • JabbaPapa

        No, someone can clearly refuse accession.

        • Roger Hudson

          I think that refusal to acced would still discount his ‘issue’, William,George, Charlotte and Henry, where are the constitutional law experts?

          • JabbaPapa

            I think that refusal to acced would still discount his ‘issue’

            Nope.

    • That is too horrific to contemplate.

      I think it is time we abolished the monarchy and evolved some benign form of ceremonial presidency – NO ex-politicians nominated by their pals. We’re in a mess really. Our elected politicians are awful and our royals are just hereditary toffs. I speak no evil of the Queen as an individual, but the idea that people can be in such a position by right of birth is so monstrous as to be against everything that most of the population adhere to. Politicians for decades have been speaking of meritocracy – kingship is in absolute opposition to that. Every arm of the state claims to be committed to equality of opportunity. This monstrosity at the heart of our constitution needs cutting out. Charles is so far from being in any way ‘special’ as to be a ridiculous figure as a head of state. He wouldn’t even get past the first stage of selection of the least wonderful political party in the country. By what inherent merit could he be the head of state? He’s a mumbling duffer – no doubt a pleasant elderly chap, but no more cut out to be a leader than half of the people down my street.

      • StormInaDcup

        The strength of the monarchy lies in the fact that is hereditary thus the succession being automatic and based on birthright and chance. We do not have to go through the process of arguing about who should have the position and don’t need elections. If we did,there would likely be far more discontent provoked in those wh disagreed with the appointment, whomever it may be, than there is presently in the Republican cohort of belief.
        Who would be Head of State? How would we choose her/him? How long would s/he be in post? What would be the cost (financial and political) of having to argue out every reappointment?

        Ill keep the monarchy, thanks.

        • Neil Ashley

          If one wants chance – choose a Monarch at random by lot. See “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” for possible amusing/alarming consequences.

        • scott_east_anglia

          The big advantage of our monarchy is that the head of state seat has a non executive bum on it that keeps politicians out of the way.

          Replacing the toothless monarchy with a political animal as head of state would cause problems because, unlike the monarch, that individual would believe they had a presidential mandate to b*gger about and cause problems.

          It’s far better to stick with the status quo.

      • oldoddjobs

        Politicians running absolutely everything? Politicians as head of state?

        Oh Christ save us

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Yes, Monster, you and your Tory Non-dom’s…

        As you use the Queen as an excuse, Tory, to do nothing about real issues.

        • Sargon the bone crusher

          The nasty hordes of proles have far too much already.

      • Quest for Liberty

        “evolved some benign form of ceremonial presidency”

        Except, this won’t happen. We’ll just get descreet nepotomy and handing out of favours. I’m sure a character with such sway as Blair wouldn’t have had much trouble finding himself in the role of President. Now, ask yourself, is this what you want?

        What of president Osbourne? Or president Mandelson?

        • You may be right, but I will say this; President Osborne, or President Mandelson, or even President Clegg, would be FAR preferable to having the mumbling dolt, King Charles the Third. In spite of his extreme privilege, he managed a couple of low grade A levels and lower second class degree. I dare say ANY of the named putative presidents have about three times the brain power of our next hereditary monarch.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            He is far from an idiot; he does not mumble. Unlike you he is both wise and elegant.

          • How do you know how elegant I am? I might be Lord Fontloroy as far as you know.

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            You construct arguments like a slob; you write like a slob. QED.
            (It is Fauntleroy; thank you for adding cream to the coffee of your culture-light proletarian world for us all to sneer at).

    • Mary Ann

      No thank you. But he doesn’t have to renounce it for his heirs as well. I wonder if William would want the job at the moment.

    • scott_east_anglia

      Wasn’t there some feminist-driven legislation recently over female primogeniture, the only result of which this century was to put Princess Anne ahead of Prince Andrew in the succession unless George’s first born is a girl?

      Or was Princess Anne not included in it?

    • Amy

      No
      Charles kids are grown up.
      Charles can only take him away and o my when he is king.
      Now he has less choice.
      I think

  • JuliaMartinez

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  • ChuckieStane

    William seem a nice enough lad but lacking in any charisma or gravitas.

    If the monarchy is so weak that missing out Charles is required for it to survive then the game is up.

  • James Chilton

    Should he outlive the Queen, I don’t believe that Charles would even consider renouncing the throne. He’s waited too long to sit on it.

    Why should God bless or save any member of the royal family? Haven’t they been adequately compensated by the accidents of history?

    • jeremy Morfey

      I’d rather God blessed our Head of State than cursed it.

    • Mary Ann

      and successful ancestors.

  • DennisHorne

    Thought-provoking and certainly true Queen Elizabeth II is the monarchy, but I don’t see Charles doing any serious harm. Lot to be said for breeding the head of state. Don’t want anyone intelligent and ambitious.

  • flydlbee

    Don’t meddle with the succession – that way Republicanism lies. I am sure that Prince Charles will make an excellent King, wise, benign and kindly, if rather brief. The whole point of monarchy is that the future is to some extent foreseeable, and we can take comfort in the hope that the Kingdom will bumble on in much the same old way into our grandchildren’s day, no matter what the twitterati think.

    • Itinerant

      “wise, benign and kindly”

      Oh yes urging the world to follow Islamic ‘spiritual principles’ in order to protect the environment. Apparently by flying around it in great luxury with assorted flunkeys while also helping the Saudis, those beacons of tolerance and environmentalism, establish a “comprehensive educational outreach programme” to “students of all ages” in the UK.
      Mark Hollingsworth in collaboration with Sandy Mitchell, wrote in his book entitled ‘Saudi Babylon: Torture, Corruption and Cover-Up Inside the House of Saud’
      “according to Special Branch sources” Charles “created serious problems and obstacles to UK agencies investigating claims of Saudi financing of international terrorism”

      Wise? I don’t think so.
      Benign? hardly.
      Kind? a kind of useful idiot.

      • oldoddjobs

        Politicians start wars

        • Itinerant

          What does that have to do with Charles the Useful?

      • scott_east_anglia

        Idiot or not, King Charles’ capacity to cause trouble would close to zero, when compared to a politico arrogating to presidential status.

        Any kind of bumbling but harmless royal on the throne keeps politicians out of that slot – a far more preferable situation.

        • Itinerant

          He’s not harmless though, that’s the problem- he interferes where he shouldn’t and promotes foreign interests, apparently through utter naivety, that have a malignant agenda.
          He wants to be defender of the faiths, apparently unaware, despite his ’12 wise men'(or because of them) that one of these faiths seeks dominion over all others.
          Can you imagine a Saudi Prince accepting a gift from the head of MI5 and building a Christian centre at the heart of one of their main universities, against the wishes of the faculty? (on a green site incidentally, how hypocritical)
          That’s just one example- there are many.

  • thomas_paine2

    HRH The Prince of Wales is heir to the throne ; the writer of this article has no authority to question it.

    • ChuckieStane

      The source of all power is the people. Mr Wheatcroft needs no authority to question the monarchy.

      • ardenjm

        The source of all power is the people?
        Well, kinda.
        Sometimes ‘the people’ are a mob and act with grave injustice. The people are made up of people, that’s to say human beings with flaws. Telling them that ‘power’ has its origin in them, therefore, is dangerously hubristic. (As is locating it in any human source.)
        That error is exacerbated by relativism which has done us no favours by disputing and then denying the objective truth content (no matter how hard it might be to discern and establish – recognising that it is objective is hugely significant) of justice, right, wrong and the good.
        We haven’t believed in that in the UK since at least Hume (though the seeds were sown in British medieval philosophy.)
        But without that over-arching truth (no matter how hard it might be to discern and establish) we tumble into wilful power struggles of various claimants: be they autocratic, oligarchic or the mob. And whilst there’s ‘wisdom in crowds’ and ‘the people’ are less likely to go wrong than a single demagogue, when they do go wrong – well, it’s mayhem.

        So I guess just as Mr Wheatcroft needs no authority to question the monarchy I’m left asking, “Sure, but in the name of what does he question it?” In the name of the people? Of the ‘ruled over’? Fine. But I’d rather he questioned the monarchy in the name of the truth and in the same name questioned ‘the people’ especially when they, in turn, abuse their power. For example, by slicing off the heads of monarchs – or any other unfortunate victim they’ve decided they dislike. The people’s use of power can become just as corrupt as anyone else’s. Arguing that that power has its origin and source in them, therefore, without a concommitant warning that the rightness and wrongness of their exercise of that power does NOT reside in them, is a terrible mistake. It would be a licence for a popular dictatorship in a nightmare world where the people could never be wrong, because they – and only they – have the power to decide what is right or wrong. We’ve seen this enough times in human history to have a practical proof for a return to objective moral truth (and a pox on the Naturalistic Fallacy) even if the speculative demonstration of the mistakes of the Naturalistic Fallacy and the philosophy it emerges from is going to be a long and laborious undoing of most modern philosophy since Descartes.

        Just my two bits.

        • vieuxceps2

          Unless you’re American,I’d prefer your twopenn’orth.

          • ardenjm

            Says the person with the French in their name…

          • vieuxceps2

            It’s Yorkshire dialect……

          • ardenjm

            Well it might be, but it’s come to you from the Normans.

        • Mr. Graves

          Well said, sir.

    • Marlinspike2014

      Wow, you know your place don’t you…? What a horrible little toady you are.

    • vieuxceps2

      “The Rights of Man” by Thomas Paine (2)

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Good grief. Is it 1900?

  • dramocles

    Are you trying to annoy our neighbours to the north Geoffrey? Scotch is a drink (and a very nice one).

    • vieuxceps2

      The reason we call whiskey from Scotland “scotch” is presumably to differentiate it from Irish (a much smoother drink). The word itself was widely used by Burns and Scott and is in any case an English word meaning ” pertaining to Scotland”. Of course, people in Scotland now insist on our adopting their term for themselves, just as Bombay has become Mumbai.That is their right of course, but what will we English do when the French insist on being Francais and the Danish Dansk? Will we travel to Goteborg and Torino next? I suggest we rename ourselves Anglianic and wait to see who adopts the term. Not the Scotch,I’ll wager.

    • jelliedeels

      The jocks annoy us with their damned independence twaddle ,the scotch nats need a good thrashing and if that doesn`t cure them of being ungrateful to the English ,clear them out .

  • Bodkinn

    I would agree that for the sake of the monarchy the prince should step aside but at the same time I am disgusted with myself for having to say it. Let he who is without sin etc. A short look at his website shows the amazing amount of good work he has done and continues to do. It is true to say he is tireless in good works. His one and only fault as far as most are concerned is that he became one of the more than one in three who has had a failed marriage. If anyone should resent this, it is the sons of Diana but their affection for him and his wife are manifest every time they are seen as a group. As pointed out in the article he will be a very old man before the becomes king and might by then prefer a quiet life rather than the turmoil that will surround his succession. People should be reminded that the heir apparent becomes king/queen immediately following the death of his/her predecessor: the coronation is just the icing on the cake. This being the case a decision as to who the heir apparent is needs to be taken before it becomes a problem.

    • BlackArrow

      Well put, Bodkinn.

  • right1_left1

    I am opposed to the monarchy but should we have one then Charlie would do.
    State conferred heriditary privilege is way past its sell by date !
    Whether it is still thought God had a hand I do not know.

    If Charlie offered controversial opinions well that might damage his standing (remember architects and carbuncles ?) thatt would appeal to me.
    If by virtue of his position he tried to change matters of political consequence then that would be a step too far.

    • jeremy Morfey

      Yet that is ultimately the job he was born into. Those nations with the safety net of monarchy are far less likely to descend into tyranny than those who can only rely on populist appeal and the self-promoting arrogance of its democratic leaders. If democracy works, then fine, there is little a monarch should do, other than be a listening ear and a source of advice. If democracy fails though (and we only need to look at the choice of presidential candidates on offer to Americans right now, where the only honourable one is a Socialist and therefore automatically unelectable), we have this backstop to whom the military owe their allegiance.

      If you don’t want Charles to change matters of political consequence, for goodness sake come up with a Government that doesn’t warrant it.

      • right1_left1

        quote:
        If you don’t want Charles to change matters of political consequence,
        for goodness sake come up with a Government that doesn’t warrant it.
        endquote

        The problem with your POV is that always significant blocs of opinion will oppose any major political movement whether of the left or right ..
        There is no form of government that can prevent this therefore your response is calling for the impossible.

        Authoritarians may well kill the opposition
        Others may try to persuade but usually ignore or frame what they intend in such unrevealing ways that the opposition feels mollified.

        Democracy is a chimera.
        It can be considered but cannot possibly exist.

  • #toryscum

    Sod the monarchy. Viva la republic.

  • jeremy Morfey

    Others here have put the case well for Charles to take on the role of King should he outlive his mother.

    I do think the monarchy must face quite different circumstances in this century as it did in the last or the one before. Questions must be asked about the competence, not of the monarch, but of our Parliamentary leaders. We may well end up, in 2020, with nobody standing fit to take on the mantle of office. So what do we do then?

    I wouldn’t change one iota of Charles’s character. By destiny, with his forthright but most benign views on the state of the world, his extraordinary devotion to duty that must be said exceeds that of his personable son and heir, and his extended apprenticeship in the job and a possible spell as co-regent as the Queen enters advanced old age, he may well turn out to be the finest king we could wish for the time.

    He will be elderly himself, and may well choose to abdicate after just a few years in the Dutch model. The memories of 1936 mean much less to the royals born long after Edward’s abdication than they do to those who have childhood memories of it.

  • Andrew Finn

    I’d rather have an absolute monarchy. Would Charles make a good dictator? Who knows…

    • Mary Ann

      I suspect he would be more benevolent than the present government.

  • Sigfridiii

    HM The Queen has done an outstanding job. But when she is gone, the usual “Diversity & Equality” rules beloved of the EU and Blair Cameron will kick in. “We can’t allow a white man to be an unelected Head of State – let alone have a coronation in a church”. As we actually don’t need a monarchy any longer to lead us into battle, or to preside in the courts of justice, or to issue legislation, why not do the sensible thing and ask the Privy Council not to elect a successor to Elizabeth II, when the time comes? We will very quickly learn to manage without a king.

  • outlawState

    The longer the “monarch” stays in situ, the more it is realized that the role is only one of soubrette to the government, or unelected minister for State propaganda.

    Any true “monarchy” was long dead and buried by the end of the 19th century. Get over it.

  • Freddythreepwood

    He’s right about the architecture.

    • CockneyblokefromReading

      He isn’t ‘right’ – it’s just an opinion. You can’t be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about it! Jeez!

      • Freddythreepwood

        OK. In my opinion he’s right in his opinion. Happy?

      • Ed  

        Incorrect. There is an objective rule about architecture – if I could have drawn it, it doesn’t count as architecture. And God knows, I could have drawn the Gherkin, or that horrible pyramid ruining the Louvre.

        • JabbaPapa

          The pyramid takes a little getting used to, but it actually does work (especially since they cleaned up the façade of the Louvres proper, and redesigned the esplanade leading towards the garden).

          It did look a bit dodgy in the midst of the grimy old stone that characterised the Louvres previously, and next to a garden access designed for a completely different esplanade.

          • Ed  

            “The pyramid works”. No. No, it bloody doesn’t. Tear it out.

          • JabbaPapa

            Have you ever lived in its vicinity ?

          • Ed  

            I’ve seen it, and that’s quite enough. Tear the horror out. Put the place back the way God intended. It’s a crime against art.

          • JabbaPapa

            Put the place back the way God intended

            You mean turn it back into riverbank marshland ?

          • Ed  

            Sigh. Obviously not. Tear out the cr@p pyramid, and leave the beautiful building.

  • Dean

    I’d like to point towards H.R.H’s treatment of someone who opposed his views on alternative medicine;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edzard_Ernst#Early_retirement_from_Exeter

    • Marian Hunter

      I remember how vicious his campaign against Ernst was, but really can we look at Chaz and not chortle at his judgments?

  • BlackArrow

    Sadly, I must agree with Wheatcroft. I believe Charles is basically a very decent person who was easily and badly misled. There are grave questions yet to be asked, and the answers would most probably shake the very foundation of Britain’s national institutions, if he became King.

    I do like how Charles raises issues which should be raised and otherwise aren’t, even if he’s a little off the mark sometimes. His concern about the environment and Britain maintaining its cultural heritage is exemplary. As King, he would soon get into terminal trouble for speaking out, as he should. (On the other hand, wrongfully and viciously calling Putin “Hitler” – like neocon Hillary did – which Putin is not and after how terribly Putin’s family suffered during the Siege of Leningrad – is recklessly dangerous to the point of being a war provocation.)

    And there is no question who would be William’s closest adviser.

    Now if we can just pry William out of that … blessed … wingless aircraft and get his feet firmly and safely back on the ground, ….

    Lou Coatney

    Oh, and yes I am an American and very much *do* have a stake in Britain … getting back on track.

  • Kevin Joslin

    William would be my choice too. Quite apart from the fact that he actually possesses the common-touch – not something Charles has ever managed, the man lacks charm and has none of the Queen’s admirable restraint and bearing. Had the law on succession changed sooner, Anne would have also been a fine choice.

    • MC

      Common touch? I presume you’re being sarcastic

    • Callipygian

      I’ve seen Charles be charming. His boys are (obviously) younger men, and less well known. That’s it, really.

    • Primotivo Primotivo

      Why do you want a monarch with the common touch? Surely the whole idea is that they are different to you, better than you? Thats the point of a monarchy, an institution for the people to look up to, not relate to. If you want the common touch, get Russel Brand to be your head of state.

  • Tamerlane

    Trouble is Geoffrey the Royal’s don’t watch reality TV, they’re not in it for the popularity stakes, the point is the continuity… the King is dead, long live the King.

    Charles will do just fine on the throne and no one will remember what all your fuss was about.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Except the Mountbatten-Windsor’s only claim to our throne is the Discriminatory 1701 Act of Settlement which specifically excludes Catholics. This legislation has no place in a modern fair society and there are 54 people in Europe with a better claim to the throne than this dysfunctional bunch.
      The Crown can survive without Liz and her brood.

      • Tamerlane

        Yeah, that’ll swing it.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Was that supposed to be a reply or an exhibition of glib evasiveness?

      • Uncle Brian

        there are 54 people in Europe with a better claim to the throne than this dysfunctional bunch.

        What utter drivel. Of course there aren’t.

        Even if the anti-Catholic legislation were to be repealed tomorrow, it wouldn’t have a retroactive effect. It wouldn’t alter the fact that Elizabeth is the legitimate reigning monarch now.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          No it wouldn’t. The House of Wittelsbach in Bavaria are direct descendants of the Stuarts. Lizzy is just drafted in from a junior birthline. No rightful claim.

          • Tamerlane

            I think you should mount a legal challenge.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            I think I might.

          • JabbaPapa

            Irrelevant — once a Monarch has been accepted and acclaimed by the Lords, it’s game over, barring revolution or civil war.

            Whatever claim the Wittelsbach ancestors may have had is gone, and could realistically only be regained through marriage into the present Royal Family.

          • jeremy Morfey

            Prince George is an eligible bachelor, and it would only need an Act of Parliament to reduce the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 4 to bring it about. Alternatively, once polygamy is allowed, a Wittelsbach could marry the Queen, or even Prince Charles, and bag the throne early.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Blood and genes old chap. The authority of the the House of Lords does not Trump blood.

          • JabbaPapa

            The authority of the the House of Lords does not Trump blood

            The entirety of the English wars of accession demonstrates the opposite. Crikey, simply consult Shakespeare.

      • jeremy Morfey

        The Jacobean line became somewhat surreal when the King of Naples and a French cardinal both had claims to the throne. I think the current Jacobean successor is a Bavarian prince, so we cannot escape the Germans that way. History set the precedent whereby Act of Parliament could vary the succession. It could today, so we could still get lumbered with Gideon claiming, after due nobbling of Parliament, the right to be crowned George VII. I think he knows he has more power as Chancellor than as King. Some countries, even the Americans and the French, make a fair fist of running a country without a king, but none can do it for long without money.

        As with the changing Chinese dynasties, royal succession has had several dubious lurches in the past. William the Conqueror’s claim was over a promise made to him by Edward the Confessor. Edward IV’s legitimacy has long been challenged. Henry VII was descended from a Welsh peasant who happened to have married Henry V’s French widow. Like William, he won the crown in battle. The Stuarts came about because the Tudor line died out, and James’s mother had a legitimate claim to the English crown. If the British did not recognise the female right to succeed, then it would not have been Victoria, but the Duke of Cumberland that would have claimed the throne, and a completely different set of Hanoverians.

        If the Act of Settlement had happened today, it would not be Catholics that would be excluded, but Muslims.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Like I guessed. Your grasp of history is thin. Jacobean refers to the reign of James I. 1603 to 1625. You mean Jacobite.
          The “French Cardinal” you refer to was the Anglo-Italian brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie , Henry IX to Jacobites. A Cardinal in Rome.
          You can bet if the Act of Settlement excluded Muslims it would be repealed.

          • Tamerlane

            Information. No knowledge. As per.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            I wrote my University dissertation on the Jacobite rebellions. This information is yet again knowledge. Much as it irks you.

          • Tamerlane

            No, that’s information. Still don’t get it do you? Must have been a red brick Uni.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            But I do. Knowledge is information acquired through experience or education. This is information I acquired during my education. I know this stuff. I do not need to wikipedia it like you do. So from my mouth it is knowledge. Something you ought to knuckle down and acquire as opposed to mere sniping at those you fear as cleverer than you.

          • Tamerlane

            Like I said. You don’t get it, had you any knowledge you would know that. Red brick for sure. Probs Northern, tends to be.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            I’m sure you’ll explain what it is I am not getting. Rather than just allege it. Did I miss something about Jacobitism?

  • jelliedeels

    Charles should be crowned Henry IX ,just to annoy the Scotch .

    • MC

      I don’t mind offending the Scots but you leave my scotch alone ya buger.

    • Ron Todd

      As a Scot I don’t give a tinkers cuss what he calls himself. I did have a suspicion he might go for Louis ( from Louis Battenberg not any of the French lot)

      Scotch is rather an old fashioned usage but not likely to offend anybody.

    • ChuckieStane

      Charles should be crowned James VIII (following Churchill’s decision to henceforth follow the higher regnal number of the two Kingdoms). just to annoy folk who like to do thing just to annoy others.

    • jeremy Morfey

      Following on from the Earl of Wessex to choose his title from a legendary fictional character, Charles is legally entitled, should he wish, to become King Arthur upon his succession.

  • MC

    Rather than skip a generation, just skip the whole thing. UK must move on: end of religious dogma in schools, end of royal privilege, end of mindless indoctrination, end of corrupt politics, end of police harashment of free speech…

  • Augustus

    This article has a silly headline. Prince Charles has actually been a deputy monarch for some time, and no doubt will increase such roles as The Queen ages further, especially if she loses Prince Philip. No doubt if The Queen is spared to live to 100, the Prince will be as relaxed with his own old age as he will be celebrating Her Majesty’s.

  • bugshead

    His son William appears to be an imbecile who would succeed only to accelerate the move towards republicanism, we are probably safer sticking with Charles. It’s not a great choice.

    • MC

      If you’re a republican, you’d support willy going by your argument

  • Jack

    Unlike most members of the royal family, Charles has a modicum of intelligence, wit, learning, and a commitment to preserving the environment. All things considered, he would make an admirable monarch. His sons are illiterate oafs.

    • MC

      Illiterates are the current vogue. Don’t you watch programmes with Joey Essex in?

      • Jack

        Afraid not. I tend to avoid TV. Sorry.

        • MC

          Pants on fire?

          • Callipygian

            With the Internet, who needs television? Not everyone is limited by your limitations, mate.

          • MC

            who said anything about TV? That’s so 1990s.

          • Callipygian

            What was the ‘pants on fire’ comment in reference to then? Jack said he avoids TV. Boy you Brits back home do hit the sauce early….

    • CockneyblokefromReading

      Jack, intelligence is the ability to apply rationale and logic. Every time he opens his mouth he shows he lacks either. Anyone who chooses which parts of science to believe or disbelieve should be strapped in at nights and only allowed crayons.

    • jeremy Morfey

      While I agree with you wholeheartedly about Charles, I beg to differ over William and Harry.

      While Charles has a similar personality to Prince Albert – earnest, sincere, anxious and most concerned about improving the world, athough somewhat less strict about it and luck in love came late for Charles, I feel that Harry resembles most King Edward VII but perhaps without quite as much an appetite for food and women, and William resembles George V, rather dim, but sound militarily and very much a man of the people. Both failed to live up to the high standards, intellectual and personal, of Prince Albert, but both turned out to be perfectly adequate kings.

      Apart from the Yorks, who are thankfully far enough away from the succession now, I am most concerned about young Prince George, who is turning out to be a bit of a handful, but how far can we judge the character of a 3-year-old?

    • Lawrence James.

      Oh dear ! They’ll have problems signing the assent to Parliamentary acts. The two princes seem admirable fellows with a degree of Hanoverian spirit.

  • Marian Hunter

    This man aspires to be a tampon. I think he is over – reaching himself.
    Apart from that the laws surrounding his marriage to CPB were trampled on to the extent it ended up in a hole in the wall courtroom, and placed under the official secrets till God knows when. We are stuck with him though, as its not a popularity or talent contest. He is the heir.

    • Sanctimony

      That’s an insult to tampons…

  • John P Hughes

    Another solution not discussed by Geoffrey Wheatcroft is for Charles to take the throne but stand aside to make way for William after a reasonable interval. However if Charles were to set 75 as his retirement date he might find that HM is still on the throne in 2023. have So allowing William to take the throne becomes the more sensible the longer the Queen lives.
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands became Queen at 42 and abdicated in favour of her son at 75. She said that she was grateful to her mother Queen Juliana that she did not have to take the throne until her sons were into their teenage years; she was able to bring them up before she had to take on the monarch’s duties. Her son was 46 before he became King in 2013 – though his children are younger on his accession than hers were.
    This experience would suggest that William should not become King of the United Kingdom and other realms for another 10-12 years (or more if Kate has more children).

  • DellerboyNZ

    Giving up on on primogeniture and allowing some kind of vox pop approach is suicide. What next – primaries?
    The most sensible comment in this piece is: ‘watching this year as the Americans choose between a ranting boor and an utterly unworthy and untrustworthy woman for their head of state, one can only be grateful for our own system when it works’.
    Do we really want to have $2000 a plate fundraisers for Wills or Harry?

    • Vanya Burbonoff

      NZ men got a point. It’s a freak show down in US right now. Primogeniture is fine but puttin’ HARRY on the throne in cpl of weeks time would be explosive. Female demographics will explode, newspapers will be busy for years and if he got his sence of humor from grandpa Phil he would be the most famous man in the world in no time. He is the only one who’s got the chops in the family right now to be a Star.

      • DellerboyNZ

        I do agree that the success and popularity of the Monarchy now is down to QE2.
        She just seems to get it right and it must be chastening for Barry O to realise that the Queen met Truman, Eisenhower, JFK and all the rest.
        I recall on QE2’s visit to Ireland where there is so much negative history a young girl in the crowd at the airport saw the Queen appear at the aircraft door exclaimed: ‘It’s the Queen. OMG it’s the ACTUAL Queen!’
        You can’t replicate that stuff without good training and longevity.

        • jeremy Morfey

          A few years ago, we put on an Elgar concert for the Queen’s diamond jubilee. We associate Elgar mostly with the reign of Edward VII, and he died long before WW2. I was born nearly a century after he was, and I am now a pensioner.

          The organisers therefore missed entirely the significance of one of the items they put on – the Nursery Suite. It was composed by Elgar for the present Queen.

    • JabbaPapa

      Giving up on on primogeniture and allowing some kind of vox pop approach is suicide. What next – primaries?

      Accession to the Throne is, still, technically subjected to acceptance by the Peers of the Realm. So not exactly “vox pop” …

      Though of course, since the Seats of most Hereditaries have been taken from them and handed to various partisan cronies instead, we couldn’t look to the Lords for a workable alternative either.

      Still, each passing year of Her Majesty’s rule is one less year for Charles, and thankfully his son has a more kingly bearing than he ever will.

      • SunnyD

        totally agree with your last sentence (the rest was far too intelligent for me!) – the first thing that sprang to my mind when reading this article was that all along, I’ve had a feeling that the Queen will outlive Charles (and I agree Will would “look” better, at least as an advert for the UK)

        • JabbaPapa

          Sorry — grew up somewhere with an *actual* ruling Monarch. I do realise that these sorts of technicalities are outside most people’s experience …

          • SunnyD

            where pray tell?

  • CockneyblokefromReading

    Charles will do immense damage to the Royal Family over the years he is king…and I will enjoy it with equal measure. He is quite amazingly foolish, never mind the incredible hypocrisy of the man – using his helicopter to travel from Salisbury to Gloucester, while all the time prattling on about global warming. The fact that he apparently doesn’t own a solitary single-breasted jacket speaks volumes about the decade he and his haircut are stuck in. The Queen has been extremely clever in keeping him out, as she is wise to what he will do. His constant meddling in political matters will come back to haunt him, and I look forward to the day with relish. What was that phrase Father Jack used to shout out in Father Ted? And of course, many of us have been referring to our private parts as their ‘Prince Charles’ for some years.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Drink! Girls! That would be an ecumenical matter.

      • CockneyblokefromReading

        Both of those being wonderfully necessary, and much appreciated. However, the phrase was related to a body part. Since we cannot even write the word that is the opposite of heaven on this forum (the post would be immediately deleted – I kid you not – bizarre doesn’t even come close), then it will have to go unsaid.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          I know. I get called allsorts with no moderation. But try mentioning the land of Beelzebub and the US system intervenes.

          • SunnyD

            I tell the moderators go to h e ll

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            Yes, but can you explain it? I tried emailing the editor, but no reply. When Ed Miliband used the phrase “H e l l (yes I’m tough enough)”, I presume the Spectator reported it. They can use it in a news piece (just look at the Spectator using the word over and over)…
            https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ed+miliband+hell+i+am&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=auwHV8LiDuKa6ATTpKeYBQ#q=ed+miliband+hell+i+am+Spectator

            So why can’t the word be mentioned in the forum? It’s just too bizarre.

          • SunnyD

            bizarre yes, no argument form me on that one…. perhaps they are looking for ways to prevent us form being nasty to one another – i.e. telling someone to go to *you-know-where*

    • Callipygian

      Double-breasted jackets are more elegant than singles. That’s a matter of taste and style that isn’t ‘stuck’ in any particular decade.

      • justejudexultionis

        Double-breasted jackets scream Racing Week at Cowes and a certain kind of privately-educated Little Englander.

        • Callipygian

          Not only English people wear them.

      • CockneyblokefromReading

        I never mentioned double breasted jackets, you did!

        • Callipygian

          Are you drunk? Quote: “he apparently doesn’t own a solitary single-breasted jacket”. Why should he?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            He doesn’t “own” anything. It all belongs to the Crown via the state.

          • Callipygian

            No: the Queen and her family have an independent basis for wealth too, as land, property and business owners (Duchy Originals — though I believe all profits go to charity in that case).

        • JabbaPapa

          Did you mean to imply triple-breasted ones, or nil-breasted instead ?

  • barbican

    Monarchy is a curious phenomenon and ours is, without doubt, the most interesting.
    I watched the ITV show, The Queen at 90 and, bless her, there she was at 9am, fit and ready to go. At 11pm she was off on a train.
    I have no doubt that her son would probably do the same but he lacks charm as did Charles l.
    Charles ll, however, had charm in spades.
    I like a good story so I just want it to keep calm and carry on.

    • Mongo

      When the UK becomes an Islamic republic dear old Charles may end up like his forebear Charles I

      • Rob Kay

        Oh dear, the trolls are coming out from under the bridge again.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          It’s one of Tamerlane’s alter egos. As if his own ego wasn’t big enough.

  • 100

    Id prefer we just stop this nonsense now, retire off the Queen and do away with the pathetic freak show. Its embarrassing.

    • Thomas Katz

      I agree, except that out of respect for the Queen, Who (and I think both for and against agree) has done her best in the job, I would end it after her demise

  • SimonToo

    This is mere waffling at present. Faced with a hypothetical question, the constitutional position is absolutely rigid. Prince Charles would succeed Her Majesty if he outlives her. Should, at some future date, there be an actual question for the constitution to address, it may prove to be flexible. Quite what that question might be would depend on the time and the circumstances prevailing at that particular time.

  • CrystalCrain

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    • Ed  

      Liar.

  • SunnyD

    All along I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that Liz will outlive Charles….

  • Sean L

    One is bound to agree.

  • justejudexultionis

    Better still, why not just abolish the monarchical farce entirely?

    republic.org.uk – the campaign for an elected head of state in the UK

    • AnnS

      RIght and you get a George Bush 2 (couldn’t get a sentence out) or a Richard Nixon……. real stellar image for a country.

      • Thomas Katz

        But you’d only have them for a 5yr? term and no excess baggage like Andrew leaching forever

        • JabbaPapa

          5-year terms = permanent electioneering.

          • Callipygian

            Not really. From what I can see, British PMs are in for a very long time (believe me, two terms of Obama feels like a lifetime) and they don’t seem to give a cuss. Nor do MPs: when was the last time your MP gave a fig for what you thought, responded to your query, or did anything about it?

      • Callipygian

        I loved George Bush and volunteered and voted for him. Richard Nixon was a bit statist but British people should be fully comfortable with that. Both of them were bright men. Are you a Marxist or just a warmed-over Lefty with no education?

      • justejudexultionis

        You cannot remove a bad monarch, except by revolution. A bad president can be removed by free, democratic elections – a far more sensible and civilised method.

        • Callipygian

          Unfortunately, not in time. And because of that toxic turd Trump, we are about to get another bad president… in the form of the First Felon, Hillary Clinton.

        • Lawrence James.

          So they can in the best democracy that money can buy.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          A bad Primeminister can be removed by casting doubt on his dad’s tax arrangements.

  • Rob Kay

    Lets just close the book on this constitutional Disneyworld and opt for a republic. An elected Head of State has to have far more respect than someone who gained their position by a fluke of sinecure.

    • AnnS

      So you would like having the head of state be a fumble-mouthed George Bush?

      • Rob Kay

        Yes, if that is what the people choose.I would sincerely hope that the British electorate isn’t quite so daft, but let them have Boris Johnson if that’s what they want: its a job for a clown anyway.

  • Karl Hemsley

    I am a republican; so is Mr Wheatcroft. The difference between us is that he doesn’t realise it. If you are in favour of an hereditary monarchy then Charles is next in line, and if he’s still alive when his mother dies then he qualifies to do the job. To argue, as Mr Wheatcroft does, that Charles shouldn’t become KIng on the grounds that somebody else would do a better job is to argue against the very nature of the system.

    • Sanctimony

      I do indeed feel that we are lumbered with the pillock… I might just apply for assistant toothpaste squeezer… or has this well-rewarded sinecure already been delegated to the Silver-Stick-in-Waiting… or some other servile sycophantic hanger-on who poses for c…s like Lucian Freud….

    • justejudexultionis

      It is possible to have an elected monarchy, as in Poland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, rather than a system of primogeniture. However, an elected monarchy is a form of democracy really, in the narrow ancient Greek sense of the word ‘democracy’. Primogeniture is absolute feudal nonsense and belongs to the Middle Ages.

  • 3x4_34

    Why not abolish Brits. The filth that mostly constitutes the present day Brit is not worthy of the good mannered, non interfering Monarch nor any of her equally powerless successors. This unlucky family probably has even less desire to inhabit its much derided, microscopically scrutinised position as any of the sneering, low life’s here have inhabiting theirs. There are much bigger fish to fry for the harm they actually do to others than the Windsors. As for Geoffrey Wheatcroft…………….

    • davidofkent

      Unlike you, most Britons are decent people who want to live decent lives.

      • Rob Kay

        Oh I don’t know. Most of them seem to want to either have offshore tax-free funds, marry a footballer, or get onto a virtual reality show.

    • Dr. Heath

      Or we could keep the filthy Brits and appoint Jeremy Kyle, who seems to understand them, as Pizza-Taster-in-Chief.

  • Ivan Ewan

    To all the republicans bursting out of the woodwork:

    Whom do you regard as more politically dangerous and/or corrupt: Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, or President Barack Hussein Obama?

    • AnnS

      George Bush 2 – dumb as a post and couldn’t get a sentence out

      Then there was Warren Harding – his cronies stole anything not nailed down while he nailed his mistress in the broom closet.

      Or maybe Richard Nixon who thought burglaries just spiffy to beat political opponents.

      Reagan went off violating the law and selling arms to terrorists.

      Obama isn’t corrupt – just politically inexperienced and goes with whichever pressure group screams the loudest.

      I’ll trade ANY of the past 10 or 11 US Presidents for 1 Charles. They were out to get what they could for their own power and position – he means well and has nothing to gain in terms of money or position.

      • gelert

        Heath lied and lied to the British people about that joining the EU would mean – as did Wilson before the referendum.

        Blair – need I say more ?

        Dhimmi Dave – another spiv who wouldn’t know the truth if it were staring him in the face.

        A British PM has more power than an American President and doesn’t have the Congress to keep him in check. There’s also the Supreme Court to have the final say.

      • Lawrence James.

        Yes and lets add the silent Coolidge and the non-entities who loafed in the White House. Jefferson, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts are exceptions to a rule of mediocrity and self-promotion.

    • john

      Idiot!

      • Ivan Ewan

        I win. 🙂

    • Har Davids

      The Queen is a very expensive figure-head, that’s all. It’s David Cameron, friend of Saudi Arabia and tax-dodger, you should be referring to.

      • SimonToo

        Do you seriously think that presidents come any cheaper?

  • davidofkent

    I believe Prince Charles stated that he will wish to reign as King George VII. Whether the Monarchy should be saved is a moot point. Life in Britain has changed so much that I cannot think that the Monarchy will be relevant in another ten years or so. Missing a generation and crowning Prince William as King would probably do nothing for the status of the Monarchy. In any case, we have more important things to worry about, not the least of which is how to make our political system work for all legitimate citizens rather than just the elite and the free-loaders.

    • JabbaPapa

      Well why don’t you try being disenfranchised of all voting rights for a change …

      • davidofkent

        ¿Qué?

    • Father Todd Unctious

      I have yet to meet a person under 25 who has a clue who Prince Charles , or Prince William are. Or anyone under 30 who gives a fig if we have a King, a Queen or for that matter a Pharoah.

      • anonuk

        How about an Emir or a Caliph? That would be fun…

      • Lawrence James.

        What a narrow social circle you have: widen it and you’ll be amazed how many people know about the royal family.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Under 25s? I’d say fewer than 10%.

  • disqus_HhnCjB1gaw

    i am in the US and i have a question for those commenting here. if you think it would be an advantage to dismiss the royal family, think again. consider the possible election of donald trump, aka The Donald. he has managed to con so many people in this country it’s terrifying. his statements about war heroes, women, the handicapped, immigrants, muslims, the Great Wall he imagines will solve all our problems. voters looking for a quick fix on multiple issues love The Donald. haters, bigots, intellectually deprived people of every stripe love him. and those who are cautious about him love the equally bigoted and cretinous ted cruz. they both have clever sound bites. fox news (thank you rupert murdoch) loves them both. all of you should get down on your knees and thank God you have something to look up to and admire. what’s wrong with them? certainly better than the examples of leadership we have here. be grateful. as i am for hillary clinton. she’s got some problems BUT consider the alternative.

    • Biggles_flies_undone

      Interesting how everyone with a different opinion to you is a hater, and yet you support the Clinton women, rather discredits your view.

    • JabbaPapa

      No.

      cheers …

    • Sanctimony

      Are your random and rambling scriblings an example of the basic standards of an education in the US of A… a complete lack of syntax or grammar… with little empathy for punctuation or paragraphing…

      Even Donald Trump merits capitals… if not the Capitol…..

      • anonuk

        I’m liking the name, it suits you.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Do you only like it right this minute , or have you liked it for some time and expect to like it long term?

          • anonuk

            Sanctimony will always be sanctimonious.

            Why did you not want to be Fr Luke Duke or Fr Spodo Kommodo, though?

        • Sanctimony

          Thank you… it was a toss-up between that or Facetious…

          • anonuk

            Well, look on the bright side, at least you can spell.

    • steddyneddy

      You have very poor judgement. Hilary Clinton is a monster.

  • 100
    • disqus_HhnCjB1gaw

      ah yes! the sun! another rag posing as “news”! i’m afraid i cannot be grateful for the influence Mr Murdoch has had in my country. unfortunately Mr Murdoch appeals to the very people who vote for The Donald. as i said before, haters, bigots, unfortunates who really believe Beavis and/or Butthead can resolve every issue we face. Beavis has no foreign policy he is able to articulate. it wouldn’t surprise me if he went to germany and called angela merkel “fat”, yes, virginia, he is that crude. all he can say is “make america great”, doesn’t tell us how of course, only that he will do it. and cruz’s father, who passes himself off as a pastor, was one of the founders of the John Birch Society. look that up if you don’t know what that is, i couldn’t think of a better reason Not to vote for Beavis. and Fox “news”? it’s the National Enquirer come to life, populated by women dressed up like hookers and slimy men salivating over them

  • RationalSpeculation

    Given how disinterested William usually looks, perhaps the generation to be skipped should be his? Or perhaps, like his grandmother’s uncle, he could renounce the throne for his line and let Harry take over. Either way, he could go back to doing whatever it is he actually does.

    • gelert

      Harry Hewitt ?

    • disqus_HhnCjB1gaw

      oh, save the monarchy, but hand it down to a little kid? harry is not next in line anymore or hadn’t you heard william has kids? dolt

    • justejudexultionis

      You mean ‘uninterested’, not ‘disinterested’ – two of the most frequently confused words in the English language.

      • MartinWW

        I would say disinterested is the correct word, according to what appears to be William’s stance. However, who is really to say? We have only very imperfect knowledge, principally gained from ‘telly’ exposure and photo ops!

  • PaulC

    “Of course no institution, including monarchy, whether absolute or constitutional, can depend purely on the personal qualities of the inheritor, good or bad.”

    Of course this is the important point, worth more than one sentence! Hereditary roles cannot be subject to some sort of popularity poll. The great value of the monarchy is its independence from partisan politics. Prince Charles may not make a great king but remember the reputation Edward VII had before he acceded to the throne. Anyone for president Tony Blair? (Or name your favourite.)

    • john

      The monarchy is totally politically motivated and its primary goal is ensuring its own existence. It supports traditional Tory positions – no Scottish independence, Brexit, support for the Commonwealth, handing out to gongs toTory bigwigs etc. Charles is constantly interfering in Governmental business. Case closed.

      • JabbaPapa

        The monarchy is totally politically motivated

        Given that it is the heart a political system, this will surprise not very many folk.

        • john

          I agree but you realise you are speaking heresy.

      • Lawrence James.

        So did the Prince Regent, Queen Victoria and Albert, but they were ignored by the likes of Wellington and Palmerston and rightly so.

    • JabbaPapa

      A Monarch is in fact legally distinct from the individual holding that title. A ruler and an individual are only one and the same, legally, in a Tyranny.

      HM Elizabeth II is subjected to her own decrees and decisions as the Monarch, as enacted by the Parliament, within the bounds of her constitutionally limited veto powers (which in most cases basically amount to returning a Bill to the Government unsigned, for further consideration).

      In the UK’s unwritten Constitution, the Monarch is the King or Queen plus the Government, the Lords, and the Commons acting in accord to establish and guarantee the Law, with the assistance and caution of the Judiciary.

      • Lawrence James.

        Since 1399 the succession has been subject to the consent of the Lords and Commons, an excellent arrangement.

        • uglyfatbloke

          Strictly speaking, the monarchy of he United Kingdom is protected by the will of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Every time a new one inherits the GA passes an Act to allow the continuation of the experiment of kingship. Naturally if one day the GA decided not to do so that would have no effect whatsoever on the situation in England; there would still be a King or Queen of England (and Wales/NI) but not of the UK.
          There again, I’m not sure how many people understand the distinction between ‘UK’ and ‘England’.

  • john

    Better still, don’t save it and finally give this country a constitution worthy of the 20th century (21st will have to wait).
    The monarchy is a deep embarrassment to a mature country and should be thrown down memory hole asap.

    • Lawrence James.

      A constitution that could place the likes of Trump or Hollande in the presidential palace, or any of the of leaders of the world’s flyblown kleptocracies.

      • john

        Any of these people would need to be elected by the general population. The gruesome Charles (and lovely Camilla) will ascend by virtue of nothing at all.

        • Lawrence James.

          You have a naive faith in the collective wisdom of voters who can be easily misled as they were in Germany between 1929 and 1933. Elections may be the best way of choosing governments, but they are not infallible when it comes to choosing heads of state.

          • john

            So you’re a big fan of dictatorships and hereditary power? It’s taken hundreds of years to get here but democratic election is by far the best method of choosing political leadership. Nothing beats the “collective wisdom” of voters!
            PS I note you go all the way to 1933 for your example. Even then, Hitler did not get majority of the popular vote and coerced the Head of State to concede his position.

          • Lawrence James.

            He received popular mandates subsequently.

          • Callipygian

            So did Saddam Hussein, cough. What a dictator secures must not be trusted, never mind respected.

          • Callipygian

            I don’t quite share your confidence. Look at the number of people voting for Trump. My party may have to overrule them at the Convention, to get a nominee that most of us can actually get behind (I’m supporting Cruz).

          • Father Todd Unctious

            This could be the biggest Cruz disaster since the Lusitania.

          • Callipygian

            Are you being amusing, FaTun?

          • steddyneddy

            Blair?

  • john

    it will be a very happy occasion
    Who to? Journalists and media wallahs, sycophants, little girls? Not many others.

    • justejudexultionis

      To a certain kind of reactionary, head-in-the-sand kind of Spectator reader.

  • Sargon the bone crusher

    Britain, a very mean and nasty place indeed, is very fortunate to have Charles as its future king.

    • justejudexultionis

      You do irony very well.

    • john

      Sargon the bone crusher – Britain, a very mean and nasty place indeed
      Your monica does not strike a more positive tone.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        there is little to say about Britain that is in any way ‘positive’. My moniker is vigorous and no-nonsense. Quite right too.
        Charles is a great prince, and the inadequate modern Britunculi are very fortunate to have him for a future king.

        • john

          What has he contributed over the past 60 pampered years?

          • Bruce Lewis

            Extraordinarily advanced ideas regarding protecting the environment, and a sense of social and economic justice that very few others of the aristocracy in Britain have. He is a “wet Tory,” which is a much more advanced kind of “conservative” than the unreconstructed Thatcherites who dominate the Conservative Party nowadays. He’s more like Edward Heath than David Cameron.

          • john

            “Extraordinarily advanced ideas regarding protecting the environment, and a sense of social and economic justice that very few others of the aristocracy in Britain have.”

            God, talk about damning with faint praise!

          • Sargon the bone crusher

            Awareness of issues most people are incapable of anticipating or understanding.

          • john

            Another feeble justification. You have nothing to offer.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Well he married that woman ,who died in the Paris car crash and proved to the World that the British were a mawkish weepy lot, much like scousers…..the stiff upper lip went flaccid decades ago.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Diana could bring down the monarchy from the grave.

    • steddyneddy

      Anna Anderson, who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia.
      once told a visiting Journalist.

      “This I know from Father Gregory,” (Rasputin) “It was he who told that
      when a Battenberg becomes king of England, all is at the end.

      Many, including members of the royal court, cousins included, believed that she was indeed Anastasia, and despite the blood test, I still do. Just one very hard to explain example was that in the court case held in Germany (in the Fifties?) to try and prove her Identity Anna Anderson and Anastasia were both found to have had exactly the same shaped ears.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Britain, a nation of bullies.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        No; far from it. Rather a nation of people afflicted by the Stockholm syndrome; and a ruling elite of stupefying cynicism and incompetence.

  • congreve

    Being a Coburg-Saxe-Gotha princeling is to hoe a lonely furrow these days. Now that the Mad Sultan with his thousand-room palace and War on Europe has de facto restored the Ottomans it is high time that the Romanovs, Hohenzollerns, Bourbons and Hapsburgs were given another crack at it.

    Could not be worse than the present ruling shower (VV Putin excepted). Might be better.

  • Har Davids

    I can understand the effort to save a certain kind of animal, but why bother saving a monarchy? They’re just like the rest of us, but are pampered and fawned 24/7. Monarchs used to be special people, marrying only other nobility, but now they can marry anybody and that person becomes incorporated in the clan and blue-blooded and we still bend over backwards for them.

    Monarchs are as useless as the mascot of a football-club, fun for kids, but only more expensive.

    • johnhenry

      Even the cortically challenged know that the British monarchy is good for business and gives good value for money – if that’s all you’re interested in.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    God save the Queen. Save us (make that you) from Prince Chuck.

    • Crprod

      When our sons were in their teens, they made snide comments about the Chuckster.

      • johnhenry

        Quite. Jacksmiley is a 40+ year old adolescent.

      • Sanctimony

        ‘Chuck’ inherits his genes from his Uncle Ed …. he who married a Shanghai prostitute… whose particular skill was the Singapore Grip a technique used for coping with s€xual inadequates…

  • johnhenry

    Any hereditary monarch constrained by constitutional rules is preferable to an elected or appointed ceremonial head of state. No elected éminence grise would command the loyalty – let alone affection – of the nation in times of crisis, nor even in times of celebration, at least not when speaking of a nation as steeped in tradition as England.

    • john

      Sycophantic drivel. Virtually every developed country on earth has an elected HofS and they have none of these problems. Why should the average British punter have any particular affinity for the pampered, privileged and pointless Windsors?

      • johnhenry

        Okay big boy: without resorting to your choo-choo train search engine, name three elected or appointed ceremonial, apolitical heads of state that you respect and that “have none of these problems”. The chinless wonders who represent Fair Albion are equal in stature to any republican upstarts that you care to name, assuming you can name any, which I doubt.

        • john

          No Head of State should be apolitical. They should be successful individuals who can be held responsible for political actions and policies. we don’t need figureheads or professional hand wavers..

      • alexandre1

        You don’t consider Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium or Spain to be developed countries?

        • john

          I said “virtually” Those countries are outliers – like Britain.

        • Sunset66

          Do these other monarchies treat their monarchy in the sycophantic way the media do in the UK ?
          The frugal queen and Kate wore the same dress twice and everybody loves them.
          The last generation of royals Andrew Edward Fergie Charles were an embarrassment.
          Whatever happened to Edward and his rather useful theatre company ?
          All those politicians desperate for their ruritarian titles and their retirement part time job in the House of Lords

          The UK if it is to survive needs root and branch reform
          It is laughable that journalists with a first from Oxford write sycophantic drivel about the royals

          Other countries may have a royal family but not on the scale of the UK and not with cringe worthy coverage the UK royals receive

    • scott_east_anglia

      Agreed. While there is a harmless bum on the head of state seat it keeps politicians away from arrogating themselves to presidency status, and causing mischief.

      • rtj1211

        They don’t need to be a President to cause mischief. Blair caused enormous mischief, as has Cameron.

    • Sgtsnuffy

      IT USED TO BE STEEPED IN TRADITION, BUT NOW ???? NOT SO MUCH . YOUR HISTORY HAS BEEN TRAMPLED INTO THE DIRT BY THE MULTI CULTURALIST AND IMMIGRATION FANATICS . GREAT BRITAIN IS ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING JUST ANOTHER PROVINCE OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE WHICH IT ONCE DEFEATED .

      • fitzfitz

        Remember Vienna, 1683…

  • OmnipotentWizard

    Exactly the same was said about Edward VII and yet he became a very good monarch.

    • Marian Hunter

      Better whisper that comment in case the Scots hear. Edward2 wasn’t a very good monarch for them.

      • OmnipotentWizard

        Marian – I suspect your knowledge of roman numerals has let you down here. Edward VII is Edward7 (son of Vicky and Bert). He was a fat womaniser and party animal. People said he would make a terrible King but he turned out to be rather good in his short reign.

        Edward II is Edward2 and he was weak and paid the price.

        Read Stephen Clarke’s excellent book “1000 Years of Annoying the French” for a view of both Edwards.

        • Marian Hunter

          Hi Omnipotent Wizard I do beg your pardon most awfully. I misread your post and blush with shame. I understood it to be Edward II not Edward VII. The only excuse I can give is that the dog ate my homework. I do know my Roman numerals but in the haste I made my mistaken response, I wrote Edward2. I truly am sorry.

  • Sgtsnuffy

    YOU GUYS NEED TO BRING BACK THE OLD BRITISH KINGS AND QUEENS . YOU KNOW THE ONES THAT WON’T TAKE CRAP FROM ANYBODY TO INCLUDE YOUR MUZZY FRIENDS !!!!! MAYBE A RICHARD THE LION HEART OR TWO !!!!!

  • nae a belger

    The 1936 act of abdication (the only law currently re abdication in the UK constitution) required the Duke of Windsor to renounce the throne for himself, his heirs and successors.
    If the current protocol is followed we wouldn’t have William and Waity. No George, Charlotte or Harry. Instead the next in line would be Andrew, the toe-suckers kids and any sprogs they provide.
    I am not sure the public would wear that.

  • Dynamo11

    It’s simple, on accessions Charles III declares William the Prince Regent. William becomes King in all but name

    • Marian Hunter

      OMG then we get stuck with the not too bright Willy. whose current combover is a reminder of what voting in a president could mean for us. Either way its not pretty.

  • rjbh

    we should elect a King..

  • Pete

    Terrible idea. Kind of defeats the point of a monarchy.

  • Jack Rocks

    I think when Charles becomes King I’ll become a Republican.

  • Terence Hale

    “To save the British monarchy, skip the Prince of Wales”. From a constructional point this is difficult. In the old days we could cut the head off. The stumbling point is Prince Charles wife who wants to be queen or King depending how you look at things.

  • AlexanderGalt

    Prince Charles: proof positive that genes trump environment when it comes to intelligence.

  • GlobalBeagle

    The downside of having a Head of State who is neither elected nor appointed, but who stumbles into the role by accident of birth – is that we the people do not get a choice.
    The monarch is a powerful role altho’ the present Queen has wisely decided not to exercise its power or influence or if she has, its very subtle indeed.
    Charles – understandably champing at the bit after so long being out to pasture – seems to view it as a chance to get things done that he thinks ought to be done. And, in reality, his tenure is likely to be limited given the apparent longevity and sprightliness of his mother.
    So monarchists – you just got to accept that the choice of your ruler is not in your hands and if you want your Head of State to be selected in this way, you take the good with the bad.

  • Jack Cade

    There’s nothing wrong with Charles, except that current medicine means he has had to wait far too long. Vive le Roi when the times — and belt up Mr W and others.

  • Amy

    William is not ready.
    Charles is.

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