After Queen Elizabeth II, it’s a long line of kings. Will that matter?

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It’s ruling men! Hallelujah?

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Whether you like it or not, this scepter island forecast for the next 75 years.

As Britain mourns Queen Elizabeth II and begins the era of King Charles III, a relatively overlooked fact is that, barring an accident or revolution, the United Kingdom has a man instead of a woman in the 21st century on the throne. Sure to happen, maybe even at 22.


It’s a switch at the top whose effect can go beyond the novel vision of a royal 5 o’clock shadow. Britons now mourning the loss of a woman, described by many as the nation’s grandmother, may find themselves adjusting their expectations of how their monarch should behave or gender roles. You should revise your thoughts.


Elizabeth – or as Charles calls her “Darling Mama” – ruled Britannia for 70 years, longer than any of her predecessors and, in all likelihood, that of any of her successors. Most of the people in this country have not known any other sovereign, nor have said anything other than “God save the Queen”, during the ceremonial toasts and singing of the national anthem, nor on stamps and currency pictures of anyone else. Saw.

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But now they have Charles, and then the next two heirs to the throne are also men: their eldest son, William, and William’s eldest child, George. (If they kept their given names as their “political” names, the younger two would eventually become William V and George VII.)

“Unless something dramatic happens, like someone sacrifices”—which last happened in 1936—”or something tragic happens, we’re going to have a series of kings for decades to come,” historian Catherine Pepinster recently said the author of a book. on the monarchy.

In fact, if 9-year-old George lives as long as his great-great-grandmother, who died at the age of 96, Britain will have a king by 2109 – and beyond that, if her first child of her own is a boy.

Charles, 73, became Britain’s oldest-new monarch after serving the longest apprenticeship in history. Given the longevity of his mother and his grandmother, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who lived to be 101 years old, he is estimated to have a few decades ahead of him as king.

For obvious reasons, Charles cannot present the feminine glamor that many associate with Elizabeth, especially during the early years of her reign. Only 25 when she succeeded her father, King George VI, was a young English rose who embodied the hopes of those trying to recover from the brutal trauma of World War II.

“The country was hoping for a better life, and here came a young woman with a young family,” said retired Hazel Adamson, 89, who lives outside London and lined up for three hours to see George VI’s coffin Remember to stand in 1952. “It was called the very early Elizabethan era because she was young, and maybe we thought it was a new beginning.”

Photographs regularly showed the Queen decked out in jewelry – tiaras, necklaces, rings – that symbolized glory, especially in the midst of post-war rationing.

At the same time, Elizabeth herself had to grapple with gender expectations as she tried to navigate the male-dominated world of much older advisers, courtiers, and politicians. His first prime minister, Winston Churchill, was more than three times his age.

Queen Elizabeth II greets a crowd from her state coach on a drive to the Houses of Parliament in 1952.
(Bateman Archive)

“The order of the day was that the men were in charge and the women were subordinate. It was in that environment that he stepped up … to take his place at the head of this nation and to play a bigger role on the world stage,” Parliament Harriet Herman, a veteran of the US, reminded fellow lawmakers last week in a session dedicated to the Queen’s fond memories. “What determination and courage it would have taken.”

Although Charles will not face the same sordid chauvinism that may still rear its head in British public life – even after a long reigning queen and, this month, the country’s third female prime minister – They may have to contend with a mirror-image challenge. He and his male heirs have inherited a monarchy that, over the past seven decades, has been identified with feminine qualities more conservative to his mother: nurturing, caring, reconciliation.

Fans of the Netflix series “The Crown” and the movie “The Queen” starring Helen Mirren know that Elizabeth didn’t always exhibit those traits. In 1966, after a coal slurry avalanche killed 144 people – most of them school children – in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan, she was criticized for waiting eight days before visiting grieving residents. In 1997, outrage was greeted as his heartless reaction to the death of Princess Diana in the Paris car crash.

But those missteps have been glossed over in the full homage of recent times, often referred to as the Queen in explicitly maternal terms.

“We keep hearing that again and again: Nation’s grandmother, Nation’s grandmother. Gender plays into this narrative,” Pepinster said.

“It has been a trend in recent times to offer comfort to the victims when some terrible tragedy has happened to the monarch and the royal family,” he said. “Although [Charles] Having been someone who has gone into various kinds of calamities, I don’t think kings act in the same way. There’s still a way we think women have that maternal touch and men don’t bring that kind of feeling. ,

By many accounts, however, the new king is a man full of passion for his cause and compassion for others, suited primarily for the role of comforter.

The then Princess Elizabeth with baby Prince Charles
The then Princess Elizabeth with her first son, now King Charles III, at Buckingham Palace in April 1949.
(The Associated Press)

In his few days as monarch so far, he has tried to show a warm and human side, being touched and even kissed by his subjects in such a way that Elizabeth , despite her dazzling smile, not taking herself what she thought was a proper measure of stately isolation. When then-First Lady Michelle Obama waved her hand around her hostess during a visit to Buckingham Palace in 2009, royal onlookers gasped at the temple and the breach of protocol.

According to royal historian Robert Lacey, the ability to sympathize with Charles – and eventually his sons and grandsons – would stand in good stead because of the shift in modern perceptions of the monarchy, which his mother helped crystallize.

Gone are the days when kings were marshals, ultra-masculine figures expected to lead their soldiers into battle. In constitutional systems such as Britain, they also hold no political power, but act primarily as the head, meaning that the monarchy’s “caring, maternal functions”, as Lacey puts it, became more important. Huh.

“Quality that people expect” [in] A representative monarch is, in a way, better accomplished by a woman than a man,” Lacey explained when George, Prince William’s son, was born in 2013. “True or wrong, men has traditionally been considered a firm and decisive opinion and action, and it is not really appropriate for a person who has absolutely no power.”

Lacey said that both Charles and William showed “a gentler, more feminine side” to their personalities, which was more typical of the stereotypical masculine behavior expected of men of Charles’ father’s generation and even from men of their own. is compared to.

Charles would certainly have company as king. With the exception of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, all major crowned heads of Europe are now more likely to require Rogaine.

If nothing else, Charles would be well advised to think hard before deviating from his mother’s example, even if she was “feminine”, given that polls consistently showed her to be the most popular member of the royal family.

“She really did her best for the country, and I think people applauded her,” said Joan Williams, 85, a retired music teacher who came midway to catch a glimpse of the Queen on her coronation day in 1953. Stood outside all night in London, said. “He would probably do his best to follow in his footsteps, because the country loved him.”


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