King Charles’ in-tray: Harry’s memoir, poll ratings and threats to the union – The Guardian

One of the monarch’s charities is also under police investigation, and what to do about Prince Andrew?
King Charles faces many challenges as he ascends to the throne. Here are some key issues in his in-tray.
1. Prince Harry is expected to publish a memoir in late 2022 that his publishers have pitched as the definitive account of his “experiences, adventures, losses and life lessons”. Penguin Random House, which is believed to have paid $20m for the book, described it as “intimate and heartfelt”.
It will cover his life to the present day, raising the prospect of further revelations about the palace’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex, which led to the couple’s acrimonious departure for North America, as well as the royal family’s handling of his mother’s death when he was 12 and the relationship between his father and Camilla.
The King may have to decide whether to ask to see pre-publication proofs or whether to use lawyers to threaten action to keep sensitive family secrets or contested allegations out of print.
2. Harry has also been in dispute with the Home Office over his security when he is in the UK. He is bringing a case to the high court alleging that a change in the level of protection he received left him feeling unsafe even though he had offered to pay for personnel himself.
3. Police have been investigating the Prince’s Foundation, one of the monarch’s three main charitable outfits, over allegations it solicited donations in exchange for supporting recommendations for honours.
The King has denied all knowledge of the arrangement, but the foundation’s chief executive, his long-standing aide Michael Fawcett, has already stood down. The Mail on Sunday revealed that Fawcett had offered to help a Saudi billionaire obtain a knighthood and UK citizenship in exchange for generous donations.
As well as negotiating the fallout from the case it highlights a broader issue for the new King – of what should he do with his network of charities, which focus on his various interests from architecture and planning to the environment. One suggestion is that the Princes Trust, the youth charity he founded in 1976 of which he is still president, could become entirely independent as he increasingly focuses on his work as head of state.
4. After Prince Andrew agreed a settlement estimated at more than £10m with Virginia Guiffre over her sexual assault claim in the US civil courts, the King may face continued scrutiny of how the royal family helped his younger brother find the money.
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on reports the Queen would be contributing to the settlement from her private income, derived from the Duchy of Lancaster estate. Other questions may be whether the King wants Andrew to continue living at Royal Lodge, which he leases from the crown estate, and whether he should continue to be known as the Duke of York.
5. The King has work to do to build his public popularity. He was only the seventh most popular royal in a YouGov poll at the end of 2021. The Queen and Prince William were first and second and he was behind Zara Philips and his younger sister Princess Anne. He did even worse among millennials, falling to 11th place.Loyalty to the monarch – given rates of belief in the monarchy have stayed above 60% in the last three years – are likely to boost that, and the king may also calculate that by giving the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge prominent roles it will allow the family to project a more youthful image.
6. Last but not least, the King is likely to face three constitutional battles. The first will come in the form of campaigns among some of the 14 realms, triggered by the Queen’s death, to follow the lead of Barbados and become a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy. Republicans in Australia are likely to be emboldened, and in some Commonwealth nations such as Jamaica and Belize the succession will require a referendum to install King Charles as their head of state.
He may also face calls in the UK for reform of the monarchy, and from a minority, for now at least, its abolition. With ongoing pressures for Scottish independence and tension over the governance of Northern Ireland, he also faces threats to the union.


Leave a Comment