The 70-year-reign of Queen Elizabeth II ended yesterday as she passed away at age 96. Millions of persons in Britain and around the world are expressing a multitude of emotions and opinions regarding her death and the eclipse of an era of British monarchy.
Her son, 73-year-old Charles, immediately became King Charles III, although his coronation is expected to be several months off.
Numerous news stories have documented both the length of Elizabeth’s rule as well as the changing fortunes of the British Commonwealth and her impact.
Elizabeth was beloved by her British subjects—in large part because she avoided comments about political and social changes. King Charles III, however, has strong opinions about the environment and architecture and is not as popular as his mother.
That is not important. It is unfair to expect any successor–either to the throne, elected office or leader of a public or private institution or business–to be compared with his or her predecessor.
Some observers worry that Charles views on public issues will be imprudent and unseemly for a monarch. But contemporary society is inundated by celebrities of every stripe uttering pronouncements on topics of which they are not expert and to which intelligent folks should give no credence.
King Charles III, although occupying a largely ceremonial post, at least has a legitimate platform from which to express opinions regarding British and Commonwealth challenges.
Speculation is that at his age, Charles will have a relatively short reign before he is succeeded by Prince William—eldest son of Charles and the late Princess Diana.
And news organizations have wasted no time in predicting how William might rule.
Unless King Charles III should expire suddenly in the near future, such musings about Prince William are silly.
I was only ten years old when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952. And watched on black and white television with fascination the elaborate ceremony of her official coronation the following year.
Although subsequent decades have dampened the unbridled enthusiasm and emotional response of my youth to such public occasions, I still am looking forward to the coronation of King Charles III. The pageantry of the moment will be worthy of the King and the British Commonwealth. And those of us who live beyond that realm can also enjoy a magnificent celebration.