King Charles Is ‘Moved’ by Public Support After Queen’s Death

Now King Charles III has to get to work. As he spends more time at his Scottish home, Birkhall, away from the busy public life of the last two weeks, the public has seen a lot of the new King. A biographer says that his character, flaws and all, has been shown, but that the British people have stood mainly by him through it all.

“It’s been interesting because he’s been clearly buoyed and moved by the public support for him,” says Catherine Mayer, whose book Charles: The Heart of a King recently updated. “I know him well enough to know he’d be surprised by that. He always expects to be the one who disappoints. But the excitement has lifted him.” After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Queen Camilla tells people who care about them, “We’re doing our best.”

Mayer says there have been “signs of dissent” at some events, and she thinks that his character has sometimes caused people to disagree. The events with pens at his Accession statement, when he was irritated by an ink well in front of him, and subsequently when signing the visitors’ book in Northern Ireland “divided interestingly along demographic lines, but not what you’d expect,” according to Mayer.

“It was the young who liked his pen incident, as they saw that as humanizing and authentic,” she says. “Yet the older people were complaining because it wasn’t what the Queen would have done.”

Mayer says that the King’s anger in those situations when he was under a lot of pressure was very typical of him. “He’s a very engaging and funny and warm but absolute peevish when things don’t go his way. We got glimpses of that,” she said.

King Charles Is 'Moved' by Public Support After Queen's Death
King Charles Is ‘Moved’ by Public Support After Queen’s Death

“He has struggled his whole life to subdue his emotions. He’s an emotional person but is stuck in a role that puts him on show. He always sublimates his emotions to the spectacle,” she adds. “The week showed he’s quite good at doing a straight face, but you can see the emotions tracing themselves across his face. And that’s a humanizing thing.”

“And there have been times he’s been on the edge of laughter as he and [Queen Camilla] are terrible gigglers,” she says. “You’ve seen from his least attractive quantity, which is his peevishness, to his sorrow for his mother to his sense of humor beginning to break through.”

The daily papers of state have been sent to King Charles’s home on the Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands in red boxes, just like they were for his mother before him. He has been taking them in and, no doubt, making plans for the days and weeks ahead as the new king after his mother died. Mayer says that Charles had to wait until he was 73 to “do this thing that he’s been told his whole life that he’s here to do.”

Ralph Goodale, who was at the funeral says that in that way, he has had the best training. Goodale, the Canadian High Commissioner in London says that the preparation will help him.

“He has had the longest apprenticeship for this role. And he’s had the most amazing role model and remarkable teacher in his mother to get ready,” Goodale told sources. “Still, at a human level it must be one of the most difficult weeks of his life.”

He continues to add of the rest of the royal family in Westminster Abbey during Monday’s state funeral, “You could see in some of the stoic looks on the faces of the family that the reality of having lost this wonderful person is beginning to sink in a bit.”

“This was the final farewell. All the ceremonies and parades and services — had been leading up to the Abbey. And that was sinking in for a lot of people. There was intense sadness because of that,” he adds.

“Also in the air there was a sense of gratitude and celebration for all of the joy and all of the good that Queen Elizabeth II represented. That photograph with that beaming smile that the palace released was a message that this is the way they want us all to remember — with that big grin and sparkling eyes.”

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