It’s true that, as Prince of Wales, His Majesty was often considered to be overly political in the US. “For obvious reasons the idea of an unelected official openly campaigning on political issues is anathema to Americans,” explains Alan, a Los Angeles lawyer. “So watching this Prince campaign for his different causes for decades has been weird for us.”
This makes sense. Climate is a far more partisan issue in the US than it is here, compared with what Politico described as: “Queen Elizabeth II’s special brand of marshmallow diplomacy — soft, sweet and distinctly apolitical — which has charmed Americans over decades.”
Charles seems aware that his popularity will depend on how he handles those activist instincts. This is true for both sides of the Atlantic. He has on several occasions made it clear that any activism would stop the moment he became king. “The idea, somehow, that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed the Queen is complete nonsense because the two situations are completely different,’’ he told the BBC ahead of his 70th birthday in 2018.
Last Friday, King Charles used his first address to the nation as King to underline this. “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply,” he declared.
As for Charles’ wealth and privilege – detailed so intricately by the New York Times – well, it may be hard for Americans to understand how comfortable we are with the idea of our Royal Family being “out of touch with ordinary people.” Look at the scenes in the streets of London yesterday and the glory of that procession; look at every royal wedding in our history.