The Queen was always going to be a tough act to follow – but is King Charles overstepping the mark? | UK News

For seven decades, many of us have welcomed his mother into our living rooms.

At 3 p.m. each Christmas Day, an opportunity for families and friends to take a break and for the Queen to address us all. In many ways, she was always going to be a very beloved and very difficult act to follow.

The King’s message immediately sounded different from the Queen’s recordings we’ve seen in recent years. Not sitting behind a desk with important photos by his side, but rather standing inside St. George’s Chapel, the perfect place to start what was part loving tribute to his mother, just months after his death. burial at Windsor Castle.

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It was the Queen’s example of service that he again encouraged us to emulate, because with the deepest respect for his mother’s way, he begins to show how he wants to do things differently.

We had grown accustomed to his mother’s subtlety in her annual messages. I remember a recent one where she just mentioned how hectic the year had been; she didn’t need to list the specific issues of political turmoil and problems she had with her own family.

His son seems to want to speak more candidly, devoting several minutes of his message to focusing on what he calls a time of “great anxiety and difficulty”. He does not refrain from specifying what for him is an indisputable fact, that many are struggling and that it is really the community heroes who move the country forward.

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Watch the King’s Christmas Message

Does King Charles play politics?

We clearly have a new king for whom the cost of living crisis and what he can do in his new role are playing on his mind; he wants to express a sense of empathy albeit from a position of immense privilege.

What’s tricky is when you put his message in the context of the strike stalemate we saw before Christmas involving many of the public sector workers he appoints and hires, ambulance staff, nurses, etc., and why some may suggest he errs on the side of being political.

His emphasis on faith is also particularly striking. Both his own and acknowledging the diverse religious communities that make up the UK.

While the Queen was so private about many aspects of her life, her strong Christian beliefs were something she carried very publicly. It has not always been the same with his son.

But much like his first address to the nation after the Queen’s death, he obviously wants to reinforce in our minds how much he draws from his own Christian beliefs as well; particularly interesting from a man who once seemed to suggest he would more generally be a “Defender of the Faith” rather than a “Defender of the Faith” when he became monarch.

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Now, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, he is firmly committed to that role. But not to the exclusion of others. I’m not sure the queen ever specifically named other religions the same way the king does or tried to speak so directly to those who don’t believe.

The fact that he speaks to everyone “regardless of your faith or if you have none”, it couldn’t be clearer that he doesn’t want anyone to feel left out, he wants to be one king for all.

King Charles III, center right, and Camilla, the Queen Consort, lead the Royal Family as they arrive to attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene's Church at Sandringham in Norfolk, England, on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
King Charles III en route to church with the Royal Family. Photo: AP

A pivotal year for the monarchy

As we head into what will be another defining year for the monarchy, that sense of reaching out and connecting will only accelerate in the run-up to the coronation, a moment the palace hope will not mark. only a change of reign, but showcase to the world a celebration of what Britain is today, a vibrant and diverse UK.

This Christmas show begins that process. A message of inclusion, understanding and empathy from a man who said he wouldn’t meddle as a monarch, but still seems to have a lot to say.

Only in time will it become clearer whether in his new role it feels like he is saying too much and overstepping the bounds.

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