“The only problem Charles III will face is his personality”

"The only problem Charles III will face is his personality"

What to expect with Charles III? From London, British royalty specialist Marc Roche shares with Madame Figaro his analysis of the coming reign and the personality of the new King of England.

Buckingham Palace shook on September 8. With the death of the queen Elizabeth II, a page of history has been turned. task to his son Charles now to take over, and above all to prove itself. The image of the new sovereign has, in fact, been tarnished for a long time by his chaotic marriage with Lady Diana. However, everything is not a foregone conclusion according to Marc Roche, who has been covering Windsor news for more than twenty years. An expert on the British monarchy, this former journalist from the World is the author of numerous books on royalty, including The Borgias at Buckingham (Albin Michel)*. From London, he shares Madame Figaro his analysis of the coming reign and the personality of Charles III. As we say in the UK, God Save the King

In video, when King Charles III loses patience because of … a pen

Madame Figaro.- In 2020, you devoted a book to Elizabeth II entitled She didn’t want to be queen!. Can the same be said of Charles III?
Marc Roche.- It’s the opposite. Charles wanted to be king. He waited his whole life, and was prepared like no Prince of Wales had been before. The first heir to the British throne, he had access to the monarchy’s confidential information and served as de facto quasi-regent during his mother’s last years. This new status of king is therefore not unknown to him. He knows everyone: all the heads of state visited him at Clarence House.

As an accredited correspondent at Buckingham Palace from 2000 to 2014 for The world, you yourself had the opportunity to meet the new King of England. What man is he?
I like to tell this conversation I had with him after a banquet with Nicolas Sarkozy. It was March 26, 2008, I still have the invitation card. The tradition is that after the banquet, you go to have coffee in the living room. This is when you meet the members of the Royal Family, except for the Queen. This famous March 26, I am introduced by the “Lord Chamberlain” (one of the senior officials of the court in the United Kingdom, editor’s note) to Prince Charles who says to me in French: “Oh, I heard Mr. Roche that young French people are settling in London by the thousands because they can find work there. It’s very interesting, isn’t it?” Instead of answering “Indeed”, which would have been appropriate, I don’t know what’s gotten into me and I answer him: “Well, don’t complain, you send us all the old Brits who settle in the Dordogne and cost social security a fortune!” It didn’t make him laugh at all. Following this event, I had to show my credentials.

So he’s a man who doesn’t have much of a sense of humor…
No, Charles is a man with a lot of humor, but one-sided. He laughs at his own jokes. That said, it’s not much of a compliment to say that. However, he never has a ribald or hurtful sense of humor, unlike his brother the prince andrew.

The Queen’s death settled the fratricidal struggle that existed between Harry and William

Marc Roche, specialist in British royalty

Limage of Prince Charles has suffered a lot in the media. How did King Charles III begin his reign?
The queen’s death somehow erased all these scandals. Basically, the British are legitimists, they need royalty. So just forget everything. On the other hand, Charles III has made two failures since the death of Elizabeth II and which, in my opinion, are significant of his personality: the inkpot and the blotter. Both of these sequences showed an irritated King Charles, a less sympathetic side of him. It must be said that this man has always been used to everything going well since his youth. It’s his way of life that stands out. For me, the only problem he’s going to face is his personality.

In video, what the arrival of Charles III on the throne will change for the monarchy

Everyone seems to agree that today the princes Williamand Harryno longer speak to each other. But we have seen it in recent weeks: despite the tensions, the two brothers seemed united in mourning. Can we believe in a real reconciliation, driven by King Charles III?
I think the death of the queen settled the fratricidal struggle that existed in recent years between Harry and William. From now on, for the British, there is an order of succession, a hard core mainly constituted by Wales. Meghan and Harry no longer play any role in the British monarchy. Worse, Meghan Markle is hated in the UK for dragging the royal family through the mud. However, Charles III did everything to calm the conflict and convince the Sussexes to stay in England. He did not fail to have a word for them during his first speech as king. It is not a coincidence.

Princes William and Harry walk behind the coffin of their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. (London, September 14, 2022.) Sebastien Bozon / AFP

However, Prince Harry plans to publish his memoirs. Should we fear new revelations?
No. Rather, this biography is expected to be void of any information about Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate. I assume a financial arrangement between the Windsors and Meghan and Harry. The specialists I know are even convinced of this. Maybe the royal family bought their silence. It’s probably not for nothing that Netflix is ​​no longer interested in the Sussexes.

Across the Channel, we hear that Charles III could reduce the lifestyle of the monarchy. Can we imagine that he ends up cutting off the food of certain members of the royal family?
Already, what must be understood is that only the king benefits from the “royal endowment”. Apart from Prince William, now at the head of the Duchy of Cornwall, which is making handsome profits, all members of the royal family depend on the generosity of Charles III. And a priori, the king will be generous with those who work: Princess Anne, the Wessexes, the Kents… For the others, who have caused a lot of scandals like Prince Andrew, I don’t imagine that he restricts their way of life, but it will no doubt impose a code of conduct on them.

*The Borgias at BuckinghamMay 2022, 336 pages, €20.90.

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