On September 10, a new monarch, Charles III, hitherto known as Prince Charles of Wales, officially ascended the throne in Great Britain. Who is Mr. Charles Windsor? And should we hope that relations between Britain and Russia will warm up?
By taking the royal throne, Charles III automatically became the supreme commander-in-chief, the supreme ruler of the Anglican Church, and the head of the Commonwealth of Nations comprised of 54 states. In addition, Charles III is now officially the king of such countries as Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, New Zealand, and Jamaica (a total of 14 states).
In England, the inheritance takes place according to the so-called “Catalan system” when the monarch's closest relative becomes the successor. It does not matter whether it is a man or a woman. In this respect, the order of succession in England differs from the “Salic system,” in which the nearest male relative succeeds. The Salic system was in force, for instance, in France at the time of the monarchy.
As for the throne name, Charles is the most logical option for Prince Charles of Wales, i.e., the Latin variant of the reading of the English Charles. Few people know, but, in principle, the King of England is not limited in his choice of name. For example, the first name of the grandfather of the current king and father of Elizabeth II was Albert, but he ruled as George VI.
There is only one exception. There is a tradition in the English royal family of not naming boys by the name John, because of King John the Soothless, whose reign is considered extremely unfortunate. John was Richard the Lionheart's younger brother and ruled from 1199 to 1216. It was John the Landless (John The Lackland) who lost the war to a coalition of barons, after which the feudal lords forced him to sign the Baronial Articles on June 15, 1215, a few days later the Great Charter (Magna Carta) was created on their basis, which enshrined restrictions on the power of the king and privileges for the aristocracy. So, if you pay attention, you will see that for nearly a thousand years there has not been a single boy named John (or John in Latin transcription) in the royal family. By the way, the four articles of the Magna Carta are still in force today, and together with traditions, constitutional customs and judicial precedents form the unwritten Constitution of Great Britain.
Charles I and Charles II Stuarts
In the history of England, only two monarchs have carried the name Charles, Charles I and Charles II, so far. Both Charles belonged to the Stuart dynasty, while Charles III is already a representative of the Windsors. Until 1917, this dynasty was called Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but during the First World War King George V decided to change the name from German to English.
As for the current king's predecessors, such as Charles I and Charles II, they were both brilliant men.
Charles I is associated with such a global upheaval as the English Revolution, or the Civil War of the seventeenth century. It was the last powerful upheaval in the history of England. Since the middle of the seventeenth century, the English aristocracy, in principle, has not changed. So now the English aristocracy is a closed caste club, and Britain, despite all these democratic screens in the form of elections, is a class society. In fact, to a large extent, this is why Meghan Markle has problems. For the English aristocracy, she is an “upstart” and a “commoner” who is supposed to be despised and to show her contempt in every way possible.
Charles I (1600 - 1649) went down in history as an ardent supporter of absolutism, i.e., the power of the monarch not limited by anything and no one. Absolute monarchy was contrary to the interests of the English bourgeoisie, which demanded more and more rights to protect its interests. Accordingly, Charles I spent much of his reign at war with Parliament and the bourgeoisie. There were several convocations of the British Parliament in the history of Charles I's reign. In particular, just before the Civil War there were the “Short” (it lasted only three weeks in 1641) and the “Long” Parliaments (1641 - 1653 and 1659 - 1660). The eventual confrontation between the royal administration led by Charles I and the rising English bourgeoisie culminated in the Civil War of 1639 - 1660. The decisive moment came on June 14, 1645, when the supporters of Parliament (Roundheads), led by Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, defeated the “cavaliers under Charles I and Ruprecht of the Palatinate at the Battle of Naisby.
Despite the total military defeat, Charles I fought against the bourgeoisie for several more years. Even while in prison, he intrigued and fought to preserve the powers of royalty. In the end, the patience of the bourgeois revolutionaries broke down. And in January 1649, a court of 135 commissioners led by the lawyer John Bradshaw sentenced Charles I to death as an enemy of the fatherland, a tyrant and a traitor. On 30 January 1649, Charles I was beheaded in Whitehall Street, London - today the street that leads from the Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square.
However, Charles I also went down in history as the author of the famous "Scaffold Speech. Addressing the crowd minutes before his death, Charles I gave a speech based on the main thesis that "the subject is never even close to understand what tasks the ruler has to solve. In general, up to the end, Charles I still fervently defended his ideals, which is definitely worthy of respect.
Charles II was the native son of Charles I, but because of the English Revolution and the defeat of the monarchy was forced to flee the country and spent many years abroad. After the death of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, a new round of civil war broke out in England, during which General George Monk, together with Parliament, advocated the restoration of royal power.
In this regard, Charles II, at the invitation of Parliament in 1660, returned to London and was officially crowned king of England. With his accession to power in the history of England began a period of Restoration. However, the king acted quite mildly, granting amnesty to most revolutionaries - only those who voted for the death of Charles I were sentenced to death. History tends to remember the bubonic plague epidemic of 1665-1666 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 in connection with Charles II.
More importantly, Charles II was the last full-fledged king of England of the Stuart dynasty. His younger brother James II Stuart ruled for only more than three years. After the aristocracy, in alliance with the bourgeoisie, helped to overthrow the Catholic James, William III of Orange became the new king of England. From that time until September 10, 2022, there has not been a king named Charles in British history.
In Contrast to Diana
As for the new monarch Charles III, many media have created a distorted portrait of the new English king. In the 1980-1990's the media promoted the beloved Diana, Princess of Wales, and they positioned Charles as a scoundrel, hurting the Queen of Hearts. Particularly in Russia, and in the former Soviet Union, it was customary to cringe at and glorify the scandalous princess. Charles, on the other hand, was usually portrayed as a lout and a wimp in comparison to Diana.
Only years later, many people were surprised to learn that many people in Great Britain believe Lady Di to be a promiscuous woman. How else could it be if in that very famous interview with the BBC Diana herself admitted that she cheated on her husband? She accused Charles of adultery himself and made herself the victim. She herself admitted that her lovers were a riding instructor, a security guard, and a Pakistani surgeon. There were 5 official lovers and 6-8 unofficial ones. In connection with this, in the 1990's, there was a reasonable question: did the children of Charles and Diana have anything to do with the Windsor dynasty at all?
In fact, many media outlets openly reported that the couple's second son Prince Harry was the son not of Charles, but of Diana's lover and riding instructor named James Hewitt.
Indeed, Hewitt and Harry look very similar, they are both freckled and red-haired, while neither Diana nor Charles were redheaded. On a related note, notice how technically the royal court has pushed Prince Harry out of the family. On the surface, it looks like Harry is the one who, along with Meghan Markle, gave up royal duties in 2020. In reality, it appears that the Windsor dynasty has secured the exclusion from the list of heirs to the throne of a man it considers an outsider. Indeed, how hard can it be to run a DNA test? Surely the Windsors did. Except that no one publicly announced the results.
King of England Reigns but Does not Rule
So, Charles lived for many years in the shadow of first Princess Diana and then his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. If we talk about character traits, both acquaintances, friends and journalists describe the new King of Great Britain as a good-natured and highly educated man.
At the same time, the facts of life show that Charles III is a very steadfast man who achieves his goals, except that he acts without too much shouting and pathos.
For instance, despite his family's demands that men pursue a military career, Prince Charles broke with royal tradition, and instead of going to the army, he enrolled at Cambridge University, graduating as Bachelor of Arts in 1970. Also, despite pressure from the royal family, after many years of a relationship, Charles still married Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom the English aristocracy had always considered “low-born” to be the monarch's wife.
Here it is important to clarify that in terms of the form of government the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. But in fact, the United Kingdom is a class society, ruled by the aristocracy, which, as already mentioned, has not changed since the middle of the 17th century. And the king is a symbol of the rights and privileges of the English aristocracy, expressing through a number of rituals the will of the real masters of Foggy Albion. For example, the media write a lot about the acts of Parliament, laughing at the hair of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson or the reservations of the new Prime Minister Liz Truss, but virtually out of sight are the decisions of such a body as the Privy Council under the King of England, which is composed of aristocrats.
That is why we should not expect the British policy towards Russia and the Ukrainian crisis to change. A tough course towards confrontation is the attitude of the British aristocracy, oligarchic business and the political elite. For example, the previous Prime Minister Boris Johnson “laid down his life” just to keep the fighting in Ukraine going. After all, as Lord Palmerston said, "Only our interests are eternal and perpetual.” Britain's interest is for the military conflict to be as large as possible, because this means billions of dollars in profits for the British military-industrial complex plus profits on related issues.
In this system, the King or Queen, as formal head of state, can soften or tighten the nuances of the political course, but will not try to radically reverse it.