King Charles III will soon mark 16 months on the British throne, and Prince Harry drama has arguably overshadowed his reign so far. But the 75-year-old monarch seems to be weathering his youngest son's controversies as if it was simply swatting away a fly.
"Queen Elizabeth II was always going to be an exceptionally tough act to follow, and King Charles came to the role with his fair share of PR disasters (like the 1993 Tampongate scandal) under his belt," PR expert Luana Ribeira told an outlet.
"When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, she was young and had an unblemished record in the eyes of the public. People knew little about her as a private individual, allowing her to retain an air of dignity and even mystery as the monarch. King Charles did not have this privilege and had already had a lifetime of being in the public eye. From the moment he became king, the British public already had a long list of opinions on his first marriage and divorce, his relationship with his sons, his marriage to Queen Camilla, and his opinions on the environment," Ribeira added.
Acceding to the British throne at the age of 25 compared to Charles' 73 also allowed the late Queen to have what many royal historians call "a youth advantage" that brings with it automatic charisma. But despite his advanced age, the King is slowly becoming the nation and Commonwealth's "grandfatherly" figure instead.
"Starting the role as someone people know so much about is challenging from a PR perspective, and King Charles has largely flown under the radar in the first year or so of his reign. He has rightly avoided doing anything that could be seen as obviously controversial and has perhaps been a quieter monarch than people might have expected. He has had his moments — like the video catching him getting frustrated with a pen — but his main difficulties have been due to his family relationships," the PR analyst observed.
Ribeira continued: "His strained relationship with Prince Harry and his son’s legal wrangles with the press will have caused King Charles and his PR team a major headache, along with the inevitable scrutiny of his relationship with his younger brother, Prince Andrew. But I think King Charles has been wise to remain quiet on these matters."
"The sixth series of The Crown will have also added to his woes, with the first half of the season focusing on the death of Princess Diana. Although the show’s portrayal of his character was largely sympathetic, it will have inevitably stirred up the public’s emotions surrounding his first marriage and the way Diana was treated in a way which I imagine King Charles would have rather done without," Ribeira concluded.
GBN spoke with Ribeira.