After ten days of public mourning, Queen Elizabeth II was taken to Westminster Abbey — where she was crowned in 1953 — and then laid to rest on Monday. I’ve written in the past that I’m not big follower of the British Royals, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find the family dynamics fascinating. Here’s what I mean.
Imagine for a second that you’re in Prince Charles’ position — oops, I mean to say, King Charles’ position. You’ve inherited the queen’s fortune and took on the title of the King of England as soon as the queen died. You still need to be coronated, but that’s not expected to happen until 2023. You finished up an exhausting week of ceremonies and a funeral procession. You’re 73, you’re not a young man anymore and have been waiting in the wings for decades. You’ve always been close by, but never center stage. Over the past two weeks, you’ve been under a microscope, with everyone in the world with thoughts on how you’re going to run the family business.
Let’s not forget too, no matter what the press has reported over the years about the relationship between the two, King Charles has had to say goodbye to his mother. No matter how you slice it, an emotional experience.
With all that as the backdrop, I’ve been wondering:
- What would you do? How would you act? Would you he timid like Kendall Roy from the television show, Succession, or Jamie Dutton from Yellowstone or would you go full Sonny Corleone-like from The Godfather on your enemies and the British Paparazzi by ordering bloody raids that earn you a legendary reputation, but ultimately bring about your own demise?
- Would you look to English history to guide you, ruling like Alfred the Great, King of Wessex from 871 to 899, who led the Anglo-Saxon resistance against Viking invasion and significantly improved the country’s legal system and military structure? Or would you look to your mother’s example and pull from the same toolbox that brought stability and helped to modernize the monarchy.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter
Yup, that’s what I want to know. In the quiet of Buckingham Palace, what does King Charles make as his first official act? If he were playing chess, it would be called his “opening move.” Does he call the Royal staff and assistants together and say, “Hey guys, roll out the expensive liquor, the casino chips and the Monte Carlo gambling tables, let’s get this party started!” Nah, I can’t see it.
Does he do his best Game of Thrones impersonation and use a series of High Valyrian vocal commands to call out his own modern-day dragons and have them breath fire on opposition to the Monarch and misbehaving members of parliament? I’m not sure I can see that either.
For the past seventy years (and 214 days), Queen Elizabeth has been in her role. People came to know and count on her. They knew what to expect. She served the longest of any British monarch. She’s the only queen most British subjects have ever known. For the first in a long time, the United Kingdom, heck the world, doesn’t know what’s coming next.
A plan of action
If I’m Charles, my first royal decree would be to inform my my subjects that I will be going by a new title: King Brian. After making a good solid decision right off the bat, I would then send the staff home, head to the kitchen, grab a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and maybe make a vodka martini for him and his wife Camilla, now known as queen consort, and spend the next three days bingeing The Crown, Downton Abbey, and The Game of Thrones.
If anyone asks, Charles should tell them that he’s following the advice of the great German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote, “He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”