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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Princess Anne: ‘Being King won’t change Charles’

Princess Anne: ‘Being King won’t change Charles’

‘He’s been practising for a bit, Charles won’t change’ says the Princess Royal in candid interview
The Princess Royal on Tuesday insisted that becoming King “won’t change” her brother.

In a remarkably candid interview, Princess Anne spoke out just days before Charles will be crowned at Westminster Abbey. Talking to CBC in Canada, Anne, 72, said the King was “committed” to public service and that would “remain true” after the coronation. Charles, 74, spent more than 70 years as heir apparent, longer than anyone else in history.

Throughout his wait he has spoken out on subjects that he felt were important to the British public, such as climate change and architecture.

In the interview at St James’s Palace, Anne said: “You know what you’re getting because he’s been practising for a bit, and I don’t think he’ll change. You know, he is committed to his own level of service, and that will remain true.”

Discussing the future role of the rest of the family, the princess said the monarch was the “key” figure and that “we see ourselves as there to support that role”.

“What we do, we hope, contributes to the monarchy in the way it can convey continuity, of service, of understanding,” she added.

Reports previously suggested that the King plans to reduce the number of working royals and the size of his staff to cut costs. Asked about the idea of a “slimmed down” monarchy, the princess said it was originally proposed “when there were a few more people around” — a reference to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped down as working royals, and Prince Andrew who was stripped of his public duties in 2019. She added: “It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do,” she said.

Asked about rising support for republicanism in the wider Commonwealth, including Canada where a recent poll showed more than half the population wanted to cut their ties with the monarchy, Anne said it was “not a conversation that I would necessarily have”.

But she conceded: “I think it’s perfectly true that it is a moment when you need to have that discussion. But I would just underline that the monarchy provides — with the constitution — a degree of long-term stability that is actually quite hard to come by any other way.”

Her comments came as the UK was today gearing up for Saturday’s coronation. As part of the preparations, Charles and Camilla were today attending a reception at the Palace of Westminster to meet members of both Houses of Parliament as well as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Buckingham Palace has announced that more than 2,200 people were expected to attend the coronation, a list much reduced from the more than 8,000 from 129 nations who attended Queen Elizabeth’s crowning in 1953.

Among the guests will be television presenters Ant and Dec, in recognition of their roles as goodwill ambassadors for the Prince’s Trust, Vogue magazine’s UK editor Edward Enninful, Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades and singer Lionel Richie — the day before he performs at the coronation concert at Windsor Castle.

Richie is chairman of the global ambassador group of the Prince’s Trust, which has helped more than one million young people since it was founded by Charles in 1976. TV magician Dynamo is also on the guest list after being supported by the charity, getting advice and a start-up loan that helped him on the road to stardom. “The Prince’s Trust gave me the support no one else would and it changed my life,” said Dynamo, real name Steven Frayne.

Other guests will include representatives from 203 countries, among them about 100 heads of state, fellow royals and hundreds of community and charity champions. Latest figures estimate that more than 3,000 street parties will be held across the UK. They will cover a total of 263 miles, which is roughly equivalent to the distance from Westminster Abbey to Land’s End in Cornwall. The most popular day for parties over the three-day bank holiday weekend is Sunday, when almost two thirds (62 per cent) will take place. Some 27 per cent are planned for Saturday, while just 11 per cent are set for Monday.

Hampshire and Kent are in joint first place as the most celebratory counties, each with 251 street parties. Many councils have waived their street party fees for this weekend. James Harris, chief executive one.network, which monitors road events, said: “It’s fantastic to see neighbours and communities coming together to use their streets for parties to celebrate the crowning of our new King.”

A major poll of 11,000 people has also revealed that Britain would decisively back the monarchy if a referendum was held tomorrow. Well over half the UK would vote for a constitutional monarchy, with less than a quarter against, the poll by former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft revealed. Some royal fans are already camping near Buckingham Palace. Equipped with folding chairs, tents and sleeping bags they have picked positions along The Mall to ensure a good view.
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