posted on 09/09/2022 10:59
(credit: Ben Stansall / AFP)
Charles has been a controversial figure over the years, from his infidelity when he was married to Princess Diana and his alleged political meddling, to gaffes and scandals involving his aides.
Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son has never enjoyed his mother’s popularity, adding to the challenges he will now face as king.
Although the situation has improved in recent times, he has been criticized by British tabloids for years for his indifference.
On the other hand, the portrayal of his marital problems in the hit Netflix series “The Crown” is unlikely to have helped his image a quarter of a century after his divorce from Diana.
He has also been accused of meddling in politics, and in 2021 his most trusted aide resigned for a second time amid controversy.
“I believe that all these things are harmful, from ‘The Crown’ to reality,” said the royal writer Penny Junor in 2021, after the outbreak of a scandal involving the alleged delivery of honors in exchange for money for charity by the then prince. from Wales.
Being accepted as king “is going to be difficult for him no matter what, but all these revelations don’t help,” he added.
– “Three people” –
Charles’ image suffered a devastating blow during his bitter separation from Diana.
In an explosive BBC interview in 1995, the then-Princess of Wales revealed that “there were three people” in her marriage, referring to her husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
The royal couple had announced their separation in 1992, but as a result of this controversial interview they ended up divorcing in 1996.
Giving her version of events – and admitting her own infidelity – Diana exposed her struggles within the royal family, criticizing the monarchy and questioning Charles’ ability to be king.
This earned the “people’s princess” wide public sympathy, which extended after her death in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
Charles has long been criticized for both the extramarital affair and the initial mishandling of Diana’s death.
However, he gradually gained the support of public opinion and acceptance that he found happiness with Camilla, whom he married in 2005.
– “Black spider” –
Charles also caused controversy by pressuring politicians in private on various public issues, from health to the environment.
In a series of letters between him and various government ministers, known as “black spider” memos for their scrawled handwriting, the heir asked about a wide range of subjects.
Made public in 2015 after a decade-long legal battle waged by The Guardian newspaper, they included, among other topics, his distaste for modern architecture.
Charles’ opposition to avant-garde design first came to public attention in 1984, when he described plans to modernize the National Gallery in London as something akin to adding a “monstrous boil on the face of a very elegant and dear friend”. .
The “black spider” letters provoked reactions against the then-future king and concerns that he was overstepping his bounds.
However, in a 2018 interview on the occasion of his 70th birthday, Charles insisted he never interfered directly in politics and that he understood the difference between being a prince and a monarch.
– Money for honors? –
More recently, Charles was involved in an alleged honors-buying case.
A number of reports have pointed out that his advisers worked to obtain royal honor and even British citizenship for a Saudi businessman who donated large sums to restoration projects of particular interest to Charles.
Michael Fawcett, her former chamberlain who became director of her charitable foundation, resigned in 2021 after an internal investigation into these allegations.
But this wasn’t the first complaint against Fawcett that, by association, spilled over into Charles. In 2003, he had already resigned after being accused of breaking palace rules and accepting gratuities.
Although he was later acquitted of financial misconduct charges for selling unwanted royal gifts, an internal report found several members of Charles’ entourage guilty of “grave misconduct”.