King Charles has taken on the job he was born to, although that may mean giving up the role he so deeply cares about.
His Majesty was for many years an outspoken environmental and climate change advocate, but noted that he would not be known as the activist king.
Australian politicians have given different views on whether Charles III should continue to talk about the issue defining his activism, environmental catastrophe, and climate change.
Charles, shown here speaking at a United Nations conference in Glasgow in 2021, has long been a staunch advocate of environmental issues.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the new king does not need to be silent on climate change because it is an issue that trumps party politics.
“I think dealing with the challenge of climate change should not be seen as a political issue,” he told ABC.
It should be seen as an issue of humanity, our quality of life and our survival as a scientist.
This is a major threat and has been identified by King Charles for a long period of time.
I think getting involved in issues is very different from getting involved in partisan politics. That would be completely inappropriate.
King Charles, here with Queen Camilla as he is proclaimed King of Britain, said he would not engage in any activity while on the throne.
However, opposition leader Peter Dutton said King Charles’ signal to stay away from the activism was appropriate.
“I think the point he made in his speech yesterday was that now, as the Queen did, he does not express these views on a daily basis,” he said.
In his first address as king, Charles pledged to uphold the constitutional obligation of British monarchs to remain above political conflict, as the Queen had done.
“It will no longer be possible to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and causes I care so deeply, but I know this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others,” he said.
In a 2018 documentary made to mark his 70th birthday, then-Prince Charles said he would change his behavior when he became king.
“The idea, in a way, that I would go on in exactly the same way, if I had to succeed,” he said, “is complete nonsense because the two cases—the two cases—are completely different.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, seen here standing between Governor General David Hurley on his right and his wife Linda on his right, said climate change has gone beyond party politics.
When asked if his campaign would continue, he said, “No, you won’t. I’m not that stupid.”
During her long reign, King Charles’ mother stayed away from politics, although the palace aide was forced to resign in 1987 after telling the New York Times that the Queen had opposed Margaret Thatcher’s refusal to impose sanctions on apartheid-era South Africa.
However, the Queen’s impartiality impressed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair so much that he said that despite being called regularly to meet with the Queen for 10 years, he had no idea what her political views were.
By contrast, Charles III has always had his heart on his sleeve to offer dire warnings about climate change and call for saving forests or endangered species.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton, seen here addressing a Mineral Council event in September, said it was right that King Charles did not talk about politics.
He told the BBC in 2005: “Climate change should be seen as the biggest challenge facing humanity and treated as a much bigger priority in the UK.”
In 2008 he told the European Parliament that “the doomsday clock for climate change is ticking faster than ever before at midnight”.
“The lives of billions of people depend on your response, and our children and grandchildren will not forgive any of us if we falter and fail,” he said.
Resolute and principled leadership has never been needed more. Certainly, this is only a moment in history for which the European Union was created.