Royal fam­ily al­bum looks at life of a king in wait­ing

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVID BEHRENS COUNTY COR­RE­SPON­DENT Email: Twit­ter: @york­shire­post IT IS a fam­ily al­bum unique in the an­nals of Bri­tish roy­alty, a chron­i­cle of seven decades of a King in wait­ing.

As Prince Charles pre­pares to cel­e­brate his land­mark birth­day next week, a col­lec­tion of 70 pho­to­graphs of the heir to the throne, one from ev­ery year of his life, has been pub­lished.

It sees him from in­fancy in post-war Lon­don, through his gauche stu­dent phase, in­fat­u­ated with the Goon Show, to naval of­fi­cer, el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lor, and then hus­band, fa­ther and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

But its 70 pages raised ques­tions in some quar­ters as to whether the role for which he was des­tined had passed him by – with one York­shire aca­demic sug­gest­ing he be­longed to a “lost gen­er­a­tion” of Roy­als and had given up hope of ever be­com­ing King.

Dr An­drew My­cock, Reader in pol­i­tics at Hud­der­s­field Uni­ver­sity, said: “With ev­ery year that passes, it be­comes less likely that he will ever want the job.”

He said the Prince of Wales to­day was a hap­pier in­di­vid­ual than he had some­times ap­peared in the past and that the suc­cess of his sons in “re­ju­ve­nat­ing” the fam­ily firm had re­lieved him of pres­sure.

Dr My­cock also said that Charles would not be the pop­u­lar choice as the next head of state.

The Prince, whose birth­day is on Wed­nes­day, is cur­rently on a tour of West African na­tions, and spoke on Mon­day about the le­gacy of slav­ery in the Bri­tish Em­pire. It had left an “in­deli­ble stain” on the his­tory of the world, he said.

Dr My­cock said: “That is not the sort of thing he would have said a few years ago.

“He has al­ways been opin­ion­ated and con­tro­ver­sial, but he used to con­cern him­self with ex­press­ing his views on modern ar­chi­tec­ture.

“The pic­ture of him to­day is very dif­fer­ent to that in the 1980s and 1990s, and the in­flu­ence of Camilla may have some­thing to do with that.

“It’s clear that the per­son we are see­ing now is very happy – and happy that his sons have taken some of the pres­sure off.

“But the pass­ing of time raises ques­tions about what his im­print on the monar­chy will be.”

Opin­ion polls have long sug­gested that the pub­lic is not keen on Charles as King. Sup­port for him peaked at the be­gin­ning of the 1990s but fell sharply as the break­down of his mar­riage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and al­le­ga­tions of in­fi­delity on his part, be­came pub­lic.

Diana’s death in 1997 prompted an out­pour­ing of grief di­rected to­wards her and against the Royal es­tab­lish­ment.

Dr My­cock said: “Charles’s pro­file has been eclipsed by William and Harry, and William is more likely than his fa­ther to be King.

“From the way his sons have re­ju­ve­nated the monar­chy, it’s clear that he sees his sons as the fu­ture.”

He added: “I don’t think he will be par­tic­u­larly well re­ceived if he does take the throne. I have de­tected a sense that he has come to terms with the fact that his sons are more pop­u­lar than him.

“The ques­tion is of what his role would be­come. At 92, the Queen is still fight­ing strong but she can’t go on for­ever. The con­sti­tu­tional ques­tion of who will take over is the price of longevity.”

Should Charles not take the throne, an al­ter­ative role would have to be found for him, Dr My­cock said, in the way that the for­mer Queen El­iz­a­beth had be­come known as the Queen Mother fol­low­ing the death of her hus­band, Ge­orge VI.

“Charles and his sib­lings are a lost gen­er­a­tion. They have all strug­gled to find their roles as chil­dren of the cur­rent monarch,” Dr My­cock said.

“Anne is in­cred­i­bly hard­work­ing but main­tains a very low pub­lic pro­file. An­drew is a more con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure and Ed­ward has taken a work­man­like ap­proach to his du­ties.

“Charles may well come to ac­cept that he is a part of that lost gen­er­a­tion.”


HAPPY PRINCE: Charles on his fourth birth­day, lean­ing out of a win­dow with his mother, the Queen – one of the images re­leased to cel­e­brate his 70th birth­day.


THROUGH THE YEARS: From left, Charles with the Royal Fam­ily watch­ing the troop­ing of the colour; the prince with co­me­dian More­cambe and Wise; on board a mil­i­tary heli­copter in Afghanista­n; horse rid­ing with the Queen at Wind­sor Cas­tle in 1961.

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