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With ceremonies over, King Charles III faces biggest task

LONDON (AP) The cannons have sounded, the bells have rung and the mourners have paid their respects.

Now King Charles III faces the duty of preserving a 1,000-year-old monarchy that his mother nurtured for seven decades but that faces an uncertain future. The task is immense.

Personal affection for the queen meant that the monarchys role in British society was rarely debated lately. However now that shes gone, the royal family faces questions about whether it’s still relevant in today’s, multicultural nation that looks completely different than it did when Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952.

Amid a worldwide re-examination of the annals of colonialism and slavery which has seen protesters tear down or deface statues in British cities and universities like Oxford and Cambridge change their course offerings, an institution that has been after the symbol of the British Empire will probably face renewed scrutiny.

Charles will attempt to keep up continuity while also signaling that the royals are ready to change, said Anna Whitelock, a professor of history of modern monarchy at City University London. But he faces a raft of questions.

What place does a monarchy have in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic society? Whitelock asked. And could it be the proper rallying point for the country? And really should it function as monarch representing the U.K. abroad? What does it say about us? Could it be a bastion of tradition that folks should applaud? Or could it be actually a check up on progress that truly doesnt represent the inclusive, diverse society that folks would hope that Britain would now become?

And there’s another, more personal, question lurking in the backdrop: Is really a 73-year-old white man the very best person to confront those issues?

Charles waited longer than any heir to take the throne and in lots of ways embodies the modernization of the monarchy. He was the initial monarch not educated in the home, the first ever to earn a university degree and the first ever to mature in the ever-intensifying glare of the media as deference to royalty faded.

He’s got been lauded being an early advocate of environmentally friendly movement and won praise for attempting to enhance the lives of teenagers in underprivileged communities.

But he also offers a reputation, perhaps undeserved, as a somewhat stuffy older man who’s more in the home on the polo field or one of is own country estates compared to the soccer-mad cities of modern Britain.

Charles also alienated lots of people along with his messy divorce from the much-loved Princess Diana, and by straining the guidelines that bar royals from intervening in public areas affairs, wading into debates on issues such as for example environmental protection and architectural preservation.

Because the U.K. mourned his mother, it quickly became clear that Charles was prepared to be considered a more personal monarch. He’s got made a spot of wading in to the crowds of well wishers, stopping to shake hands and exchange several words, similar to a U.S. presidential candidate appealing for votes when compared to a king who inherited the crown from the type of ancestors stretching back again to 1066.

One woman even kissed him an even of familiarity nobody could have dared with Elizabeth.

At Mondays state funeral for the late queen, Bertram Leon embodied the challenges facing Charles.

A proud Briton whose roots stretch back again to the Windrush generation of immigrants who found the U.K. from the Caribbean after World War II, Leon was at Westminster Abbey to represent the St. Lucian community in honoring the queen. Now he expects Charles to take the monarchy in a fresh direction.

The king is in fact likely to change, perhaps modernize the monarchy in the image he thinks in today’s day, Leon said, his British Empire Medal pinned to his chest. We cant live back the 1920s, 30s or 50s, when Elizabeth took over. We have been now in the 21st century, and I believe things will be regarded and viewed a little different.

Not only is it king of the uk, Charles is head of state for 14 realms that retained the monarch as their sovereign after gaining independence from the former British Empire. It really is in these far-flung nations, which stretch from Australia and New Zealand to the Caribbean that Charles may face his first challenges.

The pressures were clear earlier this season when Prince William and his wife, Kate, faced demands a royal apology and reparations for slavery throughout a visit to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas to celebrate the queens 70 years on the throne.

Throughout that visit, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the royals that his country was shifting, a couple of months after Barbados severed its ties with the monarchy.

The royals also have faced criticism from within after Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, quit royal duties and moved to California. In a widely publicized interview with U.S. television host Oprah Winfrey earlier this season, the couple alleged that palace have been insensitive toward Meghan, who’s bi-racial, and a person in the royal family had asked concerning the color of these first childs skin before he was created.

Charles sought to handle the tensions in the home and abroad in his first address as king.

Wherever you might live in the uk, or in the realms and territories around the world, and whatever could be your background or beliefs, I will endeavor to last with loyalty, respect and love, when i have throughout my entire life, he said.

Charles also confronted concerns about how exactly he’d conduct himself as king.

The laws and traditions that govern Britains constitutional monarchy dictate that the sovereign must stay out of partisan politics, but Charles has spent a lot of his adult life speaking from issues that are essential to him, specially the environment.

His words have caused friction with politicians and business leaders who accused the then-Prince of Wales of meddling in issues which he must have remained silent.

The question is whether Charles will observe his mothers example and muffle his personal opinions given that he could be king, or use his new platform to attain a broader audience.

My entire life will, needless to say, change when i use up my new responsibilities, Charles said. It’ll no more be easy for me to provide so a lot of my time and energies to the charities and issues that I care so deeply. But I understand this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others.

The king has been clear he intends to lose fat the monarchy, limiting the amount of working royals and reducing the trouble of supporting them.

But also for 10 days, Britain spared no expense since it honored Elizabeth, who became a comforting symbol of stability on the tumultuous years of her long reign.

All of the spectacle that has been synonymous with the royals was on display as uniformed members of the royal family walked solemnly behind a gun carriage carrying the queens coffin from Buckingham Palace, cannons and church bells sounded in lament and world leaders filled Westminster Abbey on her behalf funeral.

Nonetheless it was pageantry with an objective, celebrating the queens life while also reminding the general public of the monarchys role in public areas life and linking individuals to the royal family within their time of shared grief.

People often criticize the British monarchy as well as laugh at it as pomp and circumstance and emptiness, said historian Robert Lacey, writer of Majesty: Elizabeth II and the home of Windsor.

Well, a celebration such as this shows its not emptiness, that the pomp and circumstance means something.

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Follow all AP stories on the death of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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