This week marks the first anniversary of King Charles III’s reign, which has been marked by a peaceful transition from that of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The anniversary, which falls on the same day of his mother’s death at the age of 96, is anticipated to be observed discreetly on Friday.
Charles, 74, has seemingly eased into his new role after a 70-year wait as her heir – the longest in British history.
Despite expectations of reform, Philip has struggled to make significant changes to the monarchy, fueling notions that he is only acting as a caretaker until his eldest son and heir, Prince William, takes over.
“I think the transition has been much smoother than was anticipated,” Pauline Maclaran, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, told AFP.
On May 6, Charles and Camilla were crowned in front of monarchs and world leaders at London’s Westminster Abbey.
The grandiose ceremony followed centuries-old procedures, but it was shorter and less elaborate than his mother’s in 1953, with the goal of being more symbolic of modern Britain.
“I think we can expect maybe small changes, but he is really paving the way for William, and I imagine William will be the real moderniser of the monarchy,” Maclaran said.
In terms of popularity, Charles trails his late mother and 41-year-old William, but his approval rating has increased significantly since his ascension.
According to YouGov polls, 55 percent of Britons approve of their new president, up from 44 percent a year ago.
His first televised Christmas Day broadcast — a traditional message to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, which he also leads — drew a record 10.6 million people in the United Kingdom.
As king, Charles has traveled about the country several times, typically accompanied by Camilla, and has generally appeared more accessible and approachable than Elizabeth II.
“Even the photos that they (the palace) released, official photos, are a lot more relaxed,” said Jonathan Spangler, a history lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“There is a bit more humanity,” he said, adding that Charles “is more aware that these things need to be done”.
According to Maclaran, Charles has demonstrated himself to be “humble and accessible” at a time when Britain is experiencing the biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation.
She said that his sole public image hitch thus far was his irritation with a leaky pen after the ceremonial meeting announcing his accession.
According to Anna Whitelock, a monarchy historian, while there was no “major error,” there was also no “defining moment” during his reign.
“Big questions remain: how is he going to respond to calls around an apology over colonial legacy? The whole question about exemptions from taxation?” she added.
Meanwhile, the pro-republic movement, which advocates for an elected head of state, has taken the opportunity to reignite debate about the constitutional future of the British royal family, which had been stifled by public sympathy for the ailing queen.
On his trips, Charles has frequently been met with anti-monarchy banners and slogans, and has even had eggs hurled at him.
The king, who is also the head of state of 14 Commonwealth nations other than the United Kingdom, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, has only paid one state visit, to Germany.
His first trip was supposed to be to France in March, but it was canceled due to strong protests against pension reforms in the country. The trip has been postponed until later this month.
According to reports, a significant international journey to enhance relations with the Commonwealth is in the plans.
However, Charles has met with foreign leaders such as US Vice President Joe Biden, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
While Elizabeth II was considered as particularly committed to the Commonwealth, a 56-nation organization of largely former British colonies, “the emphasis is global” for Charles, according to Spangler.
Closer to home, Charles has also had to handle the revelations in the tell-all memoir of his younger son Prince Harry.
He and his American wife Meghan also released a docu-series, lifting the lid on their reasons for quitting the royal family in 2020.
“Charles handled this very well. He didn’t start to cast blame or reply really. He stuck basically to the Queen’s mantra ‘never explain, never complain’ when the accusations came,” Maclaran said.
“I honestly don’t think the scandal has been any more damaging than what the monarchy has suffered many times before,” she added.