Will Prince Charles be an authentic leader?
After a decade-long battle with the Guardian, Prince Charles’ ‘spider memos’ are finally going to be published today. They reveal correspondences between the prince and members of Parliament between 2004 and 2005, when Tony Blair was in power. There were many controversial things that happened during Blair’s tenure, not least of which the war in Iraq.
So what’s the big deal? Well, it’s well known that the royal family are not allowed to vote and the queen in particular must demonstrate political neutrality. It is tradition, however, for the newly elected Prime Minister to have an audience with the queen where she will ask him or her to form a new government. She meets with the Prime Minister frequently, as you’ll know if you saw The Queen or the critically acclaimed The Audience in the West End. For over sixty years, Elizabeth II has been Britain’s head of state and seen many changes over the years. Nevertheless, her position of neutrality, coupled with many years of democratic experience, gives the queen the unique position of being able to offer sound advice to the current Prime Minister.
Charles, it is well known, has been second in line to the throne for an unbearably long time. His road to monarch has not been easy but he has, in the past few years, improved his public image (after the post-Diana years) and taken on more duties as the queen gets older. The revelation that he had a hand in government, was able to influence politicians, is a little alarming. The modern monarchy are certainly different to their forebears, and the queen now even has Twitter. However, at the beginning of David Cameron’s second term as Prime Minister, and not to mention the timely addition of another baby in line to the throne, Prince Charles must demonstrate that he is above the crowd and able to rule (should the opportunity arise) with humility and indifference to the changing British political landscape.
Everyone has opinions, and it is most likely that Prince Charles, at the right hand of his mother, is more clued-up on what goes on in government than most. But to lead, he must be authentic. There is no doubt that the queen possesses the qualities of an authentic leader; I doubt there are many other people who could go about their duties and live under as much scrutiny as she has endured for over half a century. Charles, with his son and grandson set to follow in his footsteps, must set an example for them to follow. The monarchy will always be at the pinnacle of British society, but to endure, they most not upset the apple-cart.