King Charles’ ‘Stable’ First 18 Months On The Throne Despite Health Setbacks

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King Charles' 'Stable' First 18 Months On The Throne Despite Health Setbacks

At 75, King Charles has shown that even in the adversity of poor health, he remains serious and passionate about the job he’s spent his lifetime training for.

“Workaholic” Charles, as his wife Queen Camilla calls him, has spent the past year and a half launching himself into his kingly role, at a time when many his age may be slowing down and enjoying retirement.

His prostate procedure in January and now ongoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer have prevented him from carrying out public-facing duties. The King has been advised to cancel and postpone public engagements, but I can’t imagine Charles sitting still for long and we know that he is continuing to review his red boxes, hold weekly audiences with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and attend Privy Council meetings. He is quietly getting on with his paperwork in the background.

The start of Charles’ reign saw him put his slimmed-down monarchy into practice, carry out state visits to Germany and France, plus a tour to Kenya, and host heads of states from South Africa and South Korea, all while grieving his mother in private.

His cancer diagnosis is the latest stumbling block in his reign, but Charles has proved he can weather many storms. 

Just two months after he became King, he was faced with a barrage of unflattering headlines thanks to the release of the fifth series of The Crown, which dredged up the War of the Waleses and many controversial moments such as Charles’ affair with Camilla. The show is exactly that, a drama based on historical events, but let’s not underestimate how many people take the TV script as gospel.

Then the following month, Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary aired, which again didn’t portray Charles and The Firm in the best light. And how can we forget the release of Harry’s tell-all memoir Spare, just four months into his father’s tenure?

But Charles stuck with his mantra “Keep Calm and Carry On” and continued to give 1000% to the Crown. He’s tried not to be too distracted by the goings-on across the pond, choosing to reference his younger son and daughter-in-law in public when it’s most necessary, such as in his first speech as King: “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

Despite his health setbacks, the King appears to be “doing well”.

“I think he’s doing pretty well – slow and steady, a stable hand on the tiller. And I think that’s what people want, they want to know that there’s stability there,” Juliet Rieden, editor-at-large of The Australian Women’s Weekly, told me when I asked her thoughts on Charles’ reign.

Juliet had the honour of interviewing Charles in Birkhall, Scotland back when he was the Prince of Wales. Like his mother, Charles has a great affinity with the Balmoral estate and he and Camilla are said to consider Birkhall, where they spent their honeymoon, their true marital home.

“It was amazing to interview Charles. It was extraordinary. We sat and talked in the gazebo in his garden. And he talked about everything – his time in Australia, how he felt about the various passions in his life, and his particular interest in environmentalism. He talked about his wife Camilla, what ‘a jolly good sort’ she was, and I could see how well they worked together and the strength of their relationship. 

“I got a real sense of how serious he is about his work, but also his sense of humour, and his humility. I was surprised at how humble he was. He would present ideas and then say, ‘Well, that’s what I think.’ He’s not didactic at all. He’s very personable, very warm, and friendly.

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