In the delicate world of British politics, there’s little room for missteps. Unfortunately, King Charles III’s first weekly meeting with Prime Minister Liz Truss had a distinctly awkward tone. The global press has been quick to condemn the new monarch for the interaction. Here’s why the king’s behavior is a bit more understandable than the media has made it out to be.
‘Back Again? Dear, Oh Dear’
In the political pair’s first weekly audience, King Charles greeted Liz Truss with the question “Back again?” followed by muttering “Dear, oh dear. Anyway…” Cameras captured the interaction in a short clip shared by the palace. Unfortunately, there isn’t much footage beyond the controversial greeting, so the public is working off of a limited scope of the meeting.
The press immediately linked the king’s apparent discontent with the backlash Truss has endured ever since taking office. Truss came under intense fire after announcing her controversial tax-cutting plan, followed by a weeks-long critique of Truss’ position as PM. So, it would seem like King Charles’ comments were just par for the course—he’s seemingly joining the chorus of dissenters against Truss. However, there’s a far more mundane and benign explanation that’s failed to make its way into circulation.
The Inevitability Of Human Error
To offer up an alternative outlook on the meeting, we need to put things into perspective. Ever since Queen Elizabeth’s passing, King Charles has been caught in a whirlwind. His tenure as the king of England has only just begun, and we’d assume he’s still adjusting to his new role in these sorts of meetings. His comments may have just been an attempt to relieve tension in an otherwise uneasy environment. Although considering the political climate surrounding Truss, it was poorly received.
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For Truss’ part, this was only her second meeting with Charles and third with any monarch altogether. Not to mention, she’s been ravaged by the national press in recent weeks, so it would be completely understandable if she was a bit timid going into the meeting.
Otherwise, the media has been quick to condemn both Charles and Truss. In contradiction with how the media received his comments, Charles was all smiles upon greeting the prime minister. Considering we weren’t able to listen in on the rest of their meeting, we have no idea what kind of tone it eventually took on.
Maybe it remained entirely cordial or maybe things became even more hostile than we could imagine—we just don’t know. While the press can condemn both parties for their own purposeful, explicit actions, all of this talk about “awkwardness” feels like a weak critique of the politician and monarch at best.