Prince Charles has been preparing for the day that he’ll become king since the day he was born, and as his mother and current monarch Queen Elizabeth’s health is not what it once was, that day may soon be upon him. There are some common misconceptions about what the death of the current monarch means for the heir to the throne and what happens in the immediate aftermath. We’ve got the answers about what happens to Charles after the death of the queen.
Queen Elizabeth’s Health Means All Eyes On Prince Charles
Preparations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebration are well underway, but Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has been plagued with a bevy of health concerns over the last few months that have cast a subdued pall over the country as she continues to pull out of public events.
While the queen was present at her late husband Prince Philip’s Thanksgiving service earlier in the month, special concessions had to be made so the queen, who reportedly suffers from mobility issues, was able to attend. As she continues her recuperation after contracting COVID-19, her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles has stepped up to take over more duties and public events from the queen. This is just preparation for his own future, which looks like it will take place in the not-so-distant future.
When Does Charles Become King?
The very moment that Queen Elizabeth passes away, Prince Charles will become king. While some incorrectly believe Charles will only become king once he’s been proclaimed so by the Accession Council or until he is crowned at his coronation, but according to the old British law, ‘Rex nunquam moritur,” or, if your Latin isn’t that great, the translation, “The king never dies.” This doesn’t mean that the monarch reigns even after death, but is more an acknowledgment that while the monarch might die, the government must continue on.
Will Charles’ Name Change Once He’s King?
Upon becoming king, Charles will have the option to change his name. He may choose to reign as King Charles III, though there are some negative connotations with that name thanks to one of Charles’ ancestors, another King Charles. The first British king of that name, whose rule began in 1625, dismissed the Parliament for a little over a decade during his time on the throne, ushering in what was then called the ‘eleven years’ tyranny.”
Other British monarchs have used other names upon ascending the throne, like King Edward VII and King Edward VIII, known by close family and friends as Albert and David respectively. Charles’ full Christian name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he could theoretically choose any one of those.
What Happens To Prince Of Wales Title?
Once he’s king, Charles will no longer have the title Prince of Wales, though it’s not yet been determined if his own heir, Prince William, will receive the title in his stead. “Prince of Wales” is not a hereditary title, unlike the title of Duke of Cornwall and the Duchy of Cornwall which William will inherit. Charles, as king, would decide if the title of Prince of Wales would be passed on to William.
The death of Queen Elizabeth will usher in a lot of changes all at once for the royal family and though it’s a moment that Prince Charles and William have spent their lives preparing for, meeting that moment is another thing entirely. We hope there will be many more years yet before Charles picks up his mother’s mantle.
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