Recent polls have shown that support for the Prince of Wales becoming king is constantly on the increase and at the moment is riding higher than support for the Duke of Cambridge succeeding after Her Majesty. It is an interesting point of discussion for constitutionalists, royalists and many others alike as to whether ‘skipping’ Prince Charles would be conceivable or indeed possible.
To start with it’s worth noting that Monarchy isn’t a popularity contest. The fact that there is a fixed line of succession is what makes it a Monarchy and to deviate from that, regardless of intention, would undoubtably cause questioning over the succession altogether. Why have a Monarchy if you’re going to choose the heir?
Next we have the problem of whether it can actually be done. The answer to this is in fact a surprising yes. It is a well established fact that Parliament controls the succession to the crown and that Parliament can legislate for anything under a doctrine known as Parliamentary supremacy. It is, therefore, not The Queen who determines who succeeds her but Parliament.
However, it is not just constitutional points which would create problems in a move to pass over the Prince of Wales. There is also the issue of whether Prince William is ready to succeed to the throne. The general consensus is that William, and his wife, needs more time. Currently, they don’t have any experience of being a full time working royal and limited experience of state affairs, which his eventual time as heir to the throne will give him the chance to learn about. The Prince of Wales, on the other hand, has been training for the role for over 60 years and has a deep understanding of the affairs of state.
Being king is a no mean feat, despite what republicans would say of the role of the Monarch. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will surely be thankful for the extra time they’ll have together before taking the reigns eventually.
If Prince William succeeded The Queen we’d also then have the problem of an infant heir. That is to say, if anything did happen to the Duke, it would be Prince George who succeeded and an infant King is never good for any Monarchy as history shows and doubtless, even less good in Monarchy in the 21st century.
Whilst opinion on Prince Charles can often vary year on year there is no doubt about his commitment. Despite what people say, he genuinely cares about the country he lives in (and will one day reign over) – he doesn’t just sit idly back whilst the world moves around him, he involves himself heavily in charity work and his passion for the environment and other important causes mean he’s using his position for good – there are many of his predecessors of whom that could not be said.
In conclusion, it’s fair to say whilst popularity may swing in favour of Prince William becoming king, the number of problems likely to be encountered in such a move outweigh possible benefits for Monarchy by a long shot.