Leading article Australia

Charles threatens the Crown

1 February 2020

9:00 AM

1 February 2020

9:00 AM

Australia’s constitutional monarchy, much like Canada’s, is one of the great success stories to have grown out of the British imperial and colonial era. It is a unique system that would have been impossible to invent from scratch: a constitutional monarch who can never be a threat to the political order because not only does he or she never participate in daily political debate within a country because he or she lacks the power, but just as importantly because he or she doesn’t actually live in the country. As Canada’s The Globe and Mail recently editorialised in the kerfuffle over Harry and Meghan’s mooted move to Vancouver: The Canadian monarchy is virtual; it neither rules nor resides. Our royals don’t live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths.

Critical to the public’s acceptance of this arrangement, both here and in Canada, is the notion of a monarch whose sole job is to be a figurehead to protect the Constitution and who has no role in domestic or international politics. At the end of the day, Australians (and presumably Canadians) are prepared to tolerate the concept of an hereditary, non-indigenous monarch, and all the trappings that this entails, such as royal visits, as a necessary compromise in order to preserve the monarch’s independence from the political process. No other system in the world guarantees this independence to such a successful degree. Indeed, so abhorrent to the public is the concept of a politicised head of state that against all media predictions in 1999 the supposedly ‘pro-republican’ Australian public opted overwhelmingly to keep the stuffy old scandal-prone Windsors rather than risk a Turnbull-Keating Republic of the Elites being foisted upon them. (As Speccie columnist David Flint has been known to occasionally point out.)

In the past few weeks Prince Charles, and to a lesser degree his two sons, has stupidly and arrogantly threatened this arrangement. Prince Charles’ behaviour in particular now poses a grave threat to our constitutional monarchy.

The Prince of Wales has always been an eccentric character, lacking personal charisma. His misguided comments on homeopathy, his contemptuous treatment of Diana, his fondness for conversing with plants and his smug self-importance have long been irritating, but the assumption has always been that he would eventually settle into the more mature role the Queen’s death will require. That still may be the case. But the signs are not hopeful.

Cavorting around Davos with the rich and the powerful last week (a mistake in itself), Prince Charles made a bee-line for Greta Thunberg, the most divisive political figure in the world today – the anti-Trump teenage messiah of the sinister ideological and political movement that Rebecca Weisser this week quite rightly equates with communism: climatism.

In doing so, the Prince of Wales has committed himself to promoting a global political movement whose superstitious doom-mongering and radical economic goals are anathema to the Westminster democratic system. Activist and anarchist movement Extinction Rebellion, much favoured by the young Swedish lass and the group arguably pulling her strings, are of their own admission working to overthrow Western capitalism and replace it with global socialist totalitarianism in order to ‘save the planet’. Not since the Duke of Windsor flirted with fascism back in the 1930s has a member of the royal family so closely aligned himself with a dangerous and deluded political movement.

It is unacceptable for Prince Charles to terrify his future subjects with inane timetables predicting the end of the world and to call for abstract ‘action’ (i.e. higher taxes, higher electricity bills, punitive regulations, lower living standards etc.) to be taken in the name of climate change. Similarly, it is unacceptable for Princes William and Harry to cosy up to the likes of Sir David Attenborough and pay lip service to the climate change narrative. First and foremost, it is not their role to advocate for what ultimately are political solutions to any perceived environmental threats. And secondly, what happens when, as is likely, his subjects realise that his scaremongering was misplaced and the planet is not at great risk and that changes in climate are not ameliorated by radical changes to our energy supplies? As with all political figures who have made predictions that prove to be false, the Windsor brand will be a laughing-stock.

The Queen must act swiftly to bring her son and two grandsons into line. They have waded into treacherous political waters. Of all the voices we hear on the ideology of climate change, the one voice we should never hear from is the one that sits on the throne.

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