OPINION | Walking on eggshells: King Charles' monarchy and the significance of Ramaphosa's visit

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Cyril Ramaphosa and King Charles III.
Cyril Ramaphosa and King Charles III.
Photo: Aaron Chown - Pool /Getty Images

OPINION: While royalists continue to question King Charles III's newer, more modern monarchy, his state visit with President Cyril Ramaphosa would have put the royal family in good standing.


As the UK announced a new set of health and science partnerships with South Africa on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Kew Gardens and the Francis Crick Institute with Prince Edward.

Not only did the environmental engagements highlight the work and interests of the "green king", while Charles himself acknowledged Britain's role in South Africa's history that "provoke[s] profound sorrow," it also spoke volumes of his newer, more modern monarchy.

"Of course, that relationship goes back centuries. While there are elements of that history which provoke profound sorrow, it is essential that we seek to understand them. As I said to Commonwealth leaders earlier this year, we must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future."
-- King Charles III during his speech at the state banquet for President Cyril Ramaphosa

Following his request to include both Prince Edward and Princess Anne in his Counsellors of State – those who will stand in his place should he be unable to carry out his duties as monarch – with Princes Andrew and Harry taking a step back from their royal roles, it's evident who the king wants to see in his corner as he takes the monarchy forward.

In the final years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, she'd already passed on many royal roles and patronages to her son, as well as grandson and now, Prince of Wales, Prince William. Royalists say Charles has also tapped the queen's only daughter Princess Anne to take on a more significant role within the institution.

Wednesday's engagements, as well as his appearance at the upcoming Royal Variety Performance on behalf of the king, secures Prince Edward's future in the firm. This, despite ongoing confusion around the Duke of Edinburgh title, as many wonder whether Charles will honour his parents' wish to pass on the honour once held by Prince Philip to the queen's youngest son with the king pushing for a slimmed-down monarchy.

With the added pressure from the press, it was the idea of the rumoured slimmed-down monarchy that prompted Harry and Meghan's subsequent exit, which has seen dwindling support over recent years as Charles, forever remembered for his betrayal of Diana, would one day take the throne.

"I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas."
-- King Charles III was thought to have been extending an olive branch to his son in his first address to the nation

YouGov data indicates that while the new king is a long way from gaining his mother's popularity, it has increased ever so slightly following his accession to the throne, even if he has, in light of recent events, been walking on eggshells.   

READ NEXT | How does King Charles like his eggs? The answer is more complicated than you think


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