The newly crowned King Charles III is going to have to make some important decisions about how to run the family business.
- King Charles III was crowned in the United Kingdom on Saturday following the passing of his mother Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday.
- The future of the monarchy and its business interests now depend on Charles, who is forced to forge ahead a new direction for the family business, which controls some $28 billion in assets.
- “[Elizabeth has] been the chairwoman, CEO, not the founder. We can’t say that. But she’s got 1,000 years before her stretching out. But yeah, and that’s quite a good way to look at it, is that she at a time when the firm was struggling with its identity, scrambling for a place in itself in the world, she overhauled the image and fixed the roof basically,” says Wall Street Journal contributor Max Colchester.
Why it’s important
Charles’ decisions in how he sets the tone for the royal family will affect not only the perception of the royal family but affect the British economy and monarch’s ability to express his influence across the world.
As we reported last week, Charles will be inheriting the bulk of Queen Elizabeth’s personal fortune. The royal family maintains its revenue through a series of trusts and real-estate investments that draw in
“The Royal family makes money from real estate and other investments, but most of their costs are covered by UK taxpayers. Last year, the bill came to over 86 million pounds,” says WSJ contributor Ryan Knutson.
Backing up a bit
Queen Elizabeth II was famous for staying out of politics and world events and built a popularity rating of 75% as a result of that, something he doesn’t share as an outspoken partisan on issues like climate change. He only has 42% approval.
“He has used his time awaiting power to effectively campaign on issues ranging from climate change to the way that businesses handle themselves… And he won’t be able to basically copy his mother who rose above all this stuff by not saying very much and being completely uncontroversial,” says Colchester.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it is likely Charles will continue the family’s business as usual as the monarchy still has the British public’s goodwill.
“Will [the royal family] become a more European style monarchy with a more low-key setup with a monarch who is sort of doesn’t play such a big part in the day-to-day life or in constitutional life and is cheaper to run, a smaller, cheaper monarchy done in a European start? Maybe that’ll happen one day. But right now, I think the attachment to monarchy and to the legacy of Queen Elizabeth means that does not look likely.”
Charle is already facing pressure from within his own country and from commonwealth countries as the new face of the royal family to face the public as a part of the British social fabric, a symbol of political power, and a draw for tourism and tabloid fascination.
The monarchy has faced criticism in recent months for its perception of being an outgrowth of British colonialism and a remnant of the old British Empire. Many public figures and activists have gone as far as to call for the abolition of the monarchy, and protests in former British colonies like Belize have made their resentment toward the monarchy clear.