Here’s Why Some Brits are Unhappy With Charles as King

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jan 02, 2024

After Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept. 8, 2023, her son, Charles III, became Britain’s king. King Charles III, formerly known as the Prince of Wales, has worked closely with the public, establishing more than 20 charities over 40 years.

However, not everyone is happy with their king. His polling numbers have always been controversial. Why do some Brits oppose King Charles? Can he come back from these polarizing moments in his past? Let’s get into it.

The British Public Is Still Sore About Charles’ Affair

Probably the most obvious reason that Charles was less favored to be the next in line for the throne was because of the public’s affinity for the late Princess Diana. Diana, who once said she wanted to be the queen of people’s hearts, was treated poorly by Charles on several occasions.

Prince Charles And Princess Diana On Their Last Official Trip Together - A Visit To The Republic Of Korea (south Korea).they Are Attending A Presidential Banquet At The Blue House In Seoul

Source: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Charles III also had an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in 1986 while still married to Diana. The public, who is still very protective of Diana, is having a hard time forgiving Charles III for these actions.

Camilla Has Been a Polarizing Figure for Britain

A little less than a decade after Princess Diana’s death, Charles III married Camilla, thanks to the church updating its view of divorces and remarriages. Since Camilla was seen as part of the reason Charles’ first marriage ended, the public had much debate about what Camilla’s official title would be.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla on a walk

Source: Andy Gott/Flickr

In an interview with Brian Williams, Charles was asked, “Does the Duchess of Cornwall become Queen of England if and when you become the monarch?” The monarch answered, “That could be.” The public erupted in protest, and the palace responded by saying nothing had changed, and princess consort was still the intended title for Camilla. However, Camilla, who now has a popularity rating of 53%, was given the title of queen consort by the queen before her death.

The Public Favored One of His Sons to be King Over Him

Because the public struggled to forgive King Charles for his actions toward Diana, they favored the eldest son, Prince William. In a 2019 survey done by BMG Research (via the Independent), nearly half the British public wanted William and Princess Catherine to take the throne after the queen’s death.

Prince William And Kate Middleton wedding photo

Source: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0/Pixy

It also helps that William and Harry are the most liked royals, according to the Evening Standard. William is favored in Britain over Harry, who has stepped back from his royal duties with his wife, Meghan Markle.

Charles Is Known for His Ill Temper

While William has a great reputation among the British public, his father had one that soured the public’s opinion. Tom Bower describes Charles as being a petulant and uncaring person in his biography, “Rebel Prince.”

King Charles III delivering his first Christmas Speech on December 25, 2023

Source: The Royal Family Channel/YouTube

Behind closed doors, Charles could throw tantrums and rants that did more harm than good. When the public found out about these moments, his reputation didn’t win him any good graces.

The Public Has a Hard Time Connecting to the King

King Charles isn’t the warmest person, nor does he have the charm to carry him. Charles comes off as aloof and a “snob,” according to the New Yorker. While Charles was the first modern royal to push against protocol and proper behavior, he hasn’t lived up to the standards the public has for him.

King Charles III with the public

Source: New Zealand Defence Force/Wikimedia Commons

While William and Harry have been able to carry some of the charm that Princess Diana had, Charles has some work to do. It doesn’t help that he is still grumbling in public when Camilla takes time to chat with the public.


Charles’ Reputation Is His Biggest Downfall

Given Charles’ “bad boy” reputation, many Brits were concerned that he wouldn’t perform well in the role. The role of a reigning monarch is a serious title that holds a lot of power and responsibility.

His Majesty King Charles III hosts a reception at Buckingham Palace for Heads of State and overseas visitors, 18th September 2022

Source: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office/Flickr

However, Charles, who is now 75 years old, has had time to think about what being a king of Britain would look like. He had been taking on more responsibilities as Queen Elizabeth got older. If Charles balances tradition and innovation well, he could be remembered as a good king.


The British Tabloids Haven’t Helped Charles’ Reputation

While Charles has a few charities that he has helped develop over the years, his self-created scandals and the negative details of his life often get put into the spotlight. Charles has done good for the public, often fighting to protect the environment.

King Charles III standing in front of a crowd of people

Source: CC BY-NC-SA

However, the British tabloids don’t sell magazines with good deeds gracing the headlines. The negative press often sells the best, and Charles seems to have a lot of that piled up against him.


Charles’ Reign Will Be Short Compared to the Late Queen’s

As I mentioned before, Charles is 75 years old. The public fears that he won’t rule for long, which could cause some uncertainty about the strength of the crown. For comparison, Queen Elizabeth II became queen when she was 25 years old and died at the age of 96.

Queen Elizabeth II presents Prince Charles, Prince of Wales with the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show on May 18, 2009 in London. The Victoria Medal of Honour is the highest accolade that the Royal Horticultural Society can bestow.

Source: Sang Tan/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Charles will have a much shorter reign, lacking the consistency that the country needs to put their faith and trust in the throne.


Charles Hasn’t Been Very Loyal

Unfortunately, it might be hard to get the public on board for Charles’ short reign. Due to his infidelity with Camilla against the People’s Princess, the public took the affair to heart and saw him as disloyal to women, the crown, and the public.

King Charles III coronations in Britain

Source: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office/Twitter/Wikimedia Commons

While it was the best decision for Charles, the people had a bad taste in their mouths. How could a man without loyalty do what is best for Britain?


Charles’ Popularity Is on the Rise

In a YouGov survey taken after the queen’s death, King Charles III’s popularity skyrocketed. 61% of people believe that Charles will do a good job as the king. This number is shocking. Why? In a previous poll by YouGov, Charles sat at 31%.

William, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Queen Consort, look on as King Charles III attends his proclamation as King during the accession council on September 10, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. His Majesty The King is proclaimed at the Accession Council in the State Apartments of St James's Palace, London. The Accession Council, attended by Privy Councillors, is divided into two parts. In part I, the Privy Council, without The King present, proclaims the Sovereign and part II where The King holds the first meeting of His Majesty's Privy Council. The Accession Council is followed by the first public reading of the Principal Proclamation read from the balcony overlooking Friary Court at St James's Palace. The Proclamation is read by the Garter King of Arms, accompanied by the Earl Marshal, other Officers of Arms and the Serjeants-at-Arms.

Source: Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

This jump in popularity came after his first speech as king, which put confidence in the public that he could be a good leader in the wake of his mother’s death.


Could King Charles Be a Good King? 

Despite this rise in popularity, it is hard to look back at Charles’ history — one that has made him a controversial figure in Britain — and question if he will be a good king for the people. However, King Charles’ reign is off to a decent start. Rather than throwing his mother’s neutrality to the side in favor of his efforts, he has accepted the boundaries that come with his title.

His Majesty King Charles III stands beside an ancient oak tree in Windsor Great Park to mark his appointment as Ranger of the Park, on November 11, 2022 in Windsor, United Kingdom. The tree that His Majesty is pictured under is one of many veteran and ancient Oak and Beech trees that make Windsor one of the largest and most important collections in North Europe. The continuity of Royal patronage of the Great Park for nearly a 1,000 years had led to the preservation and stewardship of this extra collection of trees.

Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Time will tell how the public looks at Charles, but the recent numbers, lack of scandals, and the possible reconnection with one of his sons could bring him into a positive light for the first time.