The Queen of England has passed today and it appears that Prince Charles will assume the throne. Will this have any practical effect on their governing or nothing more than a change of figurehead? Is it like the THE WHO's lyric "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" ?

QUESTION: Will the crowning of King Charles have any practical effect on UK government?

  • 2
    We already have a question about the political powers of the British monarch. Nothing about that changes now that the United Kingdom has a new monarch.
    – Philipp
    Sep 8, 2022 at 21:49
  • 6
    "it appears that Prince Charles will assume the throne": he has already become king, instantaneously and automatically, at the moment of his mother's death.
    – phoog
    Sep 8, 2022 at 21:56
  • 2
    @phoog In fairness, in the case of a breaking news story it is appropriate to use hedging language because, for example, media accounts could be mistaken about what really happened. It wouldn't have been the first time that news reports declared someone to be dead prematurely, although, a couple of hours later, it seems increasingly clear that the account was correct.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 8, 2022 at 23:51
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    More deeply, since QEII has been a steady hand as a monarch for 70 years, there is some lack of clarity as to how much conventional wisdom about what a monarch does is personal to her and how much is attributable to the institution. Charles III doesn't have to follow all of the conventions that QEII did and there are usually some shifts between monarchs regarding the individual's role in the institution that have been forgotten since it hasn't happened for such a long time.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 8, 2022 at 23:58
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    @BradV What might happen is pure speculation. We generally do not allow speculative questions on this website.
    – Philipp
    Sep 9, 2022 at 7:00

2 Answers 2


Very little.

Bits of paperwork will need to be amended: It is now "His Majesty's Government" and so forth

There are transitional matters to arrange. The funeral and coronation are state affairs and are organised by the government - and of course members of the government will not be doing other business when they are attended these events.

The Queen has a weekly audience with the Prime Minister. It is clear that she has not always been well enough to receive the Prime Minister. Surely the King will want to hold these meetings.

Other matters which had been done by her household or by members of her family will now be done in person by the King. The King will open parliament but he already did this. Next time, he gets to wear the silly hat crown.

Similarly, the government uses the royals to project soft power: "Be nice to Britain, and we'll let your head of government have dinner with the King". (Trump, for example was flattered by having a State reception with the Queen). The Queen has been too unwell in recent months to attend such events - which were anyway impossible during the pandemic. The new King can resume a more active diplomatic role.

Finally, Charles has different priorities and interests from Elizabeth. He is personally much more concerned about the environment, for example.

This is not like the Who lyric, because there is no claim of being radically different. The Who are criticising politicians who claim to represent radical change, but do nothing. The monarchy represents continuity not change.

  • 1
    That's actually significant.
    – alamar
    Sep 12, 2022 at 8:54
  • Will Charles's priorities actually affect the government? There's not much evidence that the late Queen's interests affected government policy.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 12, 2022 at 10:17

Yes but the difference is soft power rather than hard. The Queen, by dint of her long reign and association with meeting with a great many important figures of the past century meant that she was a significant draw for many around the world. Whether you're the President of the US, the Chancellor of Germany, or the Sultan of Brunei, meeting Queen Elizabeth II carried a significance that meeting other royalty around the world didn't to the same extent. King Charles III does not have the same level of cachet that the Queen had, and is unlikely to develop it during his remaining lifespan.

This made the Queen a more powerful tool of diplomacy than King Charles III will be, and that loss of power will weaken the UK's ability to project influence overseas. It is also likely that some of the remaining Commonwealth Realms (those which still have the British monarch as head of state, not to be confused with the wider group of Commonwealth Countries) will change to being Republics now that the Queen has died; this will also reduce British influence.

Of course, we shouldn't exaggerate the importance of this. The UK's influence around the world is grounded much more in it's economy, military, history, and alliances than it is in the Monarchy.

In terms of day-to-day matters, most differences are mere trivia, but it is notable that the PM still meets with the Monarch weekly. What happens at these meetings is entirely secret, but various PMs have commented on the value of these meetings with the Queen, and some of that comes from the Queen's wisdom and knowledge from the decades of these meetings. King Charles III will not have the same experience to draw on, nor are his words likely to carry the same weight with the PM. However, because of the private nature of these meetings it is completely unclear what level of difference this will make.

  • Arguably the UK had already lost those benefits (with the Queen's ailing health making her unavailable for audiences, whether with foreign dignitaries or the PM,) and as such the crowning of the new King will be an improvement in those respects even if they fall short of what the Queen offered at her height.
    – Gene
    Sep 14, 2022 at 21:38

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