Prince Charles Has 'Stage Fright' Over Being King

Tina Brown, royal author and former editor of Vanity Fair, has spoken of her belief that Prince Charles is experiencing stage fright over becoming king.

In an on-stage discussion as part of the Hay Festival in connection to her recently published book The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor, the Truth and the Turmoil, Brown provided an assessment of Charles as the day he becomes king draws inevitably closer.

"Now that the moment is nearing," she told her audience. "I do think that he has a certain amount of stage fright."

Prince Charles Tina Brown Stage Fright King
Tina Brown (inset) says she believes Prince Charles has a "certain amount of stage fright" over becoming king. Charles photographed June 3, 2022. Brown photographed May 4, 2022. Daniel Leal/WPA Pool/Getty Images/David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

She continued: "I actually think he is going to be a very successful transitional monarch in a sense. 'Charles the Green,' you know, he comes in at a time where his particular passions and interests actually do drive with the existential threat of climate change, so it's a good moment if you like for him to be coming in."

For Brown, though Charles could never hope to inspire the same sense of public feeling as his mother, this does not mean he won't be able to unite people behind him.

She explained: "I think he's going to be a sort of great convener in a way. He won't be the sort of great representational monarch that the queen's been and he won't have anything like her mystique but he can I think be a convener and start the modernization and process of getting things really ready for the next long reign which will be William's."

Brown's comments come after an unprecedented period which has seen Charles suddenly take on more official responsibility than he ever has. Since the queen suffered a series of health scares last fall and continues to battle with what Buckingham Palace has called "episodic mobility problems," Charles has found himself becoming the public face of the working monarchy.

Prince Charles Parliament Queen's Speech May 2022
Prince Charles reads the queen's speech at the State Opening of Parliament, May 10, 2022. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The most prominent royal duty that Charles has stepped in to represent the queen at was the State Opening of Parliament in May. This is one of the primary functions of a constitutional monarch and, unable to attend due to mobility issues, the queen arranged for Charles, alongside William, to attend in her place. It was left to Charles to read the queen's speech.

Seeing Charles in this capacity, in the place where the queen has traditionally always been, has been viewed by some as a conscious element of the transition of power from one reign to the next. With the queen reigning for 70 years, the concept of a monarchy without Elizabeth II is alien to many.

The Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June again saw Charles step in to represent his mother at the main events. He oversaw the Trooping the Colour parade, was the most senior royal in attendance at the national service of thanksgiving and took the salute from regiments during the jubilee pageant outside Buckingham Palace.

Though Charles' image makeover from son in the shadow of the crown to confident monarch may be a lengthy process, it is the strength of his conviction in causes passionate to him which he has championed for many years that will hold the key to his success, according to Brown.

In The Palace Papers, the author writes: "For years, it looked as if the Prince of Wales would be but a husk of history by the time he became king. But in a miraculous accident of timing, he will ascend the throne at a moment that uniquely calls on his lifelong passion to save the planet.

"However muddied by scandal the crown he inherits may be, the power to convene is an undimmed royal prerogative, and Charles will use it, even as he will have to muzzle his well-known opinions."

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