King Charles gave away his environmental principles the second he became king

Something I think about a lot is how much time and energy the Tories have spent grooming Prince William into their future right-wing king. The Tories never really got their hands on King Charles in that way – while Charles has had Tory political operatives on his staff before, for years, he’s been associated with more progressive issues and he’s never been seen as some kind of de facto right-wing figure. On a personal level and private level, Charles is probably more apolitical than his critics give him credit for – he’s more interested in the trappings of being the king and he’ll do anything to not rock the boat. Which includes a dry recitation of Tories’ political goals in front of Parliament. Here’s some of the NYT’s coverage of the king’s speech on Tuesday:

King Charles III opened a session of Parliament on Tuesday for the first time as monarch, outlining the British government’s legislative priorities as part of a tradition-steeped ceremony that tested his skill at displaying the political neutrality for which his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was famous.

Drafted by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, but delivered by King Charles, the centerpiece speech is a constitutional oddity — and one with a particular twist this year, as the new sovereign read out a list of government bills that included some policies likely to be sharply at variance with his personal views.

Among those were Mr. Sunak’s plan to exploit more of Britain’s oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. Although the Conservative government argues that it will still meet its targets for Britain to become a net zero emitter of carbon dioxide by 2050, the decision to license more fossil fuel extraction has angered campaigners against climate change — a cause close to the king’s heart for decades.

Still, wearing the heavy, jewel-encrusted Imperial State Crown and seated on a throne, King Charles on Tuesday showed the poker face expected of a British monarch as he delivered the “King’s Speech,” an occasion famous less for politics than for protocol, elaborate royal regalia and intricate choreography. As he announced that one of the government’s bills “will support the future licensing of new oil and gas fields,” there was little hint of royal disapproval in his expression.

The sovereign’s speech to open Parliament “is an oddity we have kept because the ceremonial is part of the monarchy — but the speech itself is just the government setting out its policies. That’s where the weirdness originates,” said Catherine Haddon, program director at the Institute for Government, an independent think tank. The monarchy’s commitment to political neutrality was consolidated during Elizabeth’s reign, and “everything we have seen suggests that Charles is looking to show continuity,” Ms. Haddon said.

[From The NY Times]

Yep, after decades of polishing his environmental credentials, Charles folded like a cheap suit when confronted with the realities of “the job.” He’ll do anything to cling to whatever power he has, so drill baby drill. Heads he’s the Tories’ useful idiot, tails he’s an unprincipled hypocrite. Catherine Haddon’s explanation of the king’s speech is a perfect example of Britain’s circular logic when it comes to the monarchy too – Haddon is basically like, yes it’s weird that we expect an apolitical unelected monarch to recite one party’s political agenda in Parliament but that’s the way we’ve always done it and we expect it now so what can be done.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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