King Carlos III assumes the coronation with a fundamental challenge, to maintain the integrity of the crown and the United Kingdom.
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: ¿Podrá el Rey Carlos III mantener la unidad del Reino Unido?
The British monarchy has served as a uniting tool for the British. However, the country is experiencing a time of change, and the integrity of various countries, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, is always in question. Will the British monarch be essential to calm the pro-independence voices, or will he be a factor that precedes him?
The northernmost region of the British Isles is Scotland. A country dependent on London and that enjoys a certain degree of autonomy but that several of its citizens dream of being more significant. With its own culture and a feeling of independence and freedom.
In 2014 Scotland was given the chance to decide between staying within the UK or declaring independence from London. Finally, 55.3% of the voters opted for the first option. However, the desire to be a self-governing country was 44.7%, demonstrating the strong desire of the Scots for independence.
At the time, the main arguments for which the majority of Scots voted in favor of staying together with the British was to be able to continue using the pound sterling, defending and handling nuclear weapons, and remaining within organizations such as NATO and the European Union; and remain part of the Commonwealth of Nations. What at the time was an argument for the unionists was the permanence within the European Union; Today, it has become a nationalist argument. Although the majority of the population in Scotland voted to remain within the EU, in England and Wales, they won the exit. So a possible new independence referendum soon is not straightforward, but neither is it unexpected.
The figure of the crown was even transcendent within Scottish politics. During the referendum, both pro-British and pro-independence sought the support of Queen Elizabeth, regardless of whether Yes or No won, the majority of Scots. "Scotland will remain an institutional monarchy until its people want it," the Scottish government in the hands of the Scottish National Party said at the time of the referendum. Now, Carlos will have the challenge of maintaining that "bipartisan" support between nationalists and unionists.
The relationship between the crown and Northern Ireland is transcendental. One of the main reasons for the island's division is the identity feeling between Catholics and Anglicans. For the latter, staying in the UK and the crown are almost as important as their religion. This was one of the reasons the island entered a civil war, and to this day, it causes tensions.
Unlike how they see it in the former colonies and worldwide, Northern Irish people do not see the British crown as a symbol of oppression. On the contrary, it represents their identity and religious freedom within an environment of a Catholic majority. It is also here a place where Carlos III must maintain an important role. Beyond the permanence of Northern Ireland, the British king will have to maintain good relations with the Republic of Ireland and those nationalists who dream of an independent Ireland. In the future, another referendum asking Northern Irish whether they want independence, stay within the UK, or annexation to the Republic of Ireland is an option. By then, Carlos III's role will be decisive and able to tip the balance.
After Brexit (the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union), several critical voices became stronger within Northern Ireland, a territory that voted to remain in the regional group. It is the job of London and Charles III to try to calm these voices and advocate for British identity.
The Figure of the Monarchy as a Unit
The British crown managed to survive for centuries. This is no coincidence. Whatever the monarch at the head knows how to adapt to change and is the cause of the fact that the United Kingdom today is only made up of 4 countries (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Wales) and a few territories overseas (such as the Falkland Islands); the crown remains in force in 16 independent countries.
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From Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to Jamaica, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. This shows that today the crown transcends the Prime Minister and can unite its "subjects" although they operate as independent nations.
Carlos III will have the difficult task of not only maintaining the integrity of the British Commonwealth and the presence of the crown in its "territories" but also serving as an integrator within the United Kingdom. Regardless of whether the four nations claim their autonomy, the crown may help maintain the islands' peace and unity. This, with a popularity much lower than that of his mother. Last year, just after Elizabeth's death, the queen had 75% approval within the United Kingdom. The current king had only 42% at the time.
His failed marriage with Diana Spencer, his relationship with Camila Parker, and the family crisis with his son Harry, among other scandals, reveal the resistance that several Britons have to his figure. Also, according to YouGov, less than a third of the UK's young people (aged 18-24) support the crown, compared to 78% of those over 65. Carlos will have less favorable people, so he will have to generate trust and support among the youngest, which is challenging for an institution that has always found its strength in traditionalism.