A recent Angus Reid survey revealed that 42% of Britons would prefer Prince William to succeed Queen Elizabeth II. While 36% prefer Prince Charles to succeed.
This question, usually raised during significant birthday's (such as the Queen's 80th), significant deaths (Diana), or just because, is no more than a harmless pastime for people. Especially those who do not seem to understand how the succession to the British throne works. For those who should know (such as professional royal watchers), they either genuinely don't know or choose to ignore it because it's newsworthy to discuss this non-issue.
So, let me state categorically, for the record, that barring any tragedy (i.e. should Prince Charles succumb to an unfortunate skiing, polo, gardening, or watercolor painting accident), he will succeed the Queen as the next King. No Angus Reid poll, heated message board discussions, or your personal opinion on the matter will change that. You can quote me on it and even tell people that you heard it here first. I don't mind at all.
Now, admittedly, there isn't much of a difference between the two percentages. The remaining shares are made up of people who either don't mind (15%) or don't care (7%). One would think that the amount of people who don't mind or don't care, should be significantly larger than this. After all, whether one or the other or neither suceed has no bearing on our lives. Prince William would look better on the coins and stamps, but in all honesty, that's really about the only advantage.
Should Prince William by-pass Charles, we wouldn't have to deal with questions regarding Camilla's title, Charles' suitability, and potentially the length of Charles' reign should the Queen live as long as her mother did (Note: The Queen Mother died at the age of 101). All those interesting questions would be replaced by what William and his consort will wear, maybe even whether William, depending on how young he is, is up to the job himself.
Commentators will discuss duty and the sacrifice William will make, as they did when his grandmother came to the throne at the age of 25. The beautiful princess, not yet married five years, with two small children, prematurely burdened by the weight of office. Yet, for all of this discussion, and after a long line of aged King's, people no doubt welcomed having a young and glamourous sovereign.
Maybe these redundant polls are a sign of people's focus on appearances and desire for some glamour. Prince William, bursting with vitality and his mother's looks, trumps Prince Charles regardless of his age. And unlike an elderly King, a young and handsome sovereign with a beautiful consort sells more souvenirs.
Regardless of the facts, people will still play this game. And like it or not, the answer will remain the same. So, upon the death of the Queen, long live the King.
Whoever that happens to be.
© Marilyn Braun 2007
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