King Charles' debut as monarch was mixed last year. This was due to several aspects.
For one thing, his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was more popular than almost any monarch before her. For decades it shaped the image of the "company" and at some points distracted from the fact that many people find the monarchy as an outdated concept.
Charles' first few months as king were also marked by the family feud of the royals. His own son, Prince Harry, raised allegations against the new king and especially against his wife Camilla.
And last but not least, many Britons are currently fighting the consequences of the long-lasting pandemic and Brexit. The "cost-of-living-crisis" is causing problems for the country's citizens. Groceries are getting more expensive, heating costs are skyrocketing. An expensive monarchy seems inappropriate for some Britons.
But with his appearance in Germany, the new king should have won back some sympathy - at least among the Germans. Because both in Berlin and in Hamburg, the monarch was down-to-earth and close to the people.
It all started right at the Brandenburg Gate, after Charles and Camilla were welcomed there by Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender. Without much theatrics, the royals then approached the waiting onlookers, shook hands and spoke to the happy fans. Charles, who has known for years that the British monarchy is in dire need of rejuvenation, presented himself as a down-to-earth royal. This is not only well received by the German Royal supporters.
Both in the evening at the state banquet and in his speech in the Bundestag, the king showed typical British humor. Although he emphasized the friendship between Germany and Great Britain, he also said: "As is usual among good friends, the cordiality of our relationship sometimes allows a small smile at the other." The fact that the English women's national soccer team had defeated the Germans at the European Championship was all the more special because of the great rivalry.
Great Britain and Germany are also closely connected when it comes to literature and music. "In a few weeks at the coronation we will hear great works by George Frideric Handel, who was born German and died British," said Charles. However, he emphasized with a smile that younger generations would think more of the Beatles and Kraftwerk than of Brahms or Byron. The monarch also mentioned that Britons really appreciate Berlin for its nightlife. Also on "Dinner for One" came Charles III. and said with a grin that the skit "hopefully doesn't represent an accurate picture of modern Britain".
Charles was also relaxed and approachable in Hamburg. He and his wife Camilla took the ICE to the Hanseatic city. Arriving at Dammtor station, the two were greeted by a drizzle. No problem for the king, the two pulled out the umbrellas themselves. While the queen was still holding the umbrella, Charles and Camilla held it themselves.
At the Dammtor, too, the two of them gave a damn about the protocol and the strict schedule. Instead of getting into their luxury car, they also greeted the waiting fans in Hamburg. Words were exchanged and even small gifts were accepted.
King Charles III and wife Camilla are not as glamorous as William and Kate. And they don't have Hollywood glitz like Harry and Meghan either. But in Germany, the two showed something that is perhaps even more important in the end: they are likeable, funny and approachable. This bodes well for the future of the British monarchy.
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