On Tuesday, for the first time as a monarch, King Charles III opened a session of the British Parliament with a speech that political analysts believe is largely inconsistent with the 74-year-old’s personal views.
The king and his wife, Queen Camilla, were also greeted upon their arrival at parliament by protesters who gathered with placards reading: “Not my king!”.
The tradition of this speech dates back to the 15th century and it is the first time in more than 70 years that the British Parliament has been opened by a king.
This speech is traditionally written by the government and contains an outline of its policy and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
Although tougher sentences for the country’s most serious offenders and plans to create a smoke-free generation were part of the 1,200-word speech, the plan to exploit more of Britain’s oil and gas reserves in the North Sea has angered climate change campaigners had under the collar.
British media have pointed out that this is at odds with the king’s environmentalism. At the age of 21, as the Prince of Wales, he already delivered his first speech about his passion for climate action.
He also said that the Prime Minister’s government is focused on “increasing economic growth and safeguarding the health and security of the British people”.
Despite the emphasis placed on crime, there was no mention of the recent pro-Palestinian protests taking place right across the United Kingdom (UK).
However, ceremonial pomp and pageantry was not lacking.
King Charles III also paid a short tribute to his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died on 8 September 2022, when he began reading the 10-minute speech.
Sources: Sky News, BBC News, NY Times.