Generation Z has no interest in the new sovereign, they criticize the privileges and wealth of monarchs. How The Crown went from being a dramatic series to a real informative document for them. The testimony of two young Welshmen: “We don’t see a place for the monarchy other than as a tourist attraction or a museum piece.”
It still seems strange to see a king and not a queen. There is now a man in a suit, not a lady with a purse and hat. What seems to be just a description in clothing is not: if there is something that Elizabeth II had plenty of -besides charisma, of course- were the symbols that defined her. Seventy years of reign is enough to leave so many particular signs in time. This last fact is literal: according to the newspaper ‘The Guardian,’ replacing the face of Elizabeth II with that of Charles III in all denominations of the sterling pound would take about two years.
Britain has a new king. Charles III, the man 48 years older than his mother when she became queen at the age of 25, has a host of challenges, among them, maintaining the structure of a parliamentary monarchical regime that, over the years, like other countries, appeared as a somewhat old-fashioned tradition when viewed in the light of new world paradigms.
A page was turned, a very heavy one -the weight is a reference to the length of Elizabeth II’s reign- in the English monarchy: Elizabeth II’s death at the age of 96 and the arrival of Charles III at the age of 73, represents a radical change. However, is this a fact that captivates everyone equally?
The figure of Charles III, a transitional king, appears perhaps a little tarnished for several reasons. But -there is no doubt- one that stands out is precisely that of being the son of a queen who monopolized everything during a very long period of time that already appears in the Guinness World Records.
The centennial people want to know
The then Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Louis of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge watch a flight from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour on June 2, 2022, in London, England (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images).
Evan is 24, lives in Wales, and thinks of an answer that perhaps symbolizes that of many boys and girls his age. The question points to if he had to say who was more charismatic, Elizabeth II or Charles III, which would he choose. “People said that Isabel was charismatic, but I don’t have an opinion on either one,” the young man says.
His testimony is part of a generality that grips part of the United Kingdom. Only one out of every three young centennials in that country supports the British monarchy, the age group with the lowest level of approval. According to the website Statista, which cited data from a survey by the international firm YouGov, 33% of young people between 18 and 24 years old -the age range of the generation known as centennials-, support the British monarchy, while 31% think it should be replaced by a head of state, and the remaining 36% said they have no position on the matter.
“I don’t think the royals have much power, so I’m not too worried. Politicians are much more relevant,” says Evan. He adds when asked what his friends think: “We’re largely against the monarchy and don’t care what they have to say. I think they should get involved in charitable causes as much as possible to help grow their public image.”
“I don’t think royals have much power, so I’m not too worried. Politicians are much more relevant,” Evan, a 24-year-old living in Wales, says. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Josh is 23 and also from Wales. “He’s just a person like anyone else who is a public servant,” he says. “I care about Charles if he gets involved in politics or changes how the government is run. Other than that, no,” he adds tersely. And he says he and most of his friends “don’t see a place for the monarchy other than as a tourist attraction or a piece to be in a museum.”
Almost as part of his generation’s responsible DNA, and like his compatriot Evan, Josh finishes off regarding the monarchy in general, “I think they should rebalance the government and make it work better or just do a lot of charity work.”
A viral inkwell on TikTok
The first chapters of Charles the King were the family’s private vigil at the Queen’s bedside, a first speech to the nation where he promised to follow his mother’s example, and two viral episodes where he is seen to be less than tolerant of the servitude that accompanied him.
Another of the young people consulted said that he and his friends “don’t see a place for the monarchy other than as a tourist attraction or something to be in a museum.”(Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
According to his non-verbal language analysis that several experts made, his public interventions should determine a positive image and attitude, as well as take care of the elements that surround the official and unofficial interventions. At the same time, his postures and movements should provide him with security and authenticity.
Charles has maintained a very personal attitude when talking about love, loss, and his “dear mother.” He appeared grief-stricken, first at the Princes’ Vigil and then at last Monday’s funeral.
A certain general indifference circulated last week among centennials, who are young people born between 1995 and 2005. News reports and network comments indicate that many were more interested in the funeral holiday than their new king. The younger generations say they don’t understand the cult surrounding the royals. “People feel a misplaced loyalty to people who don’t even know of their existence,” many young people claim.
The issue of disproportionate wealth comes up again and again in the criticism, as does the privileges of the royal family (Photo by Andrew Milligan-WPA Pool/Getty Images).
There is an impression that the so-called Generation Z has absorbed the worldwide adoration for Lady Di, the “people’s princess,” without even being born at that time. They pick up from their parents that fairytale wedding and subsequent breakup. Short clips of Princess Diana talking about Charles, his affair, and their messy divorce have appeared on TikTok.
The Crown is, in this sense for them, not just a Netflix drama series, but a real informative document about the real royalty, the one that does not hide the dirty laundry, and that is part of a story that, in the end. is starred by flesh and blood human beings.
The issue of disproportionate wealth comes up again and again in the criticism, as does the privileges of the royal family. “I’ve always thought it’s wrong that people can be born into a position of wealth and power, especially if it’s funded by our taxes,” another young man complained on social media this week.
The Crown is for young people, a truly informative document about royalty that doesn’t hide the dirty laundry of a story that ultimately stars flesh-and-blood human beings (Des Willie/Netflix via AP)
Most radicals directly dislike King Charles III: some describe him as “unpleasant” and “one of the worst people in the family.” “He has said many offensive things, and I cannot support that,” they wield. Others believe the new king is direct “out of touch” with reality.
“The time when our parents loved royalty is over,” they say, and this seems to be the breaking slogan of a generation that sees the world through different eyes and within transforming paradigms. “We face a looming recession, a climate crisis, a housing crisis, and an energy crisis. People are having trouble paying their bills, and more and more people are thrown into poverty,” another young man argued this week on the interwebs.
“Right now, the monarchy is there for decoration. I also feel it fuels a sense of nationalism among the British. This could be seen with Meghan Markle,” said another centennial.
Several young people think the monarchs are not as diverse, not as green, not as left-leaning. “They’re a relic of a bygone era that doesn’t include us,” they say.(Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
“Young people don’t get anything out of the monarchy, they are not progressive, they don’t have diversity. They are not as environmentalist or left-wing as we are. They are a relic of a bygone era that does not include us,” wrote another teenager on Twitter.
“King Charles III strikes me as another unelected fossil who doesn’t pay taxes and enjoys privileges in an archaic position built on colonial wealth,” argued yet another. And the comments continue.
Little interest in tradition
“There is a generation called Z, or whatever we call it, that has a disinterest not only in the monarchy,” says Arnaldo Miranda, historian of royalty and expert in noble rights.
“That is, there is a growing disinterest in a series of values. When we talk about monarchy, we talk about something deeply rooted in tradition, monarchy has a lot of traditions. It is the oldest form of government. And beyond the fact that it is parliamentary constitutional, it is a very old monarchy based on a great deal of tradition”, adds the specialist.
“When we talk about monarchy, we talk about something very rooted with tradition, monarchy has a lot of traditions. It is the oldest form of government,” Carl Court/Pool historian Arnaldo Mirnada says via REUTERS.
For Miranda, the majority of this generation, “not having these values rooted, not having the tradition justly matured, worked on, made aware,” face an issue of anomie towards many issues. “How not to maintain anomie towards the monarchy as well? Even many young Britons of that generation do not have much idea about voting and politics,” he says.
For the specialist, Elizabeth II’s life was a virtue and an example. “At 21, she said she would dedicate her life to the nation’s benefit. She did it and fulfilled it. Her last protocol act was to receive the Prime Minister and ask her to form a government. This he did on Tuesday. He passed away on Thursday. There was a Queen, a sovereign who was a light source in this and many other senses. In other words, the sovereign who has been updating and reinventing herself through the times”, explains Miranda.
So, what is the challenge of the new king of Charles III in that sense? “It’s a big one, to begin with,” the expert points out. “Because although he is the most prepared monarch to reign, and there is no doubt about that because he prepared himself for 70 years, we have to see how he puts together the elements that were given to him, how he orders them. I do not think he is unfit to reign. On the contrary, in the last 20 years, since his marriage with Camila, he has been settling down, perhaps belatedly, but that is another matter”, adds Miranda.
What is King Charles III’s new challenge? It is a very big one. Because although he is the most prepared monarch to reign, and there is no doubt about that, they have to see how he organizes a series of elements that were already given to him”, explain the experts CARL DE SOUZA/Pool via REUTERS
“His challenges are multiple. Charles has great challenges, but he has as parameter his mother, and he has as parameter his son, now Prince of Wales, from the moment his grandmother closed her eyes. Catherine Middleton has a great positive image. He will have to lead a reign of transition, there is no doubt. Today anyway, a person at 73 is not old as the old concept was, but a person still has the vitality to do, but it is a big person to start a reign”, says Miranda.
He is between two columns that have to support him. So, Miranda’s graphs are Charles III at the moment. Let’s say they have to make a bridge,” he explains in closing. We will see if he will have to abdicate that there is no tradition in British monarchs, we will see if he will inaugurate it or not, but undoubtedly he has to represent a delicate balance. More so with this generation. It is a unique challenge if they have it with the British and the young people”.