Queen escaped ‘legitimacy’ questions during reign by making one choice – unlike Charles

The Queen marks Centenary of the Royal British Legion

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The Queen has achieved popularity and stability as a monarch by never taking part in interviews that could be deemed politically controversial, royal historian and author Dr Ed Owens told Express.co.uk. Her decision not to share political views marks a stark difference from what Prince Charles has done over the past five decades, the expert also noted.

Asked if Her Majesty could finally sit down for an interview, Dr Owens said: “No, I don’t expect we are going to hear her speaking candidly as part of an interview.

“The reason why questions haven’t been asked about her legitimacy, as a symbolic head of state, is because she has never said anything in an interview that could be deemed at all politically controversial.”

The honorary research associate at the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy at Royal Holloway university noted it is known the monarch has a political view – but she has always been careful to never put it on the record.

Analysing what made the Queen’s reign so successful, Dr Owens continued: “The reason why, I think, she is such a popular monarch is that she has managed to conceal any political opinion very effectively.

“The fact that she hasn’t gone on the record is really significant.

“That’s the role of the Constitutional monarch, they are not meant to have a political voice.”

The royal historian went on outlining the main difference between the Queen – silent on her political opinion – and her son and heir Prince Charles, who has made apparent his stances in multiple interviews over his past five decades as Prince of Wales.

Dr Owens said: “The reason why groups such as Republic – the leading anti-monarchist group in the UK – are campaigning against future King Charles III is because he has had too strong a political voice, he has exercised his political opinion, we are very aware of what he thinks and what he believes.

“That is not the role of the Constitutional monarch, he knows that and he knows he will probably need to change when he takes on the role as King.

“But the questions will continue to be asked about Charles and his legitimacy as a monarch, specifically because he has had a voice and has voiced his opinions – those same questions have never been asked about Elizabeth II.”

Prince Charles pledged he won’t exercise his role of monarch in the same way he has been operating as Prince of Wales during a groundbreaking interview ahead of his 70th birthday in 2018.

In the BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, the future King said: “I’m not that stupid.

“I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign.

“So, of course, I understand entirely how that should operate.

“The idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense.

“Because the two situations are completely different”.

Suggesting he would follow his mother’s example as a sovereign, Prince Charles added: “You can’t be the same as sovereign if you’re the Prince of Wales or the Heir, it’s a different function.”

After addressing the possible challenges faced by Prince Charles as he prepares to accede to the throne, Dr Owens focused once again on the Queen and her impartiality.

He said: “She is by far the most popular member of the Royal Family, and I think it is because she has managed to remain non-partisan, she has managed to keep up this image of not having taken political sides, and she has set an example, she is an exemplary model in that respect of what the Constitutional monarch should be.

“I am sure we are going to find out a lot more when we eventually gain access to her diaries when all the files are opened up in 50, maybe 100 years from now.”

The Queen acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of King George VI.

Over the decades, she has constantly been among the most popular members of the Royal Family.

The rolling analysis by YouGov investigating which opinion British adults have of the most prominent members of the Royal Family placed once again the monarch in the first position as most famous and most popular.

Of the 1404 people interviewed during the third quarter of 2021, 72 percent said to like the monarch against 11 percent who said to dislike her, while 14 percent replied saying they have a neutral opinion of Her Majesty. 

Express.co.uk has contacted Clarence House for comment. 

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