With the release of the birthday snapBuckingham Palace announced that he has added to his long list of royal titles and become Ranger of Windsor Great Park, guiding the day-to-day stewardship of one of the country’s oldest landed estates.
What kind of monarch will King Charles III be? Different from his mum.
But official photos released by the palace are PR with a point. And that’s not all this one seems to be saying.
Charles is an ardent lifelong conservationist who has been warning about the looming threat of climate change and species extinction for decades. As a young prince, his first public address was about the dangers of pollution.
His 2010 book “Harmony” is a 336-page manifesto on how humanity’s greatest problems are rooted in our disconnection from nature. He has established foundations “to promote holistic solutions facing the world today.”
He is an extoller of the benefits of bees, homeopathic medicine, sustainable agriculture, elephant conservation and hedgerows.
How hippies, farmers and Prince Charles are preserving the ancient art of hedgelaying
And he has admitted to holding conversations with trees.
“I happily talk to the plants and the trees, and listen to them. I think it’s absolutely crucial,” he told a BBC interviewer in 2010. His courtiers have confirmed he often gives a leafy branch “a friendly shake to wish it well.”
Perhaps the photo released Monday is his sly response: “So what?”
Years ago, some British commentators thought Charles too New Age, too mystical, too crunchy. But now some say he was ahead of his time. David Attenborough documentaries have shown how plants communicated. Britain, meanwhile, has become a composting, bee-protecting, green-energy-promoting nation that has pledged to be “net zero” on emissions by 2050.
It is not yet known whether Charles will, like his predecessors on the throne, claim a separate official birthday date in a more temperate month.
The last birthday photograph of Queen Elizabeth II, when she turned 96, showed her dressed in a dark cape, holding the reins of two of her own stunningly white fur ponies.
Twitter said — for the most part approvingly — that she looked like Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings.” The image conveyed power, wealth, control — and good breeding. She was not an old woman bent over her cane, as seen just a few months later. She was the boss.
Ahead of The Queen’s 96th Birthday tomorrow, @windsorhorse have released a new photograph of Her Majesty.
Taken last month in the grounds of Windsor Castle, The Queen is pictured with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.
Happy Birthday Your Majesty! pic.twitter.com/8m46e3SvpX
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 20, 2022
It is too early to know what kind of monarch Charles will be. To eco-king? Or a more muffled activist now that he sits on the throne.
Prince Charles, once dismissed as a plant-talking oddball, takes his environmental bona fides to COP26
Charles was a rock star at last year’s UN climate conference in Glasgow, known as COP26. But after a discussion with Britain’s short-serving Prime Minister Liz Truss, he agreed not to attend this year’s meeting in Egypt.
Some of his biographers have wondered how much the new king will be able to dial back his public advocacy.
Maybe this photo is Charles saying he intends to stay in the game.
King Charles III wants to look ahead. ‘The Crown’ drags him back.