Max Hasting’s essay in the Daily Mail about the dangers for the monarchy of Prince Charles becoming king is an important moment. Hastings, who is very much part of the establishment, is reflecting a view that many hold in private: that Prince Charles’s desire to advance his political views is incompatible with a modern constitutional monarchy. As Hastings puts it, ‘he is so set in his ways, so accustomed to not being contradicted — because those who argue with him are swiftly expelled from his counsels — that I am convinced that if he becomes King he will persist in trying to save the world, and thus precipitate a crisis.’
Seeing as belief in the divine right of kings has rather died out, the monarchy is now essentially a convenient constitutional device. If Prince Charles continues trying to promote his personal views, which are political in the broad sense of the word, then he’ll throw the current system out of kilter, opening the whole Pandora’s Box of whether the monarchy is really appropriate in this democratic age.