King Charles' First Year Was Characterized By Familial Dysfunction And Political Chaos

King Charles, pictured at his coronation in May 2023.
King Charles, pictured at his coronation in May 2023.

King Charles, pictured at his coronation in May 2023.

King Charles waited for his time on the throne for a long, long time – a record-breaking 70 years, in fact.

But, his first 12 months of rule have hardly been smooth sailing.

His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was – for the most part – kept out of any political spats and familial dramas by the time of her death in September last year.

And, at 96, her decades of public duties meant she was well-versed in managing a neutral public image. Her son, on the other hand, has been drawn into the story on more than one occasion.

To commemorate exactly 12 months since he fulfilled his lifelong destiny, here’s a look at some more awkward moments which have made headlines since he took the crown.

1. Pen-gate

Shortly after the queen’s death, Charles made headlines for appearing excessively agitated about pens being where they shouldn’t on two separate occasions, while on camera.

2. Republicanism rises

The queen’s passing marked the end of a particularly poignant era for Jamaica, as it cemented the decision for it to become a republic, according to its government.

Australia, Antigua and Barbuda Papua New Guinea and the Bahamas have suggested they might look for independence now Charles is King, too.

However, this wasn’t completely unexpected – 17 former colonies left rule under the British crown during the queen’s reign. Barbados left just in 2019.

3. Liz Truss

Charles caused a furore when he was caught on camera saying, “Back again? Dear oh dear” to Liz Truss, following her disastrous first few weeks as prime minister. She stepped down a week afterwards.

4. Prince Andrew

Andrew officially stepped down as a working royal following backlash over his friendship with the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

But, Charles has been scrutinized for inviting Andrew, and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, up to his Scottish estate in Balmoral last month. Andrew also attended his coronation and sat in the same row as Prince Harry.

5. Prince Harry’s memoir

Charles’ youngest son may have turned up to his father’s coronation in May, but his appearance came shortly after he really slammed the royals through his memoirs Spare and the series of promotional interviews. 

The Duke of Sussex issued a whole range of statements about his father (and his other relatives), including suggesting his family have “shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile.”

As far as we know, there’s still a rift between Harry and his royal relatives.

6. Prince Harry’s court case 

Shortly before his father’s coronation, Harry added to tensions by making serious claims about how the royals navigate the press in his 31-page witness statement of his case against the publisher of The Sun.

For instance, he said the royals always wanted to keep the media “onside” because they were “incredibly nervous” after being stung by events such as Tampongate in 1993.

That’s when an intimate phone call between Charles and Camilla (when they were both married to other people, and engaging in an extramarital affair) was leaked.

7. Charles’ cancelled trip to France

The king was due to go for his first state visit trip as monarch to France, when riots broke out in the country in March – and some anti-monarchy graffiti appeared in the streets, meaning it was cancelled at the last minute.

8. Camilla causes controversy over new title 

Charles’ second wife raised eyebrows when she adopted the title of Queen Camilla after his coronation. Both of them went through divorces prior to getting married, meaning many expected Camilla to have a lesser title once her husband was officially crowned.

Queen Elizabeth II also gave her blessing for Camilla to be Camilla, Queen Consort – a subtle difference to Queen Camilla.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony in London.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony in London.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony in London.

9. The Sussexes

There was much anticipation over whether or not the Duchess of Sussex would attend her father-in-law’s coronation in May. Meghan chose not to go in the end, which many praised her for.

However, some fans still turned up to the coronation to show their support for her, hailed by some as “the people’s princess.”

Charles was also scrutinized for choosing to hold his coronation on his grandson Prince Archie’s fourth birthday.

10. Pledge of allegiance

Charles was slammed after it was revealed the public would be invited to swear their “true allegiance” to the king at his coronation.

That was supposed to be in place of the traditional ceremony where the hereditary peers had to kneel and “pay homage” to the King. However, it was dropped after huge backlash.

Then, some MPs and Lords revealed they weren’t exactly happy about swearing an oath of allegiance to the King.

11. Coronation blunders

The coronation was heavily criticized for showing off extreme wealth during the cost of living crisis one carriage was made of solid gold.

Then it was revealed that the palace could censor some of the BBC coverage if they didn’t like it in the run-up to the event.

Meanwhile, anti-monarchy protesters were arrested at the ceremony – some preemptively – raising questions about the UK’s democracy. He has faced protests consistently throughout his first year, and even dodged a couple of “egging” attempts, but the Met’s decision to arrest peaceful demonstrators caused uproar.

The coronation also sparked queries about reparations for former British colonies and calls for the crown jewels to returned to their country of origin.

And this is all before we even mention the massive penis mowed into lawn at his coronation party venue.

12. Charles got a pay rise from UK taxpayers

Government plans revealed earlier this year that Charles had to receive a hefty increase in his annual sum from the taxpayer in 2025.

In fact, there’ll be an increase of 45% funding for the royals from 2025, according to details of a royal funding review from the treasury.