Skip to main content

Prince Charles is the heir to the British throne, and he will become king when Queen Elizabeth passes away. With his mother being the sovereign since 1952, 73-year-old Charles has been waiting almost his entire life to be king. And when he is finally crowned, he could reportedly follow in Queen Elizabeth’s footsteps in one major way.

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on October 14, 2019 in London, England
Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II | Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Charles’ ascension to the throne won’t be easy for Brits

It’s been so long since there was a change to the British monarchy that the transition from Queen Elizabeth to Prince Charles as head of state won’t be an easy one, says royal expert Tina Brown. 

She told The Washington Post that the importance of the British monarchy and the queen can’t be overstated. It will be a devastating day when the 96-year-old monarch is no longer the ruler of the United Kingdom.

“It is the preeminent focus of national identity, national pride, history, tradition. And really, I’m not even sure that the Brits know how to be British anymore when the queen dies,” Brown admitted.

In the past couple of years, the queen has had some health issues that have forced her to miss a number of official events. As a result, Prince Charles and Prince William have taken on more official duties.

Prince Charles may not choose to be King George after all — because of 

British monarchs have the power to choose a regnal name for themselves when they ascend to the throne. But when the time comes for Charles to become king, he will reportedly take a cue from his mother and follow in her footsteps by choosing to use his own first name. 

According to Royal Central, a regnal name differs from the one given at birth and it’s used to identify the monarch during their reign. But, many royal fans don’t know this because they are used to the monarch going by her own name.

Queen Elizabeth was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, and when asked what her regnal name would be, she famously quipped, “My own of course — what else?”

However, her father was born Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George — nicknamed “Bertie.” When he was crowned, he chose to become King George VI.

Prince Charles was born Charles Philip Arthur George, which means he could choose any one of those names as his regnal name. But, the expectation is that Charles will be known as King Charles III when he is on the throne.

King Charles I and II don’t have the best reputations

The two previous monarchs named King Charles were part of the English Civil Wars. But according to Express, neither one had the best reputation.

“There have been two previous kings with the name Charles, but they had very dubious reputations, which may put the heir to the throne off using his own name when he becomes king,” the outlet reports.

King Charles I was a strong believer in the divine right of kings. So, he believed he was appointed by God and didn’t have to answer to Parliament. He was ultimately overthrown by Oliver Cromwell in 1645 following the victory of Parliament over the Crown. He was then put on trial for treason, found guilty, and beheaded in 1649.


Camilla Parker Bowles Is Not the Only Senior Royal Who May Get a New Title When Charles Becomes King, and for Prince William, It Will Be ‘Bittersweet’

In 1660, his son Charles II returned from exile and restored the monarchy after 11 years of rule by Cromwell and his son Richard. However, he had an extremely controversial private life that included a number of mistresses.

Because of this history, some royal watchers think it’s possible that Charles will choose the name George as his regnal name, making him King George VII instead of King Charles III.