As many in the United Kingdom and elsewhere remember the life of Queen Elizabeth II, royal watchers are wondering what changes King Charles III will bring to the throne.
Let us, as a media outlet from a long ago colony, offer one prediction: a heightened interest in plastics issues at Buckingham Palace.
The new monarch has long been vocal on the topic, saying in a 2018 speech at the British Academy that he had a “deep frustration” with the world not moving fast enough to address plastic waste in the ocean.
He’s been very involved. The British Plastics Federation noted that it met with then Prince Charles in 2017, at the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize.
The 73-year-old monarch gave his first major speech on the environment in 1970, when, as part of talking broadly about the need to rein in pollution, he criticized society for using non-returnable bottles and “indestructible plastic containers.”
He reflected in a 2020 interview that people felt he was “rather dotty, to say the least” to talk about those problems five decades ago.
Media reports suggest King Charles will tone down what he says publicly about the environment, in line with the modern monarchy's political neutrality.
But they also point out that traditionally, the King or Queen and the Prime Minister have met weekly for strictly confidential conversations. Those conversations could be “pretty lively,” one royal adviser told the Guardian newspaper.