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The old new court of Carlos III: the ladies-in-waiting leave and a journalist from the 'Daily Mail' maintains


After 100 days on the British throne, the nucleus that accompanied him as heir remains, combining with heavyweights from the reign of Elizabeth II

Welcome to the court of Carlos III, where the crushing weight of tradition, the rewards for loyalty and the desire for modernization are condemned to be understood for the sake of the perpetuation of the House of Windsor.

About to close the year in which it lost the matriarch of seven decades, the British monarchy remains faithful to the mantra "evolution, not revolution" in its search for identity, with a

pater familias

forced to decipher the insoluble balance between innovation and continuity.

After 100 days of reign, whoever was the eternal heir has managed to dispel the worst suspicions that had haunted him for years, displaying a poise praised even by the most skeptical.

But the king has yet to complete the squaring of his most intimate circle, that of the advisers that Lady Di called the "men in gray".

Although his main advisers when he was Prince of Wales remain by his side, Carlos III maintains part of his mother's trusted staff, which inevitably causes overlapping of key roles in the palace organization chart.

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To assimilate this bicephaly it is necessary to understand the rigid structures that make up the royal hierarchy.

At the head is Buckingham, the headquarters of operations, the place that the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Elizabeth II, called "the office", a headquarters with its own instruction manual for decades.

In parallel, there is Clarence House, the physical residence where Carlos III is still based and the operational nucleus that has supported him during his years as heir to the British throne.

The transfer of the crown has therefore required a delicate gradual merger maneuver which, in practice, has meant that the King's highest official, his private secretary, Clive Alderton, with whom he has worked without interruption since 2015, simultaneously has to his predecessor, Sir Edward Young, still in office.

The overlap, however, helps ensure a smooth transition, the first in 70 years, especially when it comes to who has to run the sovereign's office and manage communication with the British government and national and international bodies.

The mandarins of Clarence House, in any case, are the ones that make up the axis of confidence of the new king.

Its communications director, Tobyn Andreae, is a relatively recent addition.

His name had not come out until last July, despite being a well-known figure in the journalistic sector.

As deputy editor of the

Daily Mail

, the tabloid scourge of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, his appointment caused some surprise, partly also due to his lack of experience in communication and public relations, but according to reports, Camila, then still Duchess of Cornwall, would have played a key role in this election.

Tobyn Andreae, communications director for King Charles III and Queen Camilla, in October 2022 at the Ascot races.Mark Cuthbert (UK Press via Getty Images)

Of those who joined after Charles' ascension to the throne, John Sorabji stands out, an expert in constitutional law appointed as his private deputy secretary and, consequently,


number two .

Given his profile, his recruitment is seen as evidence of the king's desire to improve the monarchy's efficiency, reduce its size and increase transparency, especially ahead of the coronation scheduled for May 6, 2023.

Carlos III with Andrew Parker as Lord Chamberlain, at the religious service celebrated for the death of Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, on September 19, 2022. Joe Giddens (PA / Cordon Press)

Meanwhile, the continuity of heavyweights like Andrew Parker as Lord Chamberlain, responsible for overseeing the monarch's support network, constitutes a bridge between reigns.

After directing MI5 between 2013 and 2020, Parker took office in March last year and it is believed that Carlos would have been consulted, given the advanced age of his mother at the time, 95 years old.

Another figure who has overcome the transition is Commander Johnny Thompson, 39, the aide-de-camp who, with his Scottish


and his gallant demeanor, had already attracted attention as the queen's bodyguard, a role he maintains with his son, whom accompanies in most public events.

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her bodyguard Johnny Thompson, during her troop inspection on holiday in Balmoral, Scotland, in 2018. Andrew Milligan (PA Wire/PA Images / Cordon Press)

Coexistence, however, can also generate a certain clash between the Clarence House machinery, an objectively more modern organization, and the prevailing culture at Buckingham, with a

modus operandi

for decades that does not necessarily fit naturally with the idiosyncrasies of Charles III.

Although he has had to iron out edges of a character that is incompatible with the crown, his differences with his mother are not limited to aspects of personality, but to the political and sociocultural context of his arrival on the throne.

A sample of the asymmetries of this cohabitation is the dust raised in November by one of the so-called ladies-in-waiting (

lady in waiting

, in English) of Elizabeth II, forced to leave the Court after an unfortunate conversation during a reception organized by the queen consort Camila.

Susan Hussey, 83, Prince William's godmother, repeatedly asked Ngozi Fulani, a black NGO director, where she "really" came from, despite her interlocutor's attempts to make her understand that she was British.

His sudden exit evidences the difficulty of coexistence between the old and the new guard, above all, given the desire of the monarchy to present itself as an institution connected to the times, and especially with the accusations of racism aired, once again, by the Dukes of Sussex.

If Hussey continued in the royal orbit, it was more out of loyalty to those who for decades had supported Elizabeth II, but not even the new nomenclature, after the elimination of the term "lady-in-waiting", manages to hide that Buckingham continues to have a diversity problem.

Official data shows that only 9.6% of the workforce comes from ethnic minorities, despite the fact that almost twice the population of England and Wales, 18.3%, is not white.

It was Camila who decided to suppress the concept of "companion ladies" and establish in its place a smaller group and a more modern vocation.

If her mother-in-law accumulated seven of hers at her death, the tasks are now assumed by private secretaries, and the queen consort has mere "companions".

The problem is that their profiles perpetuate the traditional ones, since they come mainly from the aristocracy, they are all white and their average age is around 68 years.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-12-25

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