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World News24

World News24

Exclusive: King Charles is a 'remarkably unifying force', says Elizabeth Buchanan

Posted on September 13 2022, 21:47pm

Exclusive: King Charles is a 'remarkably unifying force', says Elizabeth Buchanan

LONDON: The coffin of Queen Elizabeth has been taken to London. It will now be taken to Buckingham Palace where it will be met by by King Charles III and the Queen Consort, Camilla.

From Wednesday, members of the public will be able to pay their respects to the Queen's coffin.

WION's Jodie Cohen spoke with Elizabeth Buchanan who has been a senior advisor to Prince Charles, now King, for over 20 years.

Now Elizabeth Buchanan has been a senior adviser to Prince Charles - now King - for over 20 years. She first served as his adviser on agriculture, the environment, relations with business and the Prince's Trus before becoming his private secretary in 2005. Most recently, she has been serving as a Trustee of the Prince's Countryside Fund.

She spoke exclusively with WION's Jodie Cohen, about her memories of the Queen and expectations for the new King

WION: You've worked closely with the Royal family over a number of years. Can you tell us about your fondest memory of the late Queen Elizabeth?

Buchanan: Thank you Jodie. Yes, I think I probably have two. One is um, I was invited to lunch in Buckingham Palace, which the Queen used to hold regularly to bring people of interest together. And there was a wonderful moment when the doors opened and everyone expected the Queen to come to the doors. In fact, came through the carpet of corgis. And the corgis came first. And when you saw the corgis coming then the queen would follow. They were like the Praetorian Guard of the corgis. So that was one memory I had.

Then another was when I finally did finally leave working for the then Prince of Wales full-time. So I did back in 2008. And I was so privileged to be granted an audience with the Queen. And I remember that, although I've been working for the Prince of Wales for that length of time and I had been with the Queen and in attendance with the Queen so often, but it was just me and her. And I stood outside that door before I went in and my heart was thumping. I could hear it like a brass band. I thought everyone could hear my heart thumping like this and I was so nervous and then I went in and she was so gracious and so kind and said such lovely things. And we had a lovely conversation about cattle which made me very happy because I was actually going back to my family farm and the Queen ofcourse had many cattle, both at Sandringham and Windsor and she loved them dearly. And so we had a very happy conversation about that.

WION: You're a strong believer in Prince, now King Charles. What qualities do you believe he will bring to the throne?

Buchanan: They are legion Jodie, they're legion. He has had 50 years as Prince of Wales, as a remarkable Prince of Wales travelling this country and the world, realms and the Commonwealth. And he has developed an extraordinary wisdom. He has great leadership skills. And He also has great kindness and compassion which is so crucial right now when we actually all need to be perhaps a little more kind to each other.

WION: As father to the future king William, and his brother Harry, who have come together to pay their respects to the Queen, do you feel King Charles will play a continued unifying role, bringing together members of the Royal family?

Buchanan: Without shadow of a doubt. There is something more and so palpable here in United Kingdom at the moment. It's the unifying of a nation. And if you look around at the crowds wherever they are you've got all ages, all backgrounds, all colours, all nationalities. It's quite breathtaking. And it's so moving to see it. And his words in his remarkable speech on the Friday night, when he talked about his love for Prince Harry and all that he wanted Prince William who is now Prince of Wales, to take on the mantle that he did. He is so fond of his children and his grandchildren, deeply fond of them. And I think you saw that expressed when the now Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex and their wives did that walkabout. It was wonderful and perfect. And that is exactly what the new king will wish to see and want to see with his family but much more widely. He is a remarkably unifying force.

WION: There had been some concern about whether or not some of the British people would accept Charles as King. Do you believe that the reception he's received puts those concerns to bed now?

Buchanan: Honestly I never had any concerns. Not one. I've worked with him for so many years. I went around the country. To all parts of this country. To all sorts of communities. Urban areas, rural areas. Didn't matter where you were. There was never a second when there wasn't enormous warmth for him. And I was always bemused by this news somehow that there has been a distrust or dislike or something because I never saw it and I rather suspect that it was the media rather choosing that, and I don't wish for one minutre to undermine the media, Jodie. But I do think that's what they kind of wanted to see. But I know, when I was out there with him, it was never present. He was so warmly received. And I am not remotely surprised by the ourpouring, and it is an outpouring of support, love and respect and admiration for him now.

WION: There has been some speculation about whether republican movements across the Commonwealth might gain in strength. How do you see Commonwealth countries being impacted by the transition to the new King?

Buchanan: I think you have to draw a distinction, Jodie if I may say so. Beacuse the Commonwealth does not have the monarch as the head of state. It's a family of nations who choose to come together. The realms have the king as the head of state. And it is the realms who might have a view about whether they wish that to continue. The view of the monarch would simply be if they'll have democracies. It is entirely up to them. Whatever they choose to do. However, he will always have a deep and abiding affection for those countries. He has visited these countries on many many occassions. And he really does know them and he loves them. He loves being there. He loves being with the people. But it is their choice. It is always their choice. It's what the Queen always made clear. And it is what the King will make clear.

WION: In the past, Prince Charles has expressed opinions, which of course as King, he wouldn't be allowed to do. At the same time, he's widely respected for having been decades ahead of others in terms of his environmental awareness, for example. What channels does King Charles have to be able to express his views while maintaining protocol as king?

Buchanan: Well, he has surely has been a leader, he has been so prescient about these issues and worked so hard for decades to try to bring them to the attention of the people and to try to make a difference himself. The fact of the matter is, he made it clear on Friday night, things have changed. He said they would change before he became king. First thing he said was, it's not the same anymore. I will have to move away from those causes and charities to which he was so connected. Will he find ways in a way that a monarch finds ways to advise their prime ministers quietly under the radar? I am sure he will do that. He will not do it in any way at all which would undermine the Constitution and that critical relationship between the monarch and the state. It would never happen.

Exclusive: King Charles is a 'remarkably unifying force', says Elizabeth Buchanan
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