Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96, leaving behind a spectacular legacy and very large shoes (large throne?) to fill. Royal insiders are worried that the death of the Queen could undermine an already shaky monarchy and destabilize the UK. King Charles III is now the sovereign—but what does that mean for the British people and the Commonwealth? "The death of my beloved mother Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," King Charles said in a statement. "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world." Here is what experts are worried might happen next.
The New King Is 73
Queen Elizabeth II was just 25 when she was crowned Queen, making her the longest-serving monarch in British history. King Charles III, on the other hand, is ascending the throne at the age of 73, making him the oldest person to become king in British history—which raises the question of just how long he will be able to rule before there is another major shake-up. "The trouble is you are in a no-win situation. If you do absolutely nothing at all … they are going to complain about that," King Charles once said. "If you try and get stuck in, do something to help, they also complain."
What Will Happen To the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth was already under threat, but Queen Elizabeth's death might lead to its complete disintegration. Barbados formally removed the Queen as its Head of State in November 2021, becoming a republic—and countries such as Jamaica might follow. "The government has had to start the process; the road to becoming a republic is not an easy one but they have long been coming under significant pressure to do it," a Jamaican government source says.
UK Destabilized Without the Queen
While Queen Elizabeth II represented stability and unchanging dedication to duty, King Charles has yet to earn the same respect and loyalty from the public. "There have been a lot of changes and I think it unstables [sic!] the country," royal expert Angela Levin said months before the Queen passed away. "She stands for stability, and we're in a bad state anyway and we don't know what's going to happen to her."
William and Kate Are Beloved
Polls showed a majority of the British people favored the crown going straight to Prince William and skipping right over Charles—but that was clearly never going to happen. "When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," Queen Elizabeth said back in February 2022.
Diana Is Not Forgotten
The ascension of Charles to the throne is reminding people once again of Princess Diana, and her sad and untimely death in 1997. "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts, but I don't see myself being the queen of this country," she told journalist Martin Bashir in the now-infamous 1995 Panorama interview. Diana lost her "HRH" title after her divorce from then-Prince Charles—but according to butler Paul Burrell, 14 year-old Prince William told his mother, "Don't worry Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am king."