Prince Charles, who is next in line to the 93-year-old British Queen, is launching his charm offensive in Germany today amid the struggles of Brexit. According to The Telegraph, it was originally planned as the first royal visit after the UK’s departure from the bloc. But with the deadline for it having been extended, the trip is now designed to be the last royal tour before Brexit.
During the tour, which is meant to promote non-political friendship and "soft power”, the 70-year-old prince and his wife Camilla are to meet Germany’s top officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The British royals are to begin their tour in Berlin with later stops in Leipzig and Munich.
In the German capital, the Prince is to address a party with what is thought to be a reconciliatory comment on Brexit. As The Telegraph points out, Prince Charles is “to extend the hand of friendship over Brexit”. The outlet refers to his choice of words as “deeply significant”, reflecting on “a dramatic change of tone” from the decades following World War II.
Prince Charles is to dedicate his speech, leaked to the media, to his family’s German ancestry, and the uneasy attitude towards this bond to Germany in the past. The British royals got rid of their German family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, during the First World War, changing it to Windsor.
In this very personal statement about his connections, the king-to-be is not only to bring up his family history, but also to highlight the importance of the future connection between the UK and Germany as well as the whole continent.
“But whatever the shape of our future relationship, and whatever is negotiated and agreed between governments and institutions, it is more clear to me than it has ever been, that the bonds between us will, and must, endure”, he is to say, according to the leaked speech.
The royal is to express hope that both sides could pledge “to redouble our commitment to each other and to the ties between us”.
In contrast to his mother Queen Elizabeth II, who has remained above the political fray, Charles has repeatedly tried to intervene in some issues of public concern, writing letters to ministers, speaking out about climate change and opposing an extension to the National Gallery in London. This meddling has "ruffled feathers" in the past. In response to this criticism, Prince Charles earlier promised not to be a meddling king.
"I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise, being sovereign. So, of course, I understand entirely how that should operate”, Charles said in a BBC documentary about his birthday.
He claimed that he had tried to make sure whatever he had done had been “non-party political”, saying “you can't be the same as the sovereign if you're the Prince of Wales or the heir”.