The announcement has fueled lots of people to air various theories and opinions about the royals. Since I have my own opinions I figured I'd join in, after all, I like my own opinions better than anyone else's. :-) I will warn you that my views are pretty pro-royal, so if that's going to bother you don't read the stuff in the cuts.
It seems every time Prince Charles' private life comes up people speculate that he might get passed over in the succession. In my opinion this just isn't going to happen.
Edward VIII did abdicate because he insisted on marrying a twice divorced American. In 1936 this was a scandal, but that was a long time ago. Divorce rates in the UK (like the US) are much higher now than they were then. I find the suggestion that the relationship of Prince Charles and Camilla a bit silly in that light. My closest relative in the UK, my aunt, is divorced and has been living for years with her current boyfriend, and that certainly doesn't seem to raise any eyebrows.
Of course there is the matter that the Sovereign is the official head of the Church of England. The UK does officially have a state religion. In fact, back in 1966 when my parents got married their Catholic ceremony (Mom was Catholic, Dad is C of E) didn't count for legal purposes, and the had to have a civil ceremony as well just after. I would be surprised if the same thing is true today; the UK had gotten a lot better at recognizing other religions. The ties between church and state are much looser, therefore the role as head of the church is not as big a deal. Also, the church has become a lot more tolerant of divorce. Finally, lets not forget who started the whole practice of the Sovereign being the head of the church thing. It was Henry VIII, the one who had six wives, and he did it so that he could divorce his first wife.
Then there's the time factor. The Queen is currently in her seventies, but she's in fine health. Don't forget that her mother lived to be 101 and was quite active right up until the end. My guess is the succession won't be a pressing issue any time soon. Prince Charles is in his fifties now. When the time comes for him to succeed he could be quite elderly himself, by which time people may care less about marital problems he had in his thirties and fourties.
Then there's parliament. Parliament gets the final say on who succeeds, at least since the Jacobites lost. The current parliament seems to want to maintain that the Sovereign is just a figurehead (and some members want to eliminate the monarchy entirely), so why would they bother to pass over Prince Charles? If they go through the bother of passing him over they would have to admit that it matters who the King is, and I don't think they want to do that, because that is equivalent to stating that the Sovereign matters.
Prince Charles has come in for a lot of criticism for his behaviour in regards to his marriage with Princess Diana. Fair enough, he did commit adultury and that was wrong. I do get a little bothered by people who rail about what he did and don't blame Princess Diana at all. I don't mind people feeling sorry for Princess Diana, who certainly did not get what she bargained for, but lets face it, they both had affairs while married.
I'm disinclined to form opinions of people based on the he-said/she-said mess that happens after a relationship breaks up. When a relationship breaks down people are not at their best, they say things they don't really mean, and they aren't thinking objectively. I think that should be obvious to anyone who's ever broken up with someone, but people don't seem to remember this when faced with the he-said/she-said details.
Prince Charles seems to get a lot of bad press. For some reason the press in the UK seem to love to make him out to be this total goofball.
Here's a rare example of some actual good press:
What the article doesn't really say enough is that what is being reported in that article as forward thinking was cited twenty years ago as proof that he was some sort of goofy fruitcake extremist.
He also gets criticized a lot for voicing his opinions on architecture even though he's not a trained architect. So what? I do that too. The people criticizing him are usually the offended architects and their friends. The fact is that the rest of the community has to live with architecture whether we're qualified of not. Same goes for pubilc art. Imagine if the press reported it, along with a long rebuttal by the "respected" artist every time one of us said that Transparent Horizons is an ugly hunk of scrap metal. For the record, I think I'm entitled to my opinion that the Stata Center is ugly even thouh I know nothing about architecture.
Then there are his views on science issues. The press in the UK love to blare headlines about how he's some sort of ludite who is anti-science. Sure, he doesn't know a lot about science. On the other hand, if you go and read his actual statements and opinions its sounds to me like all he's saying is that scientists should be careful before they go and create anything that might get out of control, or have possibly disasterous unforseen consequences. Of course that doesn't make for good headlines.
Mainly, I think the major problem that Prince Charles has in this respect is that he expects people to agree with him just because he's right.
One of these days I'm going to work up the nerve to do a piece that I'm sure will get me hate mail on my real views on certain topics. In the mean time I leave you with some food for thought. The monarchy has given the UK Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Democracy has given the US George Bush. Think about it (preferrably after reading the article from the previous cut).