This week King Charles celebrates his milestone 75th birthday, surrounded by loved ones. But as he tucks into his birthday cake – most likely fruit rather than chocolate, apparently – words of warning from a fellow royal could leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
Speaking exclusively to OK!, Princess Tamara Czartoryska, a cousin of the Spanish royals, says that if he wishes to win over the public, our King should take note of how her family have successfully reversed their dwindling popularity in recent years.
“Just look at the way Spain has embraced [King] Felipe and his family, especially Leonor, who will one day be Queen. The British Royal Family should really take note,” says Princess Tamara. “Lessons can be learnt from focusing on the younger members of the family. It’s new blood and they cater to a younger audience.”
Following a spate of scandals, King Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne in 2014, making way for his son Felipe. Public confidence in the Spanish ruling family had been at an all-time low, but King Felipe, his wife Queen Letizia and their children, Princess Leonor, 18, and Infanta Sofia, 16, have led a royal renaissance.
“The younger generation is our future, and it is in them we should invest,” says Princess Tamara. “Society loves tradition, but it’s important in this day and age of influencers to have an influencer who is on the same level to be a good role model.”
She claims there is a similar pattern emerging in the UK, with a King who doesn’t appreciate the power of younger royals.
“There’s huge interest in William and Kate,” she says. They’re exactly the kind of royals we need today. King Charles needs to move with the times and embrace the younger members of his family, otherwise he runs the risk of a fall of the House of Windsor.”
Tamara, who is a friend of Princes William and Harry, says the British royal family’s image has been negatively impacted by the very public airing of the brothers’ problems.
“It [the British royal family] is not as cohesive as it used to be,” she says. “It’s now fractured, sadly. Harry used to be adored. He would have been a fabulous role model but that’s no longer the case. It’s sad that their personal family feud became so public.
“But the damage has been done. William and Kate, and the younger generation, are the breath of fresh air we need.”
As Charles is left contemplating Tamara’s frank assessment, he is fortunate to have a strong support network around him. And one of those who most definitely has the King’s back is the woman he recently referred to very fondly as his “darling daughter-in-law”, the Princess of Wales.
Kate occupies a very special place in the King’s heart and her continued support will be one of the greatest birthday gifts he receives this year.
Bound by their shared love of art and culture, Charles and Kate have enjoyed a warm relationship for many years. Kate, 41, is the daughter the King never had, but now deeply cherishes thanks to the support she gives his son William, her devotion to motherhood and the effortless way she has navigated her royal assent – from shy starter to skilled diplomat.
“Happily, King Charles seems fighting fit,” former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond tells OK! “But it’s a fact that Kate is a heartbeat away from being our next Queen, so she is of crucial importance to the future of the monarchy.
“Her happy and secure relationship with William is a huge comfort to the King. Not only is he very fond of Kate, but he’s proud of the way she has stepped confidently into her key role.
“I’m certain he wishes he could have given his sons the balanced and happy childhood that George, Charlotte and Louis are enjoying thanks to their very switched-on mum and a stable, happy household.”
Although we know the King’s greatest wish would be to have his two warring sons reconciled, Jennie points out that such family challenges emphasise Kate’s importance to Charles.
She says, “I think Kate has been involved in key decisions about how to deal with the Harry situation and I suspect the King values her opinion very highly. It makes Kate such an important member of his inner circle.”
Kate was instrumental in pushing for the Palace’s robust “recollections may vary” statement in response to Prince Harry and Meghan’s attacks in their 2021 tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. It was clear then, as it is now, that she embodied her role as well as Charles could have ever hoped.
Jennie adds, “There’s little doubt that Charles would have loved a daughter. So, for the King, it’s a delight that he gets on so well with Kate. He has watched her grow into her role, find the causes she truly cares about and has supported her endeavours.”
In contrast to Tamara’s warning, Jennie believes the King is already looking to the younger generation to secure the future of the British royal family.
She says, “I think Charles admires and appreciates the solid family network Kate has created for William. The King is devoted to his grandchildren, George, Charlotte and Louis. I’m sure he’s very proud of the way Kate is bringing them up.
“Her family form a secure and happy unit away from palaces and castles, servants and hierarchy. Even Diana couldn’t easily provide that for William, as her own parents were divorced and she’d been raised in a stately home.
“So I think Kate is key to providing a balanced upbringing for her children, but particularly for a boy born to be King. She has learned what it means to be royal – the restrictions as well as the privileges. And she’s the perfect person to help George understand his destiny.”
Much like Queen Elizabeth would do with Prince William during his days at Eton, Charles is already having conversations with Prince George about what the future has in store for him.
“Charles is quite a soppy old thing really,” she says. “When you’ve had a wonderful experience in life, it’s natural to want to replicate it for your children and grandchildren.
Charles had a magical relationship with his grandmother, the Queen Mother, and I’m sure his dearest wish is to give George and his other grandchildren a similar strong and loving relationship.”
While King Charles would do well to pay heed to Princess Tamara’s advice, perhaps the future of our royal family is a little brighter than she believes.
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