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King Charles III: How the new British monarch can impact an economy on the brink of crisis

·2 min read

King Charles III will inherit a rocky economy and need to immediately provide the same kind of reassuring presence that his mother did during her 70-year reign.

In his first address to the British public, Charles on Friday laid out his intentions and view of the role he assumed upon the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, stressing that "the role and the duties of monarchy" must remain.

"I have been brought up to cherish a sense of duty to others, and to hold in the greatest respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and system of parliamentary government," King Charles III said.

And he will have the chance to test that view in the coming months as he starts to attend weekly meetings with Prime Minister Liz Truss, who took charge to form a government as the final act of Queen Elizabeth II’s rule over the United Kingdom.

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The King himself has little practical power, his meetings with the prime minister provide a valuable outlet for him to express his views — something that he will not have the freedom to do as king — and to advise the prime minister on current issues.

Britain’s economy presents a significant problem but has not yet turned into a full-blown crisis: Truss announced plans to cap energy bills to a cost of $172 billion while the Bank of England postpones decisions on an interest rate hike in order to combat inflation.

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Inflation hit double digits last month as the consumer price index hit 10.1% in July, the highest level since February 1982. Citi economist Benjamin Nabarro said he expected inflation to peak above 15% early next year.

The British pound (GBP) has dropped 14.96% against the dollar (year-to-date), hitting a new 52-week low. Goldman Sachs recently warned that the UK could enter a recession in Q4 of this year after seeing the steepest decline in GDP since 1709, Reuters reported.

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Truss pledged to be "hands on" with Britain’s "very serious" energy crisis and ruled out imposing a windfall levy on oil companies to pay for her plans to offset soaring costs of heating and electricity, but energy may prove one point of contention between the King and his prime minister.

Charles may try to convince the prime minister to seek alternative energy avenues: He remained an outspoken supporter on environmental issues and openly criticized man-made global warming.

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But whatever forms his conversations with Truss take will remain private as the King is constitutionally restricted from speaking publicly on political issues and expressing an opinion, lest it should appear to be an attack on the government.