King Charles: The Truth About His Outbursts

Like most people in the world, in the week following Queen Elizabeth’s death, I watched the circus with the kind of curiosity usually associated with, shall we say, a real circus.

I was in London when the news broke, and the mood was strange: shock mixed with some uncertainty, tears, and then, in keeping with the great British tradition, everyone seemed to just carry on.

But even before the flowers at Buckingham Palace began to wither, the Internet began to take its toll. The meme machine went into overdrive, and I laughed as I scrolled…until I stopped.

When the first video appeared of King Charles getting upset because some pens were in his way, something seemed wrong – everything went differently. And then when I watched the second video, this time he was visibly flustered because he signed the date wrong and his pen didn’t work, I realized what it was. I knew this feeling – it is called grief.

The sense of decline that I experienced while watching this video was recognition because I was there. Having lost a parent in my 20s, all I could think about was how I felt a week after my stepfather died. I couldn’t function, let alone make any important decisions. I could barely get dressed, and sometimes I couldn’t.

I saw the over-emphasis on small, irrelevant things, like broken pens, and I thought, “I know that.” The whole week after my father died, I cried because the barista took too long to make my coffee. I yelled at someone in the street, too loud and definitely too irrational because they stepped on my heels, and I burst into tears on the bathroom floor because I couldn’t even get my damn winged pad out.

The liner was my pen. It was something small, insignificant, something that seemed to be under my control – but it was not. When you are already overwhelmed by the weight of your grief, it is these little things that hold you together and also break you.

Even though we live in an age of over-sharing, grief remains the last pillar of “things we don’t talk about.” People die, flowers are sent, and then you are expected to move on. We do not express what we feel, or – God forbid – talk about a person who has died, so as not to make others feel uncomfortable.

But you know what? Grief doesn’t go away just because you ignore it. It stays with you forever and you grow a new body around it. You learn to live with it and its weight no longer drowns you. But he is still there – he is always there.

I am by no means a royalist now, my feelings towards the royal family are apathetic at best. I didn’t even look Crown. But I know grief, and I keep thinking how hard it would be to go through this in public. Yes, he is a king, but he is also a man who just lost his mother and I think that has been forgotten here.

It was lost in headlines, clicks and memes. He had just lost his mother and had to return to work the very next day. I wonder if the same people who laughed at his hands would laugh at me if my clumsy eyeliner smeared all over my face? Will they think it’s okay to laugh at the fact that I don’t score goals at work, the day after my father died?

I know the Internet is a playground for this kind of thing. And I know that many feel they have the right to judge those who are in the public eye – I’m just not one of those people, because I know that grief makes no difference.

I’m not asking you to feel sorry for King Charles, you don’t even have to love him. But maybe just take a moment and consider that maybe it wasn’t him who screwed up royally and lost his cool in his first week as king. Maybe this is how his grief manifests itself, and as uncomfortable as it may be for us to realize this (he is a real person! He has feelings! Grief is real!) there really is nothing funny about it.

Read related topics:Queen Elizabeth II

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