King Charles in ‘Denial’ Over Planning of Foreign Tour in the Fall


Clive Alderton, King Charles’s private secretary who was memorably nicknamed “the wasp” in Prince Harry’s memoir, has been in Australia in recent days, preparing the ground for his master’s forthcoming visit to that country, expected to take place in mid-October this year.

The absence of an Alderton sighting in New Zealand, however, has served as yet more evidence that Charles has now all but cancelled his tour of that country, which was to be bolted on to the Australia trip. A proposed trip to Fiji has also, reportedly, been shelved.

Buckingham Palace has not yet confirmed the cancellation, although even the prime minister of New Zealand came close to conceding the truth of the worst kept secret in diplomacy when he said this weekend that Charles had an “open invitation” to visit the country. Another lawmaker said, “If the royal visit is cancelled, New Zealanders will be typically reasonable about it.”

U.K. newspaper The Daily Mirror broke the news of the cancellation last week, saying it would be “a bitter disappointment on both sides,” but for now the Palace is sticking to the line that planning for the trip continues.

The Palace’s unwillingness to rush out an announcement is entirely understandable, given that they still hope Charles will be able to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) conference in Samoa despite his ongoing cancer fight. Courtiers will want to have a definitive schedule approved and signed off by the king and his doctors before they start rocking the boat.

As to why his office has appeared so intent on maintaining what many now believe is the fiction that he is still going to New Zealand and Fiji, another royal source told The Daily Beast: “They are in denial by continuing to say that planning for the overseas trip is full steam ahead, but the orders come from the top. Charles is optimistic and desperately wants to keep going with everything. Missing New Zealand is a great loss, and it will be a source of great regret for him, because to be honest he probably won’t be doing it again. But it’s frankly incredible that he is still doing Australia and that should be celebrated.

“Australia is such an important part of the Commonwealth that Charles feels it is absolutely non-negotiable. There is considerable popular antipathy to the entire concept of the British monarch being head of state there, and of course he doesn’t want to go down as the man who lost Australia. To go there when he is being treated for cancer wasn’t what he planned—but you could hardly think of a better way of letting Australians know how important they are to the crown.”

The Mirror also reported that the Australian tour is being reduced to six days—including a two-day break.

But Charles’ entirely unsurprising decision to cancel the New Zealand leg of the tour has raised questions about running a packed schedule while being treated for cancer.

A friend of the king told The Daily Beast: “Charles is keenly aware of the importance of a visit by the monarch, not just to a foreign country but to domestic charities and organizations. That is why he has been determined to do as much as he can, meet as many people as he can and support as many causes as he can. Sitting in splendid isolation in Balmoral with his feet up would not be good for his morale. But at the same time, if the doctors—and his wife—say no to something, he has to listen to them. I think that is what we are seeing now.”

The Daily Beast has previously reported that Queen Camilla is among those urging Charles to “slow down,” concerned he might exhaust himself and risk his recovery by taking on too many public engagements.

“She has been trying to encourage him to slow down,” one friend of the queen previously told The Daily Beast. “Of course, he wants to keep cracking on, but she is afraid that doing too much could set him back.”

Charles was diagnosed with cancer in February after a routine prostate procedure. He took several weeks off public-facing work but returned to public duties in April with the Palace saying his medical team had been sufficiently encouraged by his progress to allow it.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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