September 14, 2022, LONDON – Rumi Verjee, a British businessman, philanthropist and member of the House of Lords whose relationship with the new monarch goes back 40 years, says King Charles III will be a different ruler than his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Speaking to CTV News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Omar Sachedina, Verjee said he has been “fortunate” to meet the King “many times.” Verjee was in Westminster Hall on Monday as the King addressed members of both Houses of Parliament for the first time.
“It’s such a historic occasion to see a change in monarchy,” Verjee said. “I actually felt for him to have this huge weight of history.”
While Verjee acknowledges the King has had “many years to prepare” to step into the role of Sovereign, he said there’s still a lot of pressure when the time finally comes.
“Just like the Queen’s passing, we knew it was going to happen, but actually it’s still a shock when it happens. And I think for him he’s been preparing for so many years — it’s still a huge shock,” Verjee said.
Verjee added that the King’s mother has just died, meaning he has to take on these new responsibilities during a time of personal sadness and grief.
“I’ve lost a mother and I know how I felt at the time. I couldn’t imagine having to face the cameras and face the public,” he said.
Having known the King for years, Verjee said he is a “very sensitive and emotional man.” He added the King has “huge boots to fill,” and knows it.
“Imagine being in this job and you can’t say what you think, you can’t show what you feel and that you have to be completely above everything,” Verjee said. “I think that’s going to be the toughest job for him.”
Verjee said the Queen was “really good” at hiding her emotions and “never slipped up” as to let others know what she was thinking. The King is not like that, he said.
“At the end of the day, he is a monarch, but he’s also a human being,” he said.
However, Verjee said the King will be just as committed to the responsibilities of being Sovereign as the Queen was.
“(The Queen) was just incredibly dedicated to the job that she inherited and was given, and I think King Charles has the same… sense of public duty,” Verjee said in an interview on Tuesday.
THE FATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE MONARCHY
Despite being a sensitive man, Verjee said the King is also dogmatic when it comes to issues he cares about, such as the environment and combatting climate change.
“He’s been talking about the environment for years and years and years, and people laughed at him,” he said.
“I think now, particularly with his new role, people are seeing that this is a man who has strong views, will stick to them if he believes that they’re right and it is extraordinary.”
While there has been a lot of discussion about the King “modernizing” the monarchy, there has been no definition of what that modernization would look like. Verjee said doing so will be “difficult” but thinks the King “will achieve” it.
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