The newly-crowned King Charles III had the first viral moment of his reign this weekend, and it was not flattering. In a video circulating on social media, the king can be seen waving for a servant to come and clear away some items from his desk. Many commenters seem to think the clip is immature and petulant.
The video was taken on Saturday when King Charles was signing his accession proclamation. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II passed away last week at the age of 96. There are a lot of ceremonies in store for the new monarch as he lays his mother to rest and accepts the throne for himself, and in the meantime, he must project confidence through questions of the value of his office in the modern age. This video was powerful ammunition for his critics, who accused him of being out of touch and unkind.
Of course, there are many people in the U.K. who still seem to hold the royal family in high esteem and admire King Charles. Some jumped to his defense as this video made the rounds, saying that it was taken out of context or explaining his behavior in other ways. Here's a look at the surprisingly lively discussion around this short video clip.
Clean my desk peasants an then lick my hand again 😀🤡— Vjeran (@vjeran_cry) September 12, 2022
If Charles giving that "pledging his serving his subjects" speech and chastising his servant for not clearing objects off the desk doesn't give you whiplash, I have some jars of magic water I would like to sell you.— Delaney King (@delaneykingrox) September 12, 2022
In the modern era, the king is meant to be a public servant, and the royal family emphasizes this aspect of their role often. Some viewers thought that this video contradicted that idea pretty starkly.prevnext
"The servant must clear my desk for me. I can't be expected to move things." pic.twitter.com/0pZqY2Xopq— Laura Kuenssberg Translator (@BBCLauraKT) September 10, 2022
Many commenters appended their own guesses about what the king was thinking or saying during this clip. They projected a haughty, entitled voice onto him.prevnext
King Charles if he had to move things off his own desk pic.twitter.com/iUYKqHCb6e— Seasonally Depressive Autumn Hater (@katamaridumassy) September 11, 2022
Users shared memes implying that the king was not strong or coordinated enough to clear his own desk. It didn't take long to graft this video onto other images across the internet.prevnext
I'm seeing actual panic from BM and royalists. Now they have the international spotlight and live streams for a hot moment and the first day shows such a noticeable coldness and distance between W&K and Charles being openly rude to staff. And then they make up lies about H&M— Gullible Fangirl 🤡 (@SneezeCocoa) September 11, 2022
👀…and Meghan Markle was accused of bullying & disrespecting palace staff. If #MeghanMarkle had behaved like this on camera it would be interpreted in the most vile way followed by media crucifixion galore but not for King Charles III. https://t.co/9yrgXtgkjG— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) September 11, 2022
While most people saw this video as a simple "meme of the day," some perceived it as a legitimate public relations crisis for the royal family. They quickly related it to other controversial topics King Charles will be facing in the future.prevnext
helping people, being polite, grateful, helpful, not condescending, caring about people etc. Humanity and respect. Basically the normal rules of conduct. Things you do in addition to things you have to do from your position. That's what life is all about!— Mike (@MikeZaandam) September 11, 2022
EXACTLY! That’s what I said! That’s what they are employed to do. Do your job. You don’t like your job, find another one.— Stephanie Teich (@StephanieTeich) September 12, 2022
The king had his vocal defenders online. Some argued that this particular moment was taken out of context, while others thought that the king was well within his rights to order a desk cleaned before he sat down at it. They felt that it would have been unbecoming for someone of his station to clear his own desk.prevnext
This is how King Charles treats his servants. pic.twitter.com/pwlBEPblkl— Resilient (@KaindeB) September 10, 2022
This video clip tells you how they treat their staff. pic.twitter.com/A74jRLNduX— Resilient (@KaindeB) September 10, 2022
It didn't take long for royal critics to dig up other videos of King Charles treating his staff impolitely.prevnext
The world is just now waking up to the fact that King Charles III is a bit of a spoiled brat with poor manners toward his working staff.
He always has been like this. Get used to it.— 🎃🍂Rocky Mountain Views🍂🎃 (@RockyMountViews) September 12, 2022
Finally, many people criticized the fixation on this video itself. They felt like it was not major news that the king acted this way towards his staff.prev