Will King Charles III be as influential a monarch as Queen Elizabeth II?
Catherine Drew in London
The year 2022 was a tumultuous one for the British royal family, with the the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history.
For the majority of Britons, she was the only monarch they had ever known. She had been the UK's figurehead on the international stage for seven decades and her passing marked a milestone in British history.
Tributes were paid to the Queen, head of the Commonwealth group of nations, in all corners of the world. Many believe keeping the Commonwealth together without the Queen will be a major challenge.
"Obviously Barbados has already voted to become a republic," Murray Pittock, a historian at the University of Glasgow, tells CGTN. "And particularly if others start to detach from the Commonwealth, that will draw attention to its historic role and the way it is presented now. It's a delicate moment."
Leading in that moment is the Queen's eldest son, King Charles III, who had waited in the wings for decades. As Prince Charles, he had more freedom to pursue his own interests and charitable causes. But as the new monarch, he appears to have accepted he will have to be less outspoken.
King Charles did not attend the UN's annual Climate Change conference COP27 in Egypt in November, although he hosted climate leaders at Buckingham Palace.
Some observers believe Charles will inevitably struggle to wield the influence his mother did.
Anti-royal sentiment on the rise in the UK
Jonathan Spangler, who studies royal dynasties at Manchester Metropolitan University, says during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the British royals easily eclipsed other royal families around the world in terms of prominence.
"With her passing, that changes a bit – the Windsors are not the global brand they once were," he says. "Charles will be a fine monarch, but he doesn't have the gigantic presence that Elizabeth II had."
Opinion polls suggest anti-royal sentiment is on the rise in the UK, with 22 percent of people telling pollsters Ipsos Mori in May 2022 that the monarchy should be abolished in favor of an elected head of state.
Meanwhile, supporters of the British royals hope King Charles III's coronation will boost his popularity. But it will come during a cost-of-living crisis, with millions of people facing intense economic pressures.
For some, lavish displays of wealth are likely to increase questions about the role of Britain's monarchy. Others, though, may welcome the full pageantry of such an historic event, which is due to take place in early May.