“We don’t know if he argued against it or not,” Professor Bogdanor said of the king’s meeting with Ms. von der Leyen, “but either way, he had to go along with it.”
What makes this episode murkier is that Charles, by instinct and experience, would be likely to embrace the Windsor Framework. The deal aims to reinforce the United Kingdom and reset relations between Britain and the European Union. While the king has never publicly opined on Brexit, he gave a hint of his views in a speech to the German Parliament in 2020, when he said, “no country is really an island.”
Moreover, Charles is a man of passionate political convictions who embraces causes, from climate change to organic farming, in a way that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, never did. He was frustrated, people with ties to the palace said, when the government of Mr. Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, advised him not to attend the United Nations climate summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, last fall.
Charles acknowledged after he ascended the throne in September that he would have to give up any political engagement. He did not protest the government’s advice to skip the climate conference but instead threw a glittering reception at Buckingham Palace before the event; the guest list included John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, and Stella McCartney, the fashion designer and a daughter of Paul McCartney, who has promoted sustainable manufacturing.
Climate change was one of the topics on the agenda at the king’s meeting with Ms. von der Leyen, according to the palace, as was Russia’s war in Ukraine. Charles welcomed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to Buckingham Palace earlier this month when he visited London to address Parliament and make an appeal for Britain to supply the Ukrainian air force with fighter planes.
Taking note of that visit, the government brushed aside questions about the king’s meeting with Ms. von der Leyen. “Ursula von der Leyen is a very senior international representative,” the foreign secretary, James Cleverly, said to LBC radio. “It is therefore not unusual as part of our hospitality to international guests to facilitate a meeting.”
But Britain’s support for Ukraine is widely accepted by the political establishment. The post-Brexit trade status for Northern Ireland, on the other hand, is the subject of almost theological debate among hard-line Brexiteers in Mr. Sunak’s Conservative Party and unionist politicians in Northern Ireland.
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