The 74-year-old king traveled to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire on Thursday, February 16, to mark its new status as a city. When he arrived at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone, anti-monarchy protesters were visible in the crowd of onlookers. The demonstrators held up yellow signs that read, “Not My King,” but Charles paid the motion no mind as he shook hands with others outside the venue.
According to Daily Express correspondent Richard Palmer, who shared footage of the appearance via Twitter, there were “around 20 protestors” present on Thursday. The public action was reportedly organized by the group Republic, which also has plans to protest Charles’ upcoming coronation in May.
The eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II ignored the negative response, instead interacting with supportive members of the crowd. In a social media video shared by Heart News East, the protestors were drowned out by a chorus of “God Save the King.”
Thursday’s demonstration wasn’t the first awkward moment Charles has had with civilians since assuming the throne in September 2022 after Elizabeth’s death. At the University of East London earlier this month, the former Prince of Wales laughed off a fan’s request to bring Prince Harry back to the U.K. following his royal exit with Meghan Markle. (The couple moved to California in 2020 after stepping down from their senior royal duties.)
“Can you bring him back, sir?” the attendee asked. Charles seemingly didn’t hear the question, laughed and walked away.
The sovereign previously received a less-than-warm welcome at a November 2022 appearance in York, when his walkabout with wife Queen Consort Camilla was disrupted by a man who booed the couple and appeared to throw several eggs in their direction. Charles narrowly avoided being struck before the protestor was ushered away by police.
As the palace prepares for Charles’ coronation, remaining senior royals have had to navigate their fair share of drama. Last month, Harry, 38, published his debut memoir, which shed light on his royal upbringing, military service and more — and included some jaw-dropping details about his fractured bond with brother Prince William.
“It’s obviously business as usual as far as their royal duties go,” the insider explained in January, noting that dealing with Harry’s headline-making revelations moved to the “top of the agenda” for The Firm. “There’s an acute awareness that Harry and Meghan seem to be looking for a reaction.”
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At the moment, it’s unclear whether Harry and Meghan, 41, will be invited to Charles’ coronation across the pond. However, royal expert Angela Levin told Us earlier this month that Charles might be hopeful about reconciling with the Invictus Games founder.
“He loves Harry,” the author told Us. “He might not like what he’s doing, but he loves him and there’s a weakness there for him. He doesn’t want to lose him as a son.”