The plan for what would happen on the day Queen Elizabeth II passed away, handing her crown to her heir Charles, was laid out clearly for years before she died.
Operation London Bridge – the arrangement specifically relating to her death – and Operation Spring Tide – the plan to facilitate King Charles’ ascension – had factored in every possible step in minute detail.
But just days after Britain’s longest-serving monarch died peacefully in Balmoral, and with the newly-minted and grieving Charles III having hit the ground running in his new role, the national mood has undergone a subtle but significant shift beyond the control of anything the Royal institution could have created.
Charles – who has regularly languished toward the bottom of popularity polls, still somewhat tainted by the toxic breakdown of his marriage to Princess Diana amid his affair with Camilla – has been embraced by his bereaved nation.
“He will definitely (make a good King),” Heather, 69, from Berkshire told news.com.au at the floral tribute garden near Buckingham Palace in London.
“He’s been waiting for years and he’s been preparing himself for it and he’s going to be great.”
Meanwhile, Charles’ emotional inaugural speech as King on Friday had struck a chord with Holly, 37, from London.
“His speech the other night was beautiful, I thought it was perfect. He’s had a lot of practice, he’s had a lot of training, it’s just sad that he’s mourning his mum and he’s got such a big job to do,” she said.
18-year-old Grace from Leicester echoed the comments of many people surveyed by news.com.au, who pointed out that he’d had the best possible example of how to rule the country.
“He knows what his mother did and will follow in her footsteps,” she said.
“I think he’s had her as a very good example so he’s had time to learn from her.”
“He’ll definitely, definitely make a good King – I think he’s great,” Steve, 73, from Berkshire added.
The overwhelmingly positive response to the new King comes just four months after he rated 7th in a YouGov poll of royals’ popularity, attracting a fairly uninspiring rating of just 42%.
(The Queen, of course, came in first with a score of 75%).
So when, exactly, did that turning point come for Charles?
It would take a hard-hearted person to not feel compassion and empathy for him during his recent grief-stricken appearances outside Buckingham Palace, where he greeted fellow mourners.
The stiff British upper lip, a long-favoured setting of the royal family, was gone – and in its place was a man desperately sad to have lost his mum and grateful for the support of others who loved her.
The other turning point, perhaps, came in his pitch-perfect address to the nation on Friday, where he was widely praised for his emotional tribute to his mother.
“I know that her death brings great sadness to so many,” he said in the prerecorded televised address.
“And I share that sense of loss beyond measure with you all.”
After going on to promise a secure future for the monarchy and extending an olive branch to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, he offered his most vulnerable and raw public moment yet.
“And to my darling Ma’ma, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you,” he said.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest’.”
It’s been forecast for decades that the last remaining ties to the monarchy would die with Queen Elizabeth II, and that Charles’ reign would signal the beginning of the end.
With emotions still high and many struggling to come to terms with their loss, that may still come to pass when the dust settles.
But for now, at least? It seems its “God Save the King”.
Originally published as Huge clue about King Charles’ future following Queen Elizabeth II’s death