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The casket carrying Queen Elizabeth II is en route to her final resting place

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The casket carrying Queen Elizabeth II is en route to her final resting place at Windsor Palace. We have been watching the funeral ceremonies all morning. I am here with NPR's Frank Langfitt and author Claudia Joseph. We have observed all of the highest ceremony, pomp and circumstance during the memorial. Through it all, this one individual, King Charles, has had to find his way managing his own grief, Claudia. And at the same time, he is now the king of England. He has had to assume his new role. What are your observations about how he has navigated the last few days and today in particular?

CLAUDIA JOSEPH: Well, I think it's very interesting. Anyone who's grieved will know that actually honoring the person who's died is a very important part of that for anyone, if it's your mother or the queen. And I think that he's navigated it extremely well. But I think he will find it a huge comfort that all the things they've done, particularly, I think, when they were doing the vigil, both at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh and Westminster Hall down in London, I think those were very poignant moments. And I think that he will be greatly comforted that, although he is obviously grief-stricken and it's obviously a very difficult time for him, I think he'll be comforted by the fact that he's done this for both the queen and his mother.

MARTIN: Frank, he now, as king - sets his own agenda is not the right expression, but he will seek to maintain the same stability as his mother brought but potentially differentiate himself. I mean, who does he want to be as monarch?

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: We don't know yet. I mean, it's going to be very interesting to see has - who he - how he frames himself in the coming months and then, of course, the coronation, which will be next year. Many people - and certainly this is a talking point from Buckingham Palace - focus on perhaps the environment. This is an area where he took a great interest when he was very young. I've seen quite impassioned, interesting speeches from the '70s on this before it was a terribly popular issue. And this would be a way also to appeal to younger people. One of concerns, though, is, in the past - and this was a while back - he used to write memos to government officials about certain issues that he cared about. And he's - he has to be very careful not to cross a line. And he is seen by some critics in the past to be a meddler. Now he's - you know, that was many years ago. So we'll see how that all plays out. But people, I think, will be watching it very closely to see how he tries to define himself as different from his mother.

MARTIN: Although, Claudia, he just - he does not have the popularity that his mother had, in part because there were so many scandals that he was at the center of, and people knew more about him personally than they ever did his mother.

JOSEPH: Well, I think that you've also got to remember that the queen was on the throne for 70 years, and she had a long time to gain in popularity. And if you - coming up to her Silver Jubilee with her annus horribilis and all the rest of it, I think there was a certain perception that there wouldn't be the celebrations. And then everybody's astounded because there were. And, again, with her Golden Jubilee and her Diamond Jubilee and her Platinum - I think each time, people have been surprised by the popularity of the monarchy, and I think we'll find that with Prince Charles, as well. Everybody says - oh, no, sorry - King Charles III...

MARTIN: You have to adjust.

JOSEPH: Everybody says that he's not as popular as his mother, but he's been - he was Prince of Wales, and he's now king.

MARTIN: Yeah.

JOSEPH: And those roles are very different. And I think that you've seen the people wanting to talk to him, wanting to hold his hand, wanting to meet their future king, wanting to kiss that - kiss his hand, kiss his...

MARTIN: Right. To receive him and this moment.

JOSEPH: And I think he'll grow and grow in popularity.

MARTIN: Frank, I do want to ask in seconds remaining, is his - does his popularity extend to the other commonwealth nations?

LANGFITT: Well, we're going to see how that goes. Many of them, I think, were willing to have the queen as their head of state, but we see less support these days. Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, did a tour in the Caribbean where they had some troubles. I mean, they made some mistakes that were not their fault, and they apparently have learned from it. But I think the commonwealth, to watch - will some of these countries still stick with the monarchy with a new person in charge who they may not feel the same way about?

MARTIN: Author Claudia Joseph, NPR's Frank Langfitt. Thanks to you both. I appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.