PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Before he became King Charles III, the former Prince of Wales launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative, with a goal to create a global partnership between government and the private sector, focused on a sustainable future.
That’s how Providence resident Nicholas Autiello met King Charles III, while working as head of sustainable finance for the initiative.
Autiello tells 12 News he’s nothing like you would expect.
“There’s no such thing as being a normal person when you live in a palace, but … he was oddly relatable,” Autiello said.
As the world gets accustomed to the new king following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Autiello remembers the monarch as someone with an ability to connect with people.
“He’s just incredibly warm and funny, and not at all what you would expect someone in that position to be like,” Autiello said.
Autiello believes the king is prepared to take on this new role.
“There has been no one who has had a longer time to prepare for a role like this than he has,” Autiello said.
While preparations for this moment have been underway for a while, New England’s British Consul-General Peter Abbott said those preparations didn’t make the Queen’s death any less shocking.
“People have been feeling an immense amount of grief and sorrow, and it’s part of her majesty’s extraordinary magic, I think, that she was able to be at the same time, both a sovereign and a monarch of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but at the same time also feel like she was almost your mother or your grandmother,” Abbott said.
At the British Consulate General in Boston, changes are already underway.
“We don’t have pictures of the king up yet, but I think that will happen pretty soon. I have changed my email signature to say ‘His Majesty’s Consul General in New England’ as opposed to ‘Her Majesty’s’,'” Abbott said. “There will be other small changes like that, but generally, I think the message is one of transition and continuity.”
As that transition occurs, Autiello said he thinks the king will bring sustainability into the spotlight.
“Many people have their opinions, on the monarchy, on him,” Autiello said. “But I think the world will be greatly served by one of the greatest environmentalists of our time, taking a position like the King of England.”
“To be able to elevate the most critical issue the world is facing today on that stage, is something I think will be remarkable and surprise people,” he added.
Starting Monday, the British Consulate in Boston will be opening a book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II at the Old North Church.
It will be open through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to sign or leave flowers if they want to pay their respects.