The new King: Green campaigner, expert skier and minehunter commander

·4-min read
The Prince of Wales salutes during a consecration service at Bramham Park (Richard Martin-Roberts/PA) (PA Wire)
The Prince of Wales salutes during a consecration service at Bramham Park (Richard Martin-Roberts/PA) (PA Wire)

Here is a look at the life and times of Charles, the new monarch.

– The eldest child of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on November 14 1948, weighing 7lb 6oz.

– His birth was the first time in centuries when there was no government minister present to witness the arrival of a future heir to the throne.

– He was christened Charles Philip Arthur George on December 15 1948 in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace.

– Charles became heir apparent on the death of his grandfather, King George VI, when his mother succeeded to the throne on February 6 1952. He was three years old.

– He was initially cared for by two Scottish nannies and a governess.

– In October 1956 he started as a day boy at Hill House School, in London’s fashionable Knightsbridge.

– The following year, at the age of eight, he went to Cheam School as a boarder.

– Charles was created Prince of Wales on July 26 1958, when he was nine years old.

– The 21st Prince of Wales, his investiture was carried out by the Queen on July 1 1969 at Caernarfon Castle when he was 20. It was televised and watched by an audience of 19 million people in the UK.

– As a teenager, Charles was educated at Gordonstoun school, near Elgin, Morayshire, in the Scottish Highlands, later telling of his unhappy time there.

– In October 1967 he went to Cambridge University to read archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College, later switching to history.

– He joined the armed forces in 1971 and was awarded his RAF wings at Cranwell in Lincolnshire a few months later. He went on to join the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and served on a number of ships. He also went to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton for helicopter flying training in 1974.

– He was given command of his own ship, the minehunter HMS Bronington, for the final 10 months of his active service in the Royal Navy which ended in 1976.

– Charles set up The Prince’s Trust in 1976, using money he was given when he left the Navy. It has become the UK’s leading youth charity, offering training, personal development, business start-up support, mentoring and advice.

– He wed Lady Diana Spencer in a fairytale ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29 1981.

– Their son William, now the Duke of Cambridge, was born on June 21 1982, followed by the birth of Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, on September 15 1984.

– As early as 1985 there were rumours Charles and Diana’s marriage was in trouble and in 1992 it was announced they were separating.

– In 1994, in a national television interview, Charles admitted he had been unfaithful after the breakdown of his marriage.

– A year later, Diana went on TV and also admitted adultery, with James Hewitt, but said there were “three people” in her marriage – Camilla Parker Bowles being the prince’s other woman.

– Charles and Diana divorced in 1996.

– The following year, Diana died in a car crash in Paris, sparking a mass outpouring of national grief.

– In 2005, the prince became engaged to long-term love and former mistress Camilla Parker Bowles.

– They married on April 9 2005 after the ceremony was delayed because of Pope John Paul II’s funeral. Camilla became HRH the Duchess of Cornwall.

– Charles is patron of more than 400 charities.

– He also set up the Duchy Originals brand and the eco-friendly “model” village of Poundbury near Dorchester in Dorset.

– He retired from playing polo in 2005 after 40 years. He is an experienced skier and an accomplished watercolourist.

– The prince is described in character as sensitive, spiritual, sometimes melancholic, with a strong social conscience.

– He is passionate about the environment, as well as preserving traditional skills and arts.

– He became the oldest heir to the throne for more than 300 years after overtaking William IV who became monarch in June 1830, aged 64 years, 10 months and five days. The oldest heir to the throne was Sophia of Hanover who died aged 83 in 1714.

– Charles was also the longest serving heir to the throne. He passed the record set by Edward VII who became monarch aged 59, when his mother Queen Victoria died in 1901.

– The prince became a grandfather for the first time in July 2013 when Prince George was born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.