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King Charles III

King Charles III: Great Britain's modern monarch

Image: bibiphoto /

On 8th September 2022, Prince Charles ascended to the throne upon the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. He became King Charles III at the age of 73 and ihe was crowned on 6th May 2023.

Formerly known as The Prince of Wales, Charles is the oldest monarch ever to assume the British throne. Let’s take a look back over his life up until his accession.

Early years

Born on 14th November 1948 at Buckingham Palace, Charles is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. In February 1952, Charles’ grandfather King George VI passed away and according to the lines of succession, his mother took the throne. This meant that Charles became the heir apparent aged just three years old.


His parents decided that the young prince was to be sent to school rather than tutored at the Palace. He started at Hill House School in West London on 7th November 1956 before changing to Cheam School in Berkshire just under a year later. It was at Cheam that the Queen gave him the title of The Prince of Wales.

In April 1962, he attended secondary school at Gordonstoun in Scotland, a school his father had attended. A few years later, Charles studied in Melbourne, Australia, as an exchange student.

In 1967, Prince Charles went to Cambridge University to study archaeology, anthropology and history at Trinity College. In 1970 he graduated with a 2:2 degree.

Military career

After graduating, Charles began life in the military, undertaking jet pilot training with the RAF in early 1971. Upon completion, Charles embarked on a career with the Royal Navy, something his father, grandfather and both his great-grandfathers had done.

After completing training at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Charles served on the destroyer HMS Norfolk as well as two other frigates. He then qualified as a helicopter pilot at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset in 1974 and went on to join 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

His final months in the Navy were spent commanding the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington.

Marriage and family

In 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the first royal wedding held there since 1501. Over 750 million people from 74 countries tuned in to watch the ceremony on television.

The pair went on to have two sons, William (born 1982) and Harry (born 1984) before their marriage dissolved in mid-1996. Diana died in a car crash in Paris just over a year later.

On 9th April 2005, Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor. Afterwards, Camilla became known as The Duchess of Cornwall.

In April 2011, Charles’ eldest son William married Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey and in May 2018, Charles’ youngest Harry married Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

In July 2013, at the age of 64, Charles became a grandfather upon the birth of Prince George, the eldest son of Prince William.


Charles has enjoyed many sports over the years including skiing and surfing, but his first love was always polo, a hobby he has relished playing for more than 40 years.

Charles is also an accomplished watercolourist, with his love of painting dating back over 50 years to his time at school in Scotland. Inspired by his art master at Gordonstoun, Charles began to paint the royal estates and their surrounding areas. He’s gone on to have his work put on display at exhibitions and the Royal Mail has even released a series of stamps featuring his paintings.

Prince’s Trust

Apart from his official duties, Charles has always taken an active interest in many areas of public life. Over the past 40 years, he's helped to establish more than 25 charities, including The Prince's Trust and The Prince's Foundation.

Upon leaving the Navy in 1976, Charles used his military pension of £7,400 to found The Prince’s Trust, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK. Since then, the Prince’s Trust has supported over one million young people, providing them with courses and training to help them succeed in life.

Environmental beliefs

From a young age, Charles has been a committed environmentalist and has spoken about the importance of sustainability for decades. He’s also used his role to highlight the need for immediate action against the threat of climate change.

In 1986, he founded The Prince’s Foundation, an organisation dedicated to championing sustainable approaches to how we live our lives and build our communities. The foundation is inspired by Charles’ philosophy of harmony and balance.

In 2019, Charles launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), a global forum with the mission of building 'a coordinated global effort to enable the private sector to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future’.

Duchy of Cornwall & Poundbury

For over 70 years until his accession, Charles was the steward of the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate spanning 20 counties and covering some 52,449 hectares. Charles managed the estate with sustainability at the forefront, a mindset his son William has now taken on as the new steward of the Duchy.

In 1994, Charles created the village of Poundbury, built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. The village is an urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester and was created with principles of architecture designed to ‘create a sustainable community which achieves an attractive, modern and pleasing place in which people can live, work, shop and play’. As of 2019, Poundbury had 3,800 residents living in 1,700 homes across the village.