This article provides a brief overview of some of the important moments in the life of Prince Charles, the current King of England. It covers his early years from birth in 1948 up to his time at school in 1956. Some of the highlights include his first birthday portrait, which was taken by Marcus Adams and featured Charles alone and standing on his mother’s knee. The photo was so charming that it was recently shared on social media to mark Mother’s Day.
In 1950, Charles became a big brother when Princess Anne was born, and a few days later, his mother, Elizabeth, wrote in her diary that “her brother seems very fascinated by her and treats her with great care.” Cecil Beaton took a photograph of Charles leaning over Anne’s cot to kiss her, and the photographer wrote in his diary that it reminded him of “the great moment in The Sleeping Beauty.”
In 1951, when Charles turned three, he sat with his grandfather, King George VI, on a sofa for a photo session that became his only memory of the King. Other snaps from the November 14 shoot showed the future Queen Mum holding Princess Anne. The young royals’ parents were on a five-week trip to Canada at the time, so the children were staying with their grandparents. On November 17, Charles went to greet his mother at London’s Euston Station on her return, and an urban myth was born that Elizabeth greeted her son with nothing but a formal handshake. In fact, she hugged and kissed him and then had a chat.
In 1952, Charles became heir to the throne when his grandfather, King George VI, died, and his mother ascended to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. In September 1953, Charles watched his mother’s coronation with “eyes wide with wonder,” although he yawned at one point during the ceremony.
In April 1954, Charles and Anne set off on the Royal Yacht Britannia’s maiden voyage to meet up with their parents in Libya after five months apart due to the royal couple’s Commonwealth tour. The Queen wrote to her mother after the reunion, “It is so wonderful to be with them again!” but she noted later that they “were terribly polite,” adding, “I don’t think they really knew who we were.”
In 1955, Charles flew in a plane for the first time, catching a Viking aircraft at RAF Dyce near Balmoral for the flight home to London with Anne. Two months later, the Royal Family had a holiday aboard the Britannia, up the west coast to Scotland, with stops at beaches en route. One stop, at Lindsway near Milford Haven, saw the future Prince of Wales step on to Welsh soil for the first time.
in 1956, Charles celebrated his eighth birthday with a portrait taken by Antony Armstrong-Jones, who four years later married Princess Margaret and became the Earl of Snowdon, Charles’s uncle. In November of that year, Charles started as a day student at Hill House School in London’s Knightsbridge, becoming the first heir to the throne to go to school instead of being taught by a private tutor. A newsreel of the school’s sports day showed the serious Prince introducing his parents to his classmates, who obediently bowed. In December, Charles made his stage debut in Hill House School’s end-of-year concert, performing with classmates in a “poem dance.”
In June of 1963, during Charles’s second year at Gordonstoun School, he visited a pub with other boys on the Isle of Lewis and asked for a cherry brandy. This led to news reports of his underage drinking, causing him to say, “The world exploded around my ears.” However, around the same time, Charles started cello lessons, which became one of his lifelong passions. After the Queen Mother took him to a concert, Charles was captivated by the rich, deep sound of the cello and began taking lessons.
In 1964, Prince Edward was born when Charles was 15 years old, and he was ill in the hospital with pneumonia after a Gordonstoun camping trip. At the time, his mother wrote to a friend, “Charles, I’m thankful to say, is better but very frail as yet.” However, a bright spot arrived in the form of Charles’s English teacher, Eric Anderson, who introduced him to Shakespeare, which became one of his great loves. The classes with Anderson were Charles’s happiest time at school, and he complained that previously, they had only “ground our way through” the plays.
In 1965, Charles played the title role in a school production of Macbeth, wearing a fake beard. His English teacher later recalled that Charles played the character as “a sensitive soul who is behaving in a way that is really uncharacteristic of him because of other forces.” For once, the Queen and Prince Philip attended the performance, and Charles was hugely excited about it. However, during his death scene, Charles could only hear his father’s laughter, which made him feel gutted. He asked the Duke, “Why did you laugh?” Philip replied, “It sounds like The Goons.”
When Charles was sent to the Australian bush for two school terms in 1966, he found snakes, bull ants, spiders – and happiness. He said, “Part of my own education took place here in Australia. Quite frankly, it was by far the best part.” At 17 years old, Charles arrived at Timbertop, the wilderness branch of Geelong Grammar, where he was treated like anyone else. While there, he did his first official solo engagements in front of crowds, which boosted his confidence when talking to people. When he left, his friends at the school gave him a rousing, “Three cheers for Prince Charles – a real Pommy bastard!”
In 1967, Charles began his university education at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, where he was the first heir to the throne to receive a university education. He studied history, anthropology, and archaeology and went about on a bicycle. On October 9, a crowd of 1,000 watched as he arrived at the college, and newspapers reported that while he tidied his own room, there was a “bedder” to make his bed. Years later, on a visit to a nearby museum, Charles revealed that he had once been hit by a bus while riding his bike as a student.
In March of 1968, Charles made his first public appearance as a musician, playing cello at a concert in Cambridge put on by the Trinity College Musical Society. Later that year, he took flying lessons after getting reluctant permission from the Queen, who admitted to feeling “quite anxious” about the plan.
In an effort to reduce costs for the event at Caernarfon Castle on July 1, they placed a table tennis ball dipped in gold on the new crown. The event was viewed by 500 million people globally, and Charles considered it the biggest challenge of his life up until that point. He prepared for it by studying Welsh history and language at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth for a term. However, his presence stirred up nationalists, and he faced frequent protests during his lectures. Three weeks before the investiture, Charles gave a speech in nearly perfect Welsh, which received loud cheers.
On his 21st birthday, the Queen gave Charles a blue Aston Martin DB6 Volante convertible, which he still cherishes. However, he later converted it to run on bioethanol in line with his eco-friendly values.
In 1970, Charles accepted an invitation from US President Richard Nixon to stay at the White House in July. However, he was surprised to learn that Nixon wanted to set him up with his daughter, Tricia Nixon. Charles politely went along with it, but later admitted to finding her “artificial and plastic.” In February of that year, Charles became a pioneer in the fight against plastic waste, warning of the mountains of refuse that non-returnable bottles and indestructible plastic containers could create. He was initially criticized for these views.
In June 1971, Charles was introduced to Camilla Shand, who Lucia Santa Cruz, his ex-lover, thought would be a perfect match for him. Though Camilla was in love with Army Major Andrew Parker Bowles, she and Charles began calling and meeting up.
Charles and Camilla were first pictured together at a polo match in 1972, while her boyfriend was posted abroad with the Army. They spent time together at Broadlands, the Hampshire estate owned by Lord Mountbatten, where Charles’s parents had spent part of their honeymoon.
On his 25th birthday, November 14, 1973, Charles watched his sister Anne marry Captain Mark Phillips. However, his own love story came to a halt when his relationship with Camilla was put on hold due to his posting to the Caribbean with the Navy for eight months. Their last meeting ended with Charles telling Camilla he loved her but offering no commitment. The following month, Camilla announced her engagement to Parker Bowles, leaving Charles heartbroken.
In April 1974, Charles met Barbra Streisand at a recording studio in Los Angeles and they became friends.
Now Let Dive To
IN a historic moment of reconciliation, Charles shook hands with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
The meeting, in Galway on May 19, came the day before Charles visited Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, where Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, an act once justified by Adams.
May 2 saw the arrival of his first granddaughter, Princess Charlotte. A few days later, a chuffed Charles told reporters: “I was hoping for a girl!”
ON April 23, Charles made a surprise appearance on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company during a special televised performance marking 400 years since the Bard’s death.
The sketch featured actors including David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench debating how to deliver Hamlet’s famous line “To be or not to be . . . ”.
Then Charles, the RSC’s director, suddenly walked on stage and asked: “Might I have a word?” There was a dramatic pause before he slammed home the perfect delivery: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Two days earlier, Charles was with the Queen as she celebrated turning 90 at Windsor and lit the first in a chain of 1,000 beacons.
THE frail Queen watched from a balcony on November 12 as Charles laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on her behalf. It was the most visible sign to date of the shift of duties from monarch to heir.
Earlier in the year, thoughtful Charles made Sun royal photographer Arthur Edwards’s year when, after an audience with Pope Francis, he intro-duced our man to the Pontiff.
The Prince said of the devout Catholic snapper: “He is an important man. He has followed us for 40 years.”
During the royal’s Vatican visit on April 4, Francis gave him a sculpture of an olive branch and said: “May you be a man of peace.”
IN the absence of Meghan’s ailing father, Charles walked her down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19.
Harry later revealed: “I asked him to, and I think he knew it was coming, and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs, and I’m here to support you’. ”
The Duchess of Sussex said Charles had been “very charming”.
In a documentary to mark Charles’s 70th birthday on November 14, Camilla revealed what a doting grandfather Charles was.
She said of his time with the children: “He will get down on his knees and crawl about, making funny noises and laughing.”
CHARLES got the giggles as he watched grandson George trying to make Christmas puddings in aid of the Royal British Legion in December. The six-year-old went for a stabbing motion when tackling the mixture.
The Queen and Prince William also took part in the Legion’s Together at Christmas campaign.
Charles became a grandfather of four when Harry’s first child Archie was born on May 6. He said: “We couldn’t be more delighted at the news.”
Back in March, Charles and Camilla became the first British royals to visit Cuba. The Prince proved to be a natural at making mojitos at a Havana bar.
But the couple’s visit to New Zealand in November was overshadowed by Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview, broadcast the night before their arrival.
Charles was said to be “furious”. On November 20, Buckingham Palace said Andrew was suspending his public duties “for the forseeable future”.
WITH Britain in its fifth week of lockdown as we battled Covid, Charles and Camilla joined in the Clap For Carers on April 23.
This was their first appearance together since the Prince recovered from coronavirus.
In January, he had been reportedly “incandescent with rage” when Harry and Meghan blindsided the family by announcing they would be stepping back from royal life.
Harry later claimed in a TV interview that, in revenge, his father had “literally cut me off financially” in the first quarter of the year.
However, Clarence House produced accounts showing that, in fact, Charles continued to fund the Sussexes until the summer.
Yet the strain in the family was clear at Harry and Meghan’s final royal engagement on March 9, at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
The pair left for a new life in the US at the end of the month.
AFTER the Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9, two months before his 100th birthday, Charles paid tribute in an emotional video message.
He said: “My dear Papa was a very special person, who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction.”
He added: “My family and I miss my father enormously.”
A couple of months later, Charles revealed in a BBC documentary: “I was talking to him the day before he died. I said: ‘We’re talking about your birthday and whether there’s going to be a reception.’ And he said: ‘Well, I’ve got to be alive for it, haven’t I?’
“I said: ‘I knew you’d say that!’ Anyway, it’s a happy memory.”
On October 31, Charles addressed G20 world leaders in Rome ahead of COP26. He said of the climate- change summit: “It is the last-chance saloon. We must now translate fine words into still finer actions.”
THE Queen died on September 8 and in his first speech as King, Charles spoke for millions when he paid tribute. He said: “Thank you for your love and devotion to the family of nations you have served so diligently.” Quoting Shakespeare, he heartbreakingly added: “And may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” The Queen had made her last appearance on June 5 for the Platinum Jubilee. There were tears in her eyes when she stepped on to the Palace balcony. Charles walked behind his mother’s coffin when she was laid to rest on September 19.
2023 BERLIN’S Brandenburg Gate offered a dramatic backdrop on March 29 for Charles’s first overseas trip as King. And perhaps the symbol of Germany’s reunification gave the new monarch hope for an end to the Cold War still raging within his family. Harry had released memoir Spare on January 10, full of painful accusations. Among the attacks, the Duke of Sussex’s claim that Camilla “sacrificed me on her personal PR altar” was especially agonising to Charles. But it also contained heart-warming revelations about the King, such as his habit of calling Harry “my darling boy”. On April 12, it was announced Harry would come to the Coronation, although Meghan would stay at home in California with their children.
From Birminghamgist.com mediaI would be happy to expand on my earlier message to King Charles on his coronation day.
Your Majesty King Charles, I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to you on this historic day of your coronation. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and we are honored to bear witness to this momentous occasion.
As you take on the mantle of King, we know that you will lead with the same dedication and commitment to public service that you have demonstrated throughout your life. Your extensive charitable work, advocacy for the environment, and dedication to causes such as mental health and education have made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities around the world. We are inspired by your example and look forward to seeing the positive changes that you will continue to bring about as our monarch.
We also want to express our confidence in your ability to lead the monarchy with grace, integrity, and honor. We know that you hold the traditions and values of the monarchy close to your heart and we are confident that you will continue to uphold them while also embracing change and modernity. Your long-standing commitment to the arts, culture, and architecture is also a testament to your appreciation of the finer things in life and the importance of preserving our shared cultural heritage.
On this day of your coronation, we offer our sincerest prayers and blessings for your continued health, happiness, and success. May you find strength and wisdom in your role as our monarch, and may you always be guided by your conscience and a deep sense of duty to your people. Congratulations again, Your Majesty, on this joyous occasion.
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