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Charles, Prince of Wales

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Charles, Prince of Wales

Prince Charles
Prince of Wales; Duke of Rothesay (more)
The Prince of Wales in Jersey, July 2012
Born (1948-11-14) 14 November 1948
Buckingham Palace, London, England
Spouse Lady Diana Spencer
(m. 1981; div. 1996)
Camilla Parker Bowles
(m. 2005)
Issue Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales
Full name
Charles Philip Arthur George[fn 1]
House House of Windsor
Father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Mother Elizabeth II
Religion Church of England

Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George;[fn 1] born 14 November 1948), is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Known alternatively in Scotland as Duke of Rothesay and in South West England as Duke of Cornwall,[2] he is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having held the position since 1952.[3] He is also the oldest person to be next-in-line to the throne since Sophia of Hanover (the heir presumptive to Queen Anne), who died in 1714 at the age of 83.[4]

Charles was born at Queen Elizabeth. He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had attended as a child, as well as the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia. After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, Charles served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1976.

In 1981, he married Lady Diana Spencer and they had two sons: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (born 1982), and Prince Harry (born 1984). In 1996, the couple divorced, following well-publicised extra-marital affairs. Diana died in a car crash in Paris the following year. In 2005, Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, who uses the title Duchess of Cornwall.

Charles's interests encompass a range of humanitarian and social issues: he founded Duchy Originals brand which he founded in 1990. Charles has sought to raise world awareness of the dangers facing the natural environment, such as climate change. As an environmentalist, he has received numerous awards and recognition from environmental groups around the world.[5][6][7][8] He has been outspoken on the role of architecture in society and the conservation of historic buildings. Subsequently, Charles created Poundbury, an experimental new town based on his theories, in Dorset in 1993. He has authored a number of books, including A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture in 1989 and the children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar in 1980. He has also promoted alternative medicine, including homeopathy, which has attracted praise and criticism.[9]


  • Early life 1
  • Youth 2
    • Education 2.1
    • Created Prince of Wales 2.2
    • Military training and career 2.3
  • Early romances 3
  • First marriage 4
    • Separation and divorce 4.1
  • Second marriage 5
  • Social interests 6
    • Philanthropy and charity 6.1
    • Built environment 6.2
    • Livery company commitments 6.3
    • Natural environment 6.4
    • Alternative medicine 6.5
    • Religious and philosophical interests 6.6
  • Official duties 7
  • Hobbies and personal interests 8
    • Sports 8.1
    • Visual, performing and contemporary arts 8.2
    • Publications 8.3
  • Media image 9
    • Impact of marriage to Diana 9.1
    • Reaction to press treatment 9.2
    • Guest appearances on television 9.3
  • Residences and finance 10
  • Titles, styles, honours and arms 11
    • Titles and styles 11.1
    • Honours and military appointments 11.2
    • Arms 11.3
  • Issue 12
  • Ancestry 13
  • Notes 14
    • Footnotes 14.1
    • Citations 14.2
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17

Early life

Telegram announcing the birth of Prince Charles to the Governor-General of New Zealand

Charles was born at letters patent granting a royal and princely status to any children of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, making Charles a royal prince from birth.[13]

When Charles was aged three his mother's accession as Queen Elizabeth II made him her heir apparent. As the sovereign's eldest son, he automatically took the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland,[14] in addition to being a prince of the United Kingdom. Charles attended his mother's coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, seated alongside his grandmother and aunt. As was customary for royal offspring, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed and undertook his education between the ages of five and eight. Buckingham Palace announced in 1955 that Charles would attend school rather than have a private tutor, making him the first heir apparent ever to be educated in that manner.[15]



Charles first attended Hill House School in west London, receiving non-preferential treatment from the school's founder and then head, Stuart Townend, who advised the Queen to have Charles train in football because the boys were never deferential to anyone on the football field.[16] Charles then attended two of his father's former schools, Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England, followed by Gordonstoun in the north-east of Scotland.[17] He reportedly despised his time at the latter school, which he described as "Colditz in kilts".[18] He spent two terms in 1966 at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a school trip with his history tutor, Michael Collins Persse.[19] Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles emulated his father in becoming Head Boy. He left in 1967, with six GCE O-levels and two A-levels in history and French, at grades B and C, respectively.[19][20]

Tradition was broken again when Charles proceeded straight from secondary school into university, as opposed to joining the British Armed Forces.[18] In October 1967, the Prince was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read anthropology, archaeology, and history.[21][19] During his second year, Charles attended the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, studying Welsh history and language for a term.[19] He graduated from Cambridge with a 2:2 Bachelor of Arts on 23 June 1970, the first heir apparent to earn a university degree.[19] On 2 August 1975, he was subsequently awarded a Master of Arts degree from Cambridge, per the university's tradition.[19]

Created Prince of Wales

Queen Elizabeth II formally invests the Prince of Wales with his coronet, 1969

Charles was created James Callaghan so that the Prince might see the workings of the British government and Cabinet at first hand. Charles also began to take on more public duties, founding The Prince's Trust in 1976,[26] and travelling to the United States in 1981.[27]

In the mid-1970s, the Prince expressed an interest in serving as Governor-General of Australia; Commander Michael Parker explained: "The idea behind the appointment was for him to put a foot on the ladder of monarchy, or being the future King and start learning the trade." However, because of a combination of nationalist feeling in Australia and the dismissal of the government by the Governor-General in 1975, nothing came of the proposal. Charles accepted the decision of the Australian ministers, if not without some regret; he reportedly stated: "What are you supposed to think when you are prepared to do something to help and you are told you are not wanted?"[28]

Charles is the oldest heir apparent to bear the title Prince of Wales, and the third-longest serving Prince of Wales, behind Edward VII, whose records he would surpass on 9 September 2017. If he became monarch at present he would be the oldest person to do so; the current record holder is William IV, who was 64 when he became king in 1830.[4]

Military training and career

The Prince in Buckingham Palace in 1974, by Allan Warren

Following royal tradition, Charles served in the navy and air force. After requesting and receiving Royal Air Force training during his second year at Cambridge, on 8 March 1971, he flew himself to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to train as a jet pilot.[29] Following the passing-out parade that September, he embarked on a naval career, enrolling in a six-week course at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth and then serving on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk (1971–1972) and the frigates HMS Minerva (1972–1973) and HMS Jupiter (1974). He also qualified as a helicopter pilot at RNAS Yeovilton in 1974, just prior to joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, operating from HMS Hermes.[30]

On 9 February 1976, he took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last ten months serving actively in the navy.[30] He learned to fly on a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a BAC Jet Provost jet trainer, and a Beagle Basset multi-engine trainer; he then regularly flew the Hawker Siddeley Andover, Westland Wessex and BAe 146 aircraft of The Queen's Flight.[31]

Early romances

Prince Charles arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in the United States, 1981

In his youth, Charles was linked to a number of women. His great-uncle Lord Mountbatten advised him: "In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitable, attractive, and sweet-charactered girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for ... It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage."[32]

Charles's female friends included Georgiana Russell, daughter of the British Ambassador to Spain;[33] Lady Jane Wellesley, daughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington;[34] Davina Sheffield;[35] Lady Sarah Spencer;[36] and Camilla Shand,[37] who later became his second wife and Duchess of Cornwall.[38]

Early in 1974, Mountbatten began corresponding with Charles about a potential marriage to Amanda Knatchbull, Mountbatten's granddaughter.[39][40] Charles wrote to Amanda's mother, Lady Brabourne (who was also his godmother), expressing interest in her daughter, to which she replied approvingly, though suggesting that a courtship with the not yet 16-year-old girl was premature.[41] Four years later Mountbatten arranged for himself and Amanda to accompany Charles on his 1980 tour of India. Both fathers, however, objected; Philip feared that Charles would be eclipsed by his famous uncle (who had served as the last British Viceroy and first Governor-General of India), while Lord Brabourne warned that a joint visit would concentrate media attention on the cousins before they could decide on becoming a couple.[42] However, in August 1979, before Charles would depart alone for India, Mountbatten was killed by the IRA. When Charles returned, he proposed to Amanda, but in addition to her grandfather, she had lost her paternal grandmother and youngest brother Nicholas in the bomb attack and was now reluctant to join the Royal Family.[42] In June 1980, Charles officially turned down Chevening House, placed at his disposal since 1974, as his future residence. Chevening, a stately home in Kent, was bequeathed, along with an endowment, to the Crown by the last Earl Stanhope, Amanda's childless great-uncle, in the hope that Charles would eventually occupy it.[43] In 1977, a newspaper report mistakenly announced his engagement to Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg.[44]

First marriage

Charles and Diana visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia, March 1983

Although Charles first met Lady Diana Spencer in 1977—while visiting her home, Althorp, as the companion of her elder sister, Sarah—he did not consider her romantically until mid-1980. While sitting together on a bale of hay at a friend's barbecue in July, he mentioned Mountbatten's death, to which Diana replied that Charles had looked forlorn and in need of care during his uncle's funeral. Soon, according to Charles's chosen biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, "without any apparent surge in feeling, he began to think seriously of her as a potential bride", and she accompanied Charles on visits to Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.[45]

Charles's cousin, Norton Knatchbull (Amanda's eldest brother), and his wife told Charles that Diana appeared awestruck by his position and that he did not seem to be in love with her.[46] Meanwhile, the couple's continued courtship attracted intense press and paparazzi attention. When Prince Philip told him that the media speculation would injure Diana's reputation if Charles did not come to a decision about marrying her soon, and realizing that she was a suitable royal bride (according to Mountbatten's criteria), Charles construed his father's advice as a warning to proceed without further delay.[47]

The Prince and Princess of Wales with Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in November 1985

Prince Charles proposed to Diana in February 1981 and they married in St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July. Upon his marriage, Charles reduced his voluntary tax contribution from the profits generated by the Duchy of Cornwall from 50% to 25%.[48] The couple made their homes at Kensington Palace and at Highgrove House, near Tetbury, and had two children: Princes William (born 21 June 1982) and Henry (known as "Harry") (born 15 September 1984). Charles set precedent by being the first royal father to be present at his children's births.[15] Persistent suggestions that Harry's father is not Charles but James Hewitt, with whom Diana had an affair, have been based on a physical similarity between Hewitt and Harry. However, Harry had already been born by the time the affair between Hewitt and Diana began.[49][50]

Separation and divorce

Within five years, the couple's incompatibility and age difference (almost 13 years),[51] as well as Diana's concern about Charles's previous girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles,[52] became visible and damaging to their marriage. Their evident discomfort in each other's company led to them being dubbed "The Glums" in the press.[53] Diana exposed Charles's affair with Camilla in a book by Andrew Morton, Diana, Her True Story. Tapes of her own extramarital flirtations also surfaced.[53]

In December 1992, the British Prime Minister, John Major, announced their formal separation in Parliament. That same year, the British press published bugged recordings of a passionate private 1989 telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.[54][55] Charles and Diana divorced on 28 August 1996.[56] When Diana died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, Charles flew there, with Diana's sisters, to accompany her body back to Britain.[57]

Second marriage

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in Jamaica, March 2008

The engagement of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was announced on 10 February 2005; he presented her with an engagement ring which had belonged to his grandmother.[58] The Queen's consent to the marriage (as required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772) was recorded in a Privy Council meeting on 2 March.[59] In Canada, the Department of Justice announced its decision that the Queen's Privy Council for Canada was not required to meet to give its consent to the marriage, as the union would not result in offspring and would have no impact on the succession to the Canadian throne.[60]

Charles is the first member of the Royal Family to have a civil, rather than religious, wedding in England. Government documents from the 1950s and 1960s, published by the BBC, stated that such a marriage was illegal,[61] though these were dismissed by Charles's spokesman,[62] and explained to be obsolete by the sitting government.[63]

The marriage was to take place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. On 4 April the originally scheduled date of 8 April was postponed by one day, to allow Charles and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.[64]

Charles's parents did not attend the civil marriage ceremony; the Queen's reluctance to attend perhaps arising from her position as

Charles, Prince of Wales
Born: 14 November 1948
Lines of succession
Line of succession to the British throne
1st position
Succeeded by
The Duke of Cambridge
British royalty
Title last held by
The Prince Edward
later became King Edward VIII
Prince of Wales
26 July 1958 – present
Presumed next holder:
The Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Rothesay

6 February 1952 – present
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Mountbatten of Burma
President of the United World Colleges
Succeeded by
The Queen of Jordan
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Gloucester
Great Master of the Order of the Bath
10 June 1974 – present
Order of precedence
Preceded by
The Duke of Edinburgh
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
The Duke of York
in current practice Succeeded by
The Duke of Cambridge
Preceded by
David Lloyd Johnston
as Governor General
Canadian order of precedence Succeeded by
Stephen Harper
as prime minister,
or members of the Royal Family if in Canada
  • Official website of the Prince of Wales
  • Official website of the British Monarchy – The Prince of Wales
  • Official website of 'The Prince's Trust'
  • Charles, Prince of Wales at the Internet Movie Database

External links

  • Brown, Michèle (1980). Prince Charles. Crown.  
  • Campbell, J. (1981). Charles: Prince of Our Times. Smithmark.  
  • Cathcart, Helen (1977). Prince Charles: The biography (illustrated ed.). Taplinger Pub. Co; Ltd.  
  • Fisher, Graham; Fisher, Heather (1977). Charles: The Man and the Prince. Robert Hale.  
  • Gilleo, Alma (1978). Prince Charles: Growing Up in Buckingham Palace. Childs World.  
  • Heald, Tim; Mohrs, Mayo (1979). The Man Who Will Be King H.R.H. (Prince of Wales Charles). New York: Arbor House. 
  • Hedley, Olwen (1969). Charles, 21st Prince of Wales. Pitkin Pictorials.  
  • Hodgson, Howard (2007). Charles: The Man Who Will Be King (illustrated ed.). John Blake Publishing.  
  • Holden, Anthony (1998). Charles at Fifty. Random House.  
  • Holden, Anthony (1999). Charles: A Biography. Corgi Books.  
  • Junor, Penny (1998). Charles: Victim or Villain?. Harpercollins.  
  • Lane, Peter (1988). Prince Charles:a study in development. Robert Hale.  
  • Liversidge, Douglas (1975). Prince Charles: monarch in the making. A. Barker. 
  • Martin, Christopher (1990). Prince Charles and the Architectural Debate (Architectural Design Profile). St Martin's Press.  
  • Nugent, Jean (1982). Prince Charles, England's Future King. Dillon.  
  • Veon, Joan M. (1997). Prince Charles: The Sustainable Prince. Hearthstone.  
  • Wakeford, Geoffrey (1962). Charles, Prince of Wales. Associated Newspapers. 

Further reading

  • Paget, Gerald (1977). The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2 vols). Edinburgh: Charles Skilton.  


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  1. ^ a b As a titled royal, Charles does not use a family name, but, when one is needed, it is Mountbatten-Windsor.[1]




Name Birth Marriage Issue
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge 21 June 1982 29 April 2011 Catherine Middleton Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Harry 15 September 1984


Arms of Charles, Prince of Wales
The Prince's coat of arms, as used outside Scotland, is the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with the addition a three-pointed label and an inescutcheon bearing the arms of Wales. For the arms of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, see royal coat of arms of Scotland.
Upon the royal helm the coronet of the Prince of Wales, thereon a lion statant guardant Or crowned with the coronet of the Prince of Wales
Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent overall an inescutcheon of the Royal Badge of Wales.
crosses patée and fleurs de lys a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or
(German for I serve)
Garter ribbon.
(French for Shame be to him who thinks evil of it)
Other elements
The whole differenced by a plain label of three points Argent, as the eldest child of the sovereign
The banners used by the prince vary depending upon location. Apart from the exceptions below, the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is used, differenced as in his arms with a label of three points Argent, and the escutcheon of the arms of the Principality of Wales in the centre. This is the standard that is used outside the United Kingdom by the prince and also that used throughout the entire United Kingdom when the prince is acting in an official capacity associated with the UK Armed Forces.

In Wales the banner is based upon the Royal Badge of Wales, (the historic arms of the Kingdom of Gwynedd), which consist of four quadrants, the first and fourth with a red lion on a gold field, and the second and third with a gold lion on a red field. Superimposed is an escutcheon Vert bearing the single-arched coronet of the Prince of Wales.

In Scotland the personal banner used since 1974 is based upon three ancient Scottish titles: Duke of Rothesay (heir apparent to the King of Scots), High Steward of Scotland and Lord of the Isles. The flag is divided into four quadrants like the arms of the Chief of Clan Stewart of Appin; the first and fourth quadrants comprise a gold field with a blue and silver checkered band in the centre; the second and third quadrants display a black galley on a silver field. The arms are differenced from those of Appin by the addition of an inescutcheon bearing the tressured lion rampant of Scotland; defaced by a plain label of three points Azure to indicate the heir apparent.

Also used in Scotland is a standard, viz the Royal Standard of Scotland, defaced with a label of three points Azure.

In Cornwall, the banner is "Sable fifteen bezants Or", that is, a black field bearing fifteen gold coins, which Prince Charles uses in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales also has a personal heraldic banner for Canada, consisting of the shield of the Arms of Canada defaced with both a blue roundel of the Prince of Wales's feathers surrounded by a wreath of gold maple leaves, and a white label of three points.[216]

As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the third of Ireland.


He has been inducted into seven orders and received eight decorations from the Commonwealth realms, and has been the recipient of 20 different honours from foreign states, as well as nine honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Charles has held substantive ranks in the armed forces of a number of countries since he was made a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force in 1972. Charles's first honorary appointment in the armed forces was as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales in 1969; since then, the Prince has also been installed as Colonel-in-Chief, Colonel, Honorary Air Commodore, Air Commodore-in-Chief, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, Royal Honorary Colonel, Royal Colonel, and Honorary Commodore of at least 32 military formations throughout the Commonwealth, including the Royal Gurkha Rifles, which is the only foreign regiment in the British army.[212] Since 2009, Charles holds the second-highest ranks in all three branches of the Canadian Forces and, on 16 June 2012, the Queen awarded the Prince of Wales honorary five-star rank in all three branches of the British Armed Forces, "to acknowledge his support in her role as Commander-in-Chief", installing him as Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.[213][214][215]

Honours and military appointments

Charles has held titles throughout his life, as the grandson of the monarch, the son of the monarch and in his own right. There has been speculation as to what [210] Charles's office responded that "no decision has been made".[211]

Titles and styles

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Starting in 1993, the Prince of Wales has paid tax voluntarily under the Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, updated 2013.[208] In December 2012, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs were asked to investigate alleged tax avoidance by the Duchy of Cornwall.[209]

In 2007 the Prince purchased a 192-acre property (150 acres of grazing and parkland, and 40 acres of woodland) in Carmarthenshire, and applied for permission to convert the farm into a Welsh home for him and the Duchess of Cornwall, to be rented out as holiday flats when the royal couple is not in residence.[205] A neighbouring family said the proposals flouted local planning regulations, and the application was put on hold temporarily while a report was drafted on how the alterations would affect the local bat population.[206] Charles and Camilla first stayed at the new property, called Llwynywermod, in June 2008.[207]

Clarence House in London is the Prince of Wales's current official residence. Previously, he had an apartment at St James's Palace. Charles also has two private homes: Highgrove House in Gloucestershire and Birkhall near Balmoral Castle. Both Clarence House and Birkhall were previously the residences of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[202] His primary source of income is generated from the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns 133,658 acres of land (around 54,090 hectares), including farming, residential, and commercial properties, as well as an investment portfolio. Highgrove is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, having been purchased for his use in 1980, and which Prince Charles rents for £336,000 per annum.[203] The Public Accounts Committee published its 25th report into the Duchy of Cornwall accounts in November 2013 noting that the Duchy performed well in 2012–13, increasing its total income and producing an overall surplus of £19.1 million.[204]

Clarence House, the official residence of the Prince of Wales

Residences and finance

His saving of the Scottish stately home Dumfries House was the subject of Alan Titchmarsh's documentary Royal Restoration, which aired on TV in May 2012.[200] Also in May 2012, Charles tried his hand at being a weather presenter for the BBC, reporting the forecast for Scotland as part of their annual week at Holyrood Palace alongside Christopher Blanchett. He injected humour in his report, asking, "Who the hell wrote this script?" as references were made to royal residences.[201]

Charles was interviewed with Princes William and Harry by Ant & Dec to mark the 30th anniversary of The Prince's Trust in 2006.[199]

The Prince of Wales has occasionally appeared on television. In 1984, he read his children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar for the BBC's Jackanory series. The UK soap opera Coronation Street featured an appearance by Charles during the show's 40th anniversary in 2000,[196] as did the New Zealand young adult cartoon series bro'Town (2005), after he attended a performance by the show's creators during a tour of the country.[197][198]

Guest appearances on television

In 2002, Charles, "so often a target of the Press, got his chance to return fire" when addressing "scores of editors, publishers and other media executives" gathered at St Bride's Fleet Street to celebrate 300 years of journalism.[194][195] Defending public servants from "the corrosive drip of constant criticism", he noted that the press had been "awkward, cantankerous, cynical, bloody-minded, at times intrusive, at times inaccurate and at times deeply unfair and harmful to individuals and to institutions."[195] But, he concluded, regarding his own relations with the press, "from time to time we are probably both a bit hard on each other, exaggerating the downsides and ignoring the good points in each."[195]

Charles's anguish was recorded in his private comments to Prince William, caught on a microphone during a press photo-call in 2005 and published in the national press. After a question from the BBC's royal reporter, Nicholas Witchell, Charles muttered: ""These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is."[193]

Reaction to press treatment

Others formerly connected with the Prince have betrayed his confidence. An ex-member of his household handed the press an internal memo in which Charles commented on ambition and opportunity, and which was widely interpreted as blaming meritocracy for creating a combative atmosphere in society. Charles responded: "In my view, it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor".[192]

In 2006, the Prince filed a court case against the Mail on Sunday, after excerpts of his personal journals were published, revealing his opinions on matters such as the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997, in which Charles described the Chinese government officials as "appalling old waxworks".[190] Mark Bolland, his ex-private secretary, declared in a statement to the High Court that Charles "would readily embrace the political aspects of any contentious issue he was interested in ... He carried it out in a very considered, thoughtful and researched way. He often referred to himself as a 'dissident' working against the prevailing political consensus."[190] Jonathan Dimbleby reported that the Prince "has accumulated a number of certainties about the state of the world and does not relish contradiction."[191]

Described as the "world's most eligible bachelor" in the late 1970s,[189] Prince Charles was subsequently overshadowed by Diana. After her death, the media regularly breached Charles's privacy and printed exposés.

The Prince and Princess of Wales with West German President Richard von Weizsäcker and his wife Marianne in Bonn, 2 November 1987.

Impact of marriage to Diana

Since his birth, Prince Charles has undergone close media attention, which increased as he matured. It has been an ambivalent relationship, largely impacted by his marriages to Diana and Camilla and its aftermath, but also centred on his future conduct as king, such as the 2014 play King Charles III.[188]

Media image

The Prince of Wales is an author of several books reflecting his own interests. He has also contributed a foreword or preface to books by other writers and has also written, presented and has been featured in documentary films.[183][184][185][186][187]


A keen and accomplished watercolourist, Charles has exhibited and sold a number of his works, and published books on the subject. In 2001, 20 lithographs of his watercolour paintings illustrating his country estates were exhibited at the Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art.[181] Charles was awarded the 2011 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award by the Montblanc Cultural Foundation for his support and commitment to the arts, particularly in regard to young people.[182]

He founded The Prince's Foundation for Children and The Arts in 2002, to help more children experience the arts first-hand. He is President of the Royal Shakespeare Company and attends performances in Stratford-Upon-Avon, supports fundraising events and attends the company's annual general meeting.[178] He enjoys comedy,[179] and is interested in illusionism, becoming a member of The Magic Circle after passing his audition in 1975 by performing the "cups and balls" effect.[180]

The Prince is President or Patron of more than 20 performing arts organisations, including the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, and the Purcell School. In 2000, he revived the tradition of appointing harpists to the Royal Court, by appointing an Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales. As an undergraduate at Cambridge he played cello, and has sung with the Bach Choir twice.[178]

Visual, performing and contemporary arts

Charles has been a keen salmon angler since youth, and supports Orri Vigfússon's efforts to protect the North Atlantic salmon. He frequently fishes the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, while he claims his most special angling memories are from his time in Vopnafjörður, Iceland.[176] Charles is a supporter of Burnley Football Club.[177]

From his youth the Prince was an avid player of competitive polo until 1992. He continued to play informally, including for charity, until 2005.[173] Charles also frequently took part in fox hunting, before the sport was banned in the United Kingdom in 2005. By the late 1990s, as opposition to the activity was growing, the Prince's participation was viewed as a "political statement" by those opposed to it, such as the League Against Cruel Sports, which launched an attack against Charles after he took his sons on the Beaufort Hunt in 1999, when the government was trying to ban hunting with hounds.[174][175]

Prince Charles and Prince William after a polo match at Ham Polo Club, London


Hobbies and personal interests

Letters sent by the Prince of Wales to government ministers—the so-called black spider memos—during 2004 and 2005 have presented potential embarrassment following a challenge by The Guardian newspaper to release the letters under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In March 2015, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom decided that the Prince's letters must be released.[165] The letters were published by the Cabinet Office on 13 May 2015.[166][167][168] The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall made their first joint trip to the Republic of Ireland in May 2015. The trip was called an important step in "promoting peace and reconciliation" by the British Embassy.[169] During the trip, Charles shook hands with Sinn Féin and supposed IRA leader Gerry Adams in Galway which was described by the media as a "historic handshake" and a "significant moment for Anglo-Irish relations".[170][171][172]

In 2010, he represented the Queen at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.[159] He attends official events in the United Kingdom in support of Commonwealth countries, such as the Christchurch earthquake memorial service at Westminster Abbey in 2011.[160][161][162] From 15 to 17 November 2013, he represented the Queen for the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.[163][164]

[158].Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and in 1981 he became the patron of the [157],Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier For instance, in 2001, the Prince placed a specially commissioned wreath, made from vegetation taken from French battlefields, at the [156] permits him to be informed of troop activities, and allows him to visit these troops while in Canada or overseas, taking part in ceremonial occasions.Canadian Armed Forces His service to the [155] The Prince of Wales travels abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom. The Prince has been regarded as an effective advocate of the country, with his visit to the Republic of Ireland in 1995, he delivered a personally researched and written speech on

Prince Charles makes regular tours of Wales, fulfilling a week of engagements in the principality each summer, and attending important national occasions, such as opening the Senedd.[153] The six Trustees of the Royal Collection Trust meet three times a year under his chairmanship.[154]

Official opening of the Fourth Assembly at the Senedd in Cardiff, Wales. From left to right: Carwyn Jones, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and Rosemary Butler, 7 June 2011

As Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes official duties on behalf of his mother and the Commonwealth realms. He officiates at investitures and attends the funerals of foreign dignitaries.[151] At the funeral of Pope John Paul II, Charles unintentionally caused controversy when he shook hands with Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, who had been seated next to him. Charles's office subsequently released a statement saying: "The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and not in a position to avoid shaking Mr Mugabe's hand. The Prince finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent. He has supported the Zimbabwe Defence and Aid Fund which works with those being oppressed by the regime. The Prince also recently met Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government."[152]

In 2008, The Daily Telegraph declared Charles the "hardest-working member of the royal family."[149] He carried out 560 official engagements in 2008,[149] 499 in 2010,[150] and over 600 in 2011.

Official duties

Charles expressed his philosophical views in his 2010 book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World,[144][145][146] which won the Nautilus Book Award.[147] Although it had been rumoured that Charles would vow to be "Defender of the Faiths" or "Defender of Faith" as king, he stated in 2015 that he will retain the monarch's traditional title of "Defender of the Faith", whilst "ensuring that other people's faiths can also be practised", which he sees as a duty of the Church of England.[148]

Sir Laurens van der Post became a friend of Charles in 1977; he was dubbed his "spiritual guru" and was godfather to Charles's son, Prince William.[141] From van der Post, the Prince of Wales developed a focus on philosophy, especially that of Asian and Middle Eastern nations. He has praised Kabbalistic artworks,[142] and wrote a memorial for Kathleen Raine, the Neoplatonist poet who died in 2003.[143]

[140][95].University of Oxford Charles is also patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies at the [88] as well as in Romania.[139]Mount Athos monasteries several times on Orthodox. The Prince of Wales has visited (amid some secrecy) General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to the Lord High Commissioner with the rest of the royal family when staying at Balmoral Castle. In 2000, he was appointed as Crathie Kirk's Church of Scotland and attends the [138] churches close to Highgrove,Anglican He attends services at various [137] The Prince of Wales was

Czech Orthodox priest Jaroslav Šuvarský with the Prince of Wales in 2010

Religious and philosophical interests

In April 2010, following accounting irregularities, a former official at the foundation and his wife were arrested for fraud believed to total £300,000.[132] Four days later, the foundation announced its closure, claiming that it "has achieved its key objective of promoting the use of integrated health."[133] The charity's finance director, accountant George Gray, was convicted of theft totalling £253,000 and sentenced to three years in prison.[134] The Prince's Foundation was re-branded and re-launched later in 2010 as The College of Medicine.[134][135][136]

The Prince's Duchy Originals produce a variety of complementary medicinal products including a "Detox Tincture" that Edzard Ernst has denounced as "financially exploiting the vulnerable" and "outright quackery".[129] In 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority criticised an email that Duchy Originals had sent out to advertise its Echina-Relief, Hyperi-Lift and Detox Tinctures products saying that it was misleading.[129] The Prince personally wrote at least seven letters[130] to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shortly before they relaxed the rules governing labelling of such herbal products, a move that has been widely condemned by scientists and medical bodies.[131] In October 2009, it was reported that Charles had personally lobbied the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, regarding greater provision of alternative treatments in the NHS.[129]

In April 2008, The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, which asked the Prince's Foundation to recall two guides promoting alternative medicine, saying "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous." A speaker for the foundation countered the criticism by stating: "We entirely reject the accusation that our online publication Complementary Healthcare: A Guide contains any misleading or inaccurate claims about the benefits of complementary therapies. On the contrary, it treats people as adults and takes a responsible approach by encouraging people to look at reliable sources of information ... so that they can make informed decisions. The foundation does not promote complementary therapies."[127] That year, Ernst published a book with Simon Singh, mockingly dedicated to "HRH the Prince of Wales" called Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. The last chapter is highly critical of Charles's advocacy of complementary and alternative treatments.[128]

Charles has controversially championed alternative medicine.[122] The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health attracted opposition from the scientific and medical community over its campaign encouraging general practitioners to offer herbal and other alternative treatments to National Health Service patients,[123][124] and in May 2006, Charles made a speech at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, urging the integration of conventional and alternative medicine and arguing for homeopathy.[125][126]

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with NIH Director Elias Zerhouni and Surgeon-General Richard Carmona, November 2005

Alternative medicine

In February 2014, Charles visited Somerset levels to meet residents affected by winter flooding. During his visit, Charles remarked that, "There's nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something. The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long." He pledged a £50,000 donation, provided by the Prince's Countryside Fund, to help families and their businesses.[119][120][121]

"I have been particularly fascinated, for example, by the work of a remarkable man called Allan Savory, in Zimbabwe and other semi arid areas, who has argued for years against the prevailing expert view that is the simple numbers of cattle that drive overgrazing and cause fertile land to become desert. On the contrary, as he has since shown so graphically, the land needs the presence of feeding animals and their droppings for the cycle to be complete, so that soils and grassland areas stay productive. Such that, if you take grazers off the land and lock them away in vast feedlots, the land dies."[118]

On 27 August 2012, the Prince of Wales addressed the International Union for Conservation of Nature - World Conservation Congress, supporting the view that grazing animals are needed to keep soils and grassland productive:

In 2011, Charles received the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal for his engagement with the environment, such as the conservation of rainforests.[117]

In 2007, Charles launched The Prince's May Day Network, which encourages businesses to take action on climate change. Speaking to the European Parliament on 14 February 2008, he called for European Union leadership in the war against climate change. During the standing ovation that followed, Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), remained seated and went on to describe Charles's advisers as "naive and foolish at best."[115] In a speech to the Low Carbon Prosperity Summit in a European Parliament chamber on 9 February 2011, Charles said that climate change sceptics are playing "a reckless game of roulette" with the planet's future and are having a "corrosive effect" on public opinion. He also articulated the need to protect fisheries and the Amazon rain forest, and to make low-carbon emissions affordable and competitive.[116]

In 2007, he received the 10th annual Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, the director of which, Eric Chivian, stated: "For decades the Prince of Wales has been a champion of the natural world ... He has been a world leader in efforts to improve energy efficiency and in reducing the discharge of toxic substances on land, and into the air and the oceans".[112] Charles's travels by private jet drew criticism from Plane Stupid's Joss Garman.[113][114]

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meeting Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in Louisiana, as they arrive to tour the damage created by Hurricane Katrina, November 2005

Since the early 1980s, Charles has promoted environmental awareness.[105] Upon moving into The Independent in October 2006, "the story of Duchy Originals has involved compromises and ethical blips, wedded to a determined merchandising programme."[111]

Natural environment

The Worshipful Company of Carpenters installed Charles as an Honorary Liveryman "in recognition of his interest in London's architecture."[103] The Prince of Wales is also Permanent Master of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Drapers, an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, an Honorary Member of the Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and a Royal Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.[104]

Livery company commitments

In 2010, The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment decided to help reconstruct and redesign buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the capital was destroyed by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[101] The foundation is known for refurbishing historic buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan and in Kingston, Jamaica. The project has been called the "biggest challenge yet" for the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment.[102]

Charles has occasionally intervened in projects that employ architectural styles such as modernism and functionalism.[96][97][98] In 2009, Charles wrote to the Qatari royal family, the developers of the Chelsea Barracks site, labelling Lord Rogers's design for the site "unsuitable". Subsequently, Rogers was removed from the project and The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment was appointed to propose an alternative.[99] Rogers claimed the Prince had also intervened to block his designs for the Royal Opera House and Paternoster Square, and condemned Charles's actions as "an abuse of power" and "unconstitutional".[99] Lord Foster, Zaha Hadid, Jacques Herzog, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, and Frank Gehry, among others, wrote a letter to The Sunday Times complaining that the Prince's "private comments" and "behind-the-scenes lobbying" subverted the "open and democratic planning process".[100] Piers Gough and other architects condemned Charles's views as "elitist" in a letter encouraging colleagues to boycott a speech given by Charles to RIBA in 2009.[96][98]

[95] that combine Islamic and Oxford architectural styles.Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies", and has been involved in the construction of a building and garden at the architecture and Islamic art Charles also has "a deep understanding of [94] but Buckingham Palace denied the reports.[93] in 2006 that Charles had been offered the Romanian throne by monarchists in that country; an offer that was reportedly turned down,România Liberă wrote in the Romanian newspaper Tom Gallagher Historian [92] and has purchased a house in Romania.[91] From 1997, the Prince of Wales has visited

Prince Charles at the newly opened @ Bristol, 14 June 2000

Charles helped establish a national trust for the built environment in Canada after lamenting, in 1996, the unbridled destruction of many of the country's historic urban cores. He offered his assistance to the Department of Canadian Heritage in creating a trust modelled on Britain's National Trust, a plan that was implemented with the passage of the 2007 Canadian federal budget.[84] In 1999, the Prince agreed to the use of his title for the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership, awarded by the Heritage Canada Foundation to municipal governments that have shown sustained commitment to the conservation of historic places.[85] While visiting the United States and surveying the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Charles received the National Building Museum's Vincent Scully Prize in 2005, for his efforts in regard to architecture; he donated $25,000 of the prize money towards restoring storm-damaged communities.[86][87]

His book and BBC documentary A Vision of Britain (1987) was also critical of modern architecture, and he has continued to campaign for traditional urbanism, human scale, restoration of historic buildings, and sustainable design,[83] despite criticism in the press. Two of his charities (The Prince's Regeneration Trust and The Prince's Foundation for Building Community) promote his views, and the village of Poundbury was built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall to a master plan by Léon Krier under the guidance of Prince Charles and in line with his philosophy.[80]

Why can't we have those curves and arches that express feeling in design? What is wrong with them? Why has everything got to be vertical, straight, unbending, only at right angles – and functional?[82]

The Prince of Wales has openly expressed his views on architecture and urban planning, fostering the advancement of New Classical Architecture, and asserting that he "care[s] deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life."[80][81] In a speech given for the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on 30 May 1984, he memorably described a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend" and deplored the "glass stumps and concrete towers" of modern architecture.[82] He asserted that "it is possible, and important in human terms, to respect old buildings, street plans and traditional scales and at the same time not to feel guilty about a preference for facades, ornaments and soft materials,"[82] called for local community involvement in architectural choices, and asked:

Built environment

In 2013, Charles donated an unspecified sum of money to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis appeal and DEC Syria appeal, which is run by 14 British charities to help victims of the Syrian civil war.[75][76] According to The Guardian, It is believed that after turning 65 years old in 2013, Charles donated his state pension to an unnamed charity which supports elderly people.[77] In March 2014, Charles arranged for five million measles-rubella vaccinations for children in the Philippines on the outbreak of measles in South-East Asia. According to Clarence House, Charles was affected by news of the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. International Health Partners, of which he has been Patron since 2004, sent the vaccines, which are believed to protect five million children below the age of five from measles.[78][79]

Charles was one of the first world leaders to express strong concerns about the human rights record of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, initiating objections in the international arena,[73] and subsequently supported the FARA Foundation,[70] a charity for Romanian orphans and abandoned children.[74]

[72]. The Prince's Charities Australia is to provide a coordinating presence for the Prince of Wales’s Australian and international charitable endeavors.Melbourne, Victoria, which is based in The Prince's Charities Australia Charles has also set up [71].International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination In Canada, Charles has supported humanitarian projects, for example taking part, along with his two sons, in the ceremonies marking the 1998 [71] of Canada as a way to help draw attention to youth, the disabled, the environment, the arts, medicine, the elderly, heritage conservation, and education.his tours; for example, he uses Commonwealth realms and carries out duties related to these throughout the [70] In 2010,

[68], which describes itself as "the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100million annually ... [and is] active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international."The Prince's Charities Together, these form a loose alliance called [68] Since founding

Prince Charles on the Isles of Scilly in 1984

Philanthropy and charity

Social interests


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