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The Prince of Wales – a biography of his life

Since the thirteenth century, the title of Prince of Wales has been given to the heir apparent, which in this case is now Prince Charles. A little over ten years after his birth, on 26 July 1958, Her Majesty The Queen’s first-born son Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales. Charles is currently the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, a position he has held since 1952.

Birth

Born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, Charles was the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It was soon revealed, the future Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh officially named him Charles Philip Arthur George. Charles was later baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, in the music room at Buckingham Palace. When Charles was just three-years-old, his mother’s accession as Queen Elizabeth II now made him first in line to the throne. On 2 June 1953, Charles sat alongside his grandmother and aunt, while he watched his mother’s coronation at the famed Westminster Abbey.

Early Years

Until the age of eight, Charles was educated by governess Catherine Peebles, which was customary for upper-class children. Queen Elizabeth parted from tradition when she decided Charles would attend school, making him the first person of his rank to have been educated in that manner. Hill House School was the first institution Charles attended, followed by Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne in October 1957. Photo: Library and Archives Canada (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

Charles later attended Gordonstoun in Scotland, which was noted to be his least favourite. In 1966, Charles made his way to Australia where he spent two terms at Geelong Grammar School, and while on break visited New Guinea. After Australia, Charles spent a few more years at Gordonstoun, but again broke with tradition when he went straight to university. In October 1967, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where Charles studied the arts. On 23 June 1970, Charles received his bachelor’s, and five years later gained a master’s degree from Cambridge.

Although Charles broke with tradition when he attended university before he initiated a military career, he made up for it when he requested military training with the Royal Air Force during his time at Cambridge. Training began in March 1971 at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, an institution that taught Charles how to become a jet pilot. After Charles completed training at the Royal Air Force College, he embarked on a six-week course at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth. Charles served on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk, along with frigates HMS Minerva and HMS Jupiter. On 9 February 1976, during his last ten months of active duty in the Navy, Charles took command of coastal minehunter HMS Bronington. After a glorious military career, it was time for Charles to focus on his personal life, which involved finding a wife.

Love & Marriage

During his early years, Charles was linked many women, but none had ever caught his eye. In early 1974, it was suggested that Charles take an interest in Amanda Knatchbull, Lord Mountbatten’s granddaughter. There was even speculation that Amanda would accompany Charles on his visit to India. Sadly, due to a number of deaths in her family, Amanda turned down Charles’s proposal of marriage. This paved the way for Lady Diana Spencer, who eventually became his wife.

While at a friend’s barbeque, Charles had spent some time with Diana, which had prompted his to think about her as a potential bride. Diana had started to accompany Charles to Sandringham, and soon their courtship had attracted a lot of media attention. Prince Charles soon proposed to Diana, and the two would wed on 29 July 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Their wedding was watching by millions of fans around the globe, a match that seemed like a fairytale.

Following the wedding, Charles and Diana made Kensington Palace their new home, but they also had a home in Highgrove. Not too long after the wedding, the world would find out Diana was pregnant with the couple’s first child, a boy they would name William. Soon to follow was a red-headed child that was playfully named Harry. Sadly, within five years after their marriage at St. Paul’s Cathedral, it was evident that Charles and Diana were not compatible. Neither were happy. The press soon found out about the couple’s extramarital affairs, and by 1992 it was announced that the two would divorce.

Their divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996, an event that was hard for the couple’s two children. On 31 August 1997, the world was shocked to hear that Diana had been involved in a car crash in Paris, an accident that regrettably took her life. The people grieved for Diana, for she was the “People’s Princess.” Charles flew to Paris, along with Diana’s sisters, and would escort her body back to London.

After Charles mourned the death of Diana, he began to date Camilla Parker-Bowles, someone who had always been a point of contention in his previous marriage. Before his marriage to Diana, Charles had courted Camilla, and would most likely have married her had she been seen as a suitable bride. Though Camilla was a part of the gentry, time was not on the couple’s side, but she remained close to Charles. The two became a couple after their respective divorces and would marry in April 2005. The wedding was a civil ceremony that took place at Windsor Guildhall. Celebrations continued at Windsor Castle, where a party was thrown for the couple by The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

Legacy

Since Charles married Camilla, the two have worked tirelessly to reinvent their image. Together, the two have taken on many engagements on behalf of the Queen, and are some of the hardest working members of the royal family. During his time at Highgrove House, Charles developed an interest in environmental issues, which initiated a love for organic farming. In 1990, Charles launched a brand of organic products called Duchy Originals, with all profits given to charity. Charles even co-authored Highgrove: An Experiment In Organic Gardening and Farming, a book that demonstrated his commitment to an organic lifestyle.

The Prince of Wales furthered his devotion to organic living by, the endorsement of alternative medicine. Although met with opposition, Charles founded The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, which encouraged medical professionals to offer more natural alternative treatments. Charles has continued to support the arts and has a keen eye for architecture. Overall, Charles is devoted to his station and cares about the people of Great Britain in a real way. As the successor to Her Majesty The Queen, the Prince of Wales will make a remarkable king.

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