Charles, Prince of Wales

The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, (Charles Philip Arthur George;[1]=""citation web" >. . The Royal Household. http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRoyalFamily/TheRoyalFamilyname/Overview.aspx. Retrieved 3 Feb. 2009. " N="N" sur="sur"/> born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. Since 1958, his major title has been HRH The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is known as The Duke of Rothesay.[2]

Charles was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had attended as a child. After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, Charles served a tour of duty with the Royal Navy in 1971–76. He married Lady Diana Spencer before an enormous worldwide television audience in 1981. They had two children, Prince William of Wales in 1982 and Prince Harry of Wales in 1984. The couple separated in 1992 following tabloid allegations concerning their relationship. They divorced in 1996 after Diana publicly accused the prince of having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, and Charles admitted adultery on television. Diana died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. In 2005, after a lengthy continued association, the Prince married Camilla, who uses the title Duchess of Cornwall.

The prince is well-known for his charity work and sponsors The Prince's Trust, The Prince's Regeneration Trust, and the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, among other charities. He has been outspoken concerning architecture and the conservation of old buildings and has produced a book on the subject called A Vision of Britain (1989). He has also promoted herbal and other alternative medical treatment.

Early life

The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
and the
other Commonwealth realms

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
[[|v]]·[[|d]]·e

Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, the first child of then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Baptised in the palace's Music Room on 15 December 1948, using water from the River Jordan, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the Prince's godparents were: the King (his maternal grandfather); the King of Norway (his cousin, for whom the Earl of Athlone stood proxy); Queen Mary (his maternal great-grandmother); the Princess Margaret (his maternal aunt); Prince George of Greece (his paternal granduncle, for whom the Duke of Edinburgh stood proxy); the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his paternal great-grandmother); the Lady Brabourne (his cousin); and the Hon David Bowes-Lyon (his maternal great-uncle).[3] By letters patent of Charles' great-grandfather, King George V, the titles of a British prince or princess, and the style Royal Highness, were only to be conferred on male-line children and grandchildren of the sovereign, as well as the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. However, on 22 October 1948, George VI issued new letters patent granting these honours to any children of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip; otherwise, Charles would have merely taken his father's title, and been titled by courtesy as Earl of Merioneth. In this way, the children of the heiress presumptive had a royal and princely status.

When Charles was three, his mother's accession as Queen Elizabeth II, immediately made him the heir apparent to the then seven countries over which she now reigned. He was ipso facto elevated to the rank of Duke of Cornwall (by a charter of King Edward III that gave said title to the sovereign's eldest son), and, in the Scottish peerage, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Though he moved to first in line to the throne in the United Kingdom order of precedence he is third, after his parents, and is typically fourth or fifth in other realms' precedence orders, following his mother, the relevant vice-regal representative(s), and his father. Charles attended his mother's coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953, seated alongside his grandmother and aunt. As is customary for royal offspring, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed and undertook his education between the ages of 5 and 8. 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.[4]

Education

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, as the boys at Hill House were never deferential to anyone on the football field.[5] The Prince then attended his father's former school, the Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England; and was finally moved to Gordonstoun, in the north-east of Scotland. Reportedly the Prince despised his time at the latter school – "Colditz in kilts", as Charles put it – though he did spend two of his terms at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Geelong, Australia, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a history trip with his tutor, Michael Collins Persse. Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles emulated his father in becoming Head Boy, and left in 1967 with two A Levels in History and French.

Tradition was broken again when Charles proceeded straight from secondary school into university, as opposed to joining the Armed Forces. On the recommendation of Robin Woods, Dean of Windsor, and despite only gaining grades of B and C in his A Levels,[6] the Prince was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read anthropology, archaeology, and history, tutored by Canadian-born Professor John Coles. He graduated with a 2:2 Bachelor of Arts on 23 June 1970, the third Royal Family member to earn a university degree.[7] On 2 August 1975, he was subsequently awarded a Master of Arts Degree from Cambridge, per the university's tradition.[7] During his tertiary education, Charles also attended the Old College (part of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth), studying the Welsh language and Welsh history. He is the first Prince of Wales born outside of Wales ever to attempt to learn the language of the principality.

Created Prince of Wales

Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958,[8][9] though his investiture as such was not conducted until 1 July 1969, wherein he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle, and gave his replies and speech in both Welsh and English.[10] The following year he took his seat in the House of Lords,[6] and later in the decade became the first member of the Royal Family since King George I to attend a British Cabinet meeting, having been invited by Prime Minister 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 his The Prince's Trust in 1976,[11] and travelling to the United States in 1981.

Around the same time, 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?"[12] Conversely, Tom Gallagher wrote that Charles had been offered the Romanian throne by monarchists in that country; an offer that was reportedly turned down.[13][14]

The Prince is at present the oldest man to hold the title of Prince of Wales since it became the title granted to the heir apparent. He is also the oldest heir apparent in Commonwealth realms' history, the second longest serving heir apparent, behind only Edward VII, and the third longest serving Prince of Wales in British history behind Edward VII and George IV, whom he will pass on 9 September 2017 if he is still Prince of Wales on that date. If he ascends to the throne after 18 September 2013, Charles would be the oldest monarch of the United Kingdom to do so; only William IV was older when he became monarch than Charles is now.