Prince Charles

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Prince Charles Early Life

Prince Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948 and is the first born child to Princess Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. When Prince Charles was three, his mother ascended the throne on 2nd June 1953 and was crowned as monarch of the United Kingdom; this left Prince Charles as her heir apparent. As Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, Prince Charles automatically assumed 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, in addition to being a prince of the United Kingdom.

Prince Charles first attended Hill House School in west London. Later on, Prince Charles attended two of his father’s former schools Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England, followed by Gordonstoun in the north-east of Scotland. In October 1967, Prince Charles was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied anthropology, archaeology, and history. During his second year, Charles attended the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, studying Welsh and language for a term. He graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts on 23 June 1970 and is the first heir apparent to earn a university degree.

Creating the Prince of Wales and the Military

Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958. The following year he took a seat in the House of Lords, and later in the decade became the first member of the Royal Family since King George I to attend a British Cabinet meeting. Prince Charles also began to take on the more public duties such as traveling to the United States in 1981 and founding The Prince’s Trust in 1976.

Following Royal tradition, Prince Charles joined 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. On 9 February 1976, he took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last ten months serving actively in the navy.


Prince Charles first met Lady Diana Spencer in 1977 as a companion to her elder sister, Sarah; Prince Charles did not considerLady Diana romantically until mid-1980. Prince Charles proposed to Diana in February 1981 and they married in St

Princess Diana

Princess Diana and the Prince of Wales on their wedding day! Photo by: Joe Haupt

Paul’s Cathedral on 29 July. The Royal couple made their homes at  Kensington Palace and at Highgrove House, near Tetbury. Together, Prince Charles and Princess Diana had two children: Princes William, born 21 June 1982, and Henry known as “Harry”, born 15 September 1984.

As the years went on, the couple’s incompatibility and age difference (almost 13 years), as well as Diana’s concern about Charles’s previous girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, became visible and damaging to their marriage.  In December 1992, the British Prime Minister, John Major, announced Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s formal separation in Parliament. Prince Charles and Diana divorced on 28 August 1996. When Princess 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.

The engagement of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was announced on 10 February 2005; he presented her with an engagement ring which had belonged to his grandmother. On 4 April the originally scheduled wedding date of 8 April was postponed by one day, to allow Prince Charles and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Charity Work

Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales! Photo by: Dan Marsh

Since founding The Prince’s Trust in 1976, Charles has established sixteen more charitable organizations, and now serves as president of all of those. Together, these form a loose alliance called The Prince’s Charities, which describes itself as the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100 million annually. The Prince’s Charities is active across a broad range of areas including education, young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international.