Charles, Prince of Wales

When visiting to London, the royal family is always topic of curiosity. Learn more about Charles, Prince of Wales with Free Tours by Foot. Nowadays, Charles, Prince of Wales is somewhat overshadowed by the extreme popularity of his son, Prince William, and daughter-in-law, Catherine Middleton. However, Charles is the direct heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and will likely reign before William inherits the throne himself.

Growing Up
Born at Buckingham Palace on 14th November 1948, Charles was the first of four children for (now) Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Aged three when his mother inherited the throne, Charles eventually became the first ever heir apparent to be educated at an actual school, rather than through a private tutor.
Later, Charles would break with royal tradition again, going straight from secondary school into university instead of joining the British Armed Forces, as was usually the case. The Prince studied at Trinity College, Cambridge as well as the University College of Wales, studying anthropology, archaeology, history, Welsh history and language (a good idea for the Prince of Wales!). After university, Charles finally did follow normal royal tradition and served in both the navy and the air force. Charles was a certified pilot by the age of 19 and is trained to fly jets as well as helicopters.

Marriages
To Lady Diana – Having first met Lady Diana Spencer in 1977, Charles proposed to her in 1980. A relationship not bourne out of passionate love or mutual attraction, but rather a convenience and suitability, it seems clear in hindsight that the marriage was doomed to failure. It is often states that Charles was told by his father that it was time to marry and settle down, and Diana happened to be a suitable choice, despite a 13 year age difference and lack of fidelity on both sides.
Charles and Diana were married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. Children quickly followed, William (born 1982) and Henry (born in 1984) commonly referred to as, “The Heir and the Spare.” However, within five years the press were picking up on Diana and Charles’ seemingly discomfort with one another when together, as well as Charles’ affair with an old flame, Camilla Parker-Bowels. Their separation was announced in December 1992 and their divorce was finalized in 1996.

To Camilla Parker Bowels – After decades of being kept apart (by other marriages they were both part of), Charles and Camilla Parker Bowels were finally engaged in 2005. The Queen gave consent to their marriage, which took place later the same year. Again, breaking with tradition, Charles is the first ever member of the Royal Family to have a civil – rather than religious – wedding. The couple were wed at Windsor Castle, and Camilla was given the title Duchess of Cornwall. Although she could rightfully take the title Princess of Wales, the associations with the now deceased Lady Diana Spencer are too strong to be used by Charles’ current wife.

Fast Facts
-Longest serving heir-apparent in British history, having held that title since 1952.
-Oldest person to be next-in-line to the throne in 1714
-Charles will be the oldest person to ever accede to the throne, if he outlives his mother. The previous holder of this title was the future King William IV – Charles overtook him in 2013.
-The Prince is a Patron of more than 400 different charities
-Charles is an active farmer as well as keen gardener
-A keen polo player, Charles only gave up the sport in 2005
-A skilled water colourest and excellent painter

Titles
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cornwall (Since February 1952)
Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (since July 1968)
The Prince’s official style and title is quite a mouthful…
His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Grand Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

Phew!!

+++To learn more about the royal family, join our Westminster walking tour or read our other blogs on Queen Elizabeth, , or Prince Harry!  We also have a self-guided Royal London Walk so you can explore on your own or you can check out our blog about Royal Palaces in London!+++

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