Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on world news
It has been 71 years since, in 1952, at the age of three, Charles became heir to the throne of the British monarchy. A role that he has maintained for most of his existence, in the shadow of his mother Elizabeth II. After the death of the queen it is now up to him to take the reins of the crown. In anticipation of the official coronation, on May 6, the Guardian has collected and put together a long series of details (71) about his life, from when he was born to today. Here’s everything you need to know about the ruler.
Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948 at 9.14pm, by caesarean section, after 30 hours of labour. His birth was the first of a senior member of the royal family not to be assisted by a senior politician – to ensure the newborn was a true descendant of the monarch – since the 17th century. His father, Philip, was not present and at one point he went to play squash. He is said to have declared that his son looked like a “plum pudding”. At his baptism, Charles was sprinkled with water from the Jordan River. When he was one year old, the Queen and Prince Philip spent Christmas in Malta. Charles stayed with his grandparents at Sandringham; his parents lost his first steps and his first teeth. It seems that his first word was “nana”, addressed to his nanny, Mabel Anderson. Seventy-one years ago, when his grandfather died and his mother became queen, Charles became heir to the throne at the age of three. He held that title for 70 years, longer than anyone else. As heir male, Charles began receiving the equivalent of £209,000 from his estate. Since then, he and the Queen have received payments equivalent to more than £1bn from the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, which manage portfolios of land across England, according to a recent Guardian investigation.
Charles was the first future monarch to be sent to school rather than be educated by private tutors. He was sent to Cheam School at the age of eight. He was said to have little aptitude for the sport, but in his final year he captained the football team, who scored four goals in the season and conceded 82. He was then sent to Gordonstoun school, where he was ostracized from his companions. Despite his unpopularity he was made head boy and given a room of his own in the art master’s apartment. In 1967, despite poor academic results, he was given a place at Cambridge without taking the exam. He was driven to university in a red Mini. He became the first heir to the throne to receive a bachelor’s degree.
The meeting with Camilla and the one with Diana
When he met Camilla Shand in the summer of 1971, she is said to have introduced herself by saying, “My great-grandmother was your great-grandfather’s mistress, so what do you say?” They fell in love, but were separated when Charles joined the Royal Navy In 1977, when he was 29, he met 16-year-old Diana Spencer. Pressured to marry, Diana proposed in February 1981, shortly before she left on a trip to Australia. Diana later said they had met 13 times when he proposed to her.Their wedding in St Paul’s Cathedral was attended by 3,500 people, with 600,000 spectators lining Diana’s processional route, and an estimated television audience of 28 million in the UK and 750 million worldwide.
The children and the end of the marriage with Diana
When Prince William was born in 1982, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said he “cried his eyes out”. Yet for the six weeks before Prince Harry’s birth in 1984, Diana later said she and Charles “were very, very close to each other…the closest we have ever been, ever been and ever will be.” . Then all of a sudden, when Harry was born, it all fell apart, our marriage, the whole thing fell apart.” According to biographer Sally Bedell Smith, Charles and Camilla’s relationship resumed in 1986. Diana told her biographer Andrew Morton that she confronted Camilla in 1989. Morton’s book, published in 1992, revealed the details of the marriage breakdown . They formally separated later that year. In 1993, a recording of a conversation between Charles and Camilla, in which she said she would like to be reincarnated as her tampon, caused a sensation. Carlo admitted to the affair with Camilla in a 1994 interview. He said he was faithful “until his marriage was irretrievably destroyed”. Following Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, The Queen sent letters to Charles and Diana advising them to divorce.It happened the following year: a deal was agreed which guaranteed Diana a lump sum of £17m – equivalent to £41m today – plus £400,000 a year They signed non-disclosure agreements that prohibited any statements about their divorce or their marriage.
From the death of Diana to the marriage with Camilla
In his recent memoir Spare, Prince Harry recalled that when he was growing up, his father would go to his bedroom every morning in an attempt to ease the pain in his neck and back caused by years of playing polo. After Diana’s car crash in Paris in 1997, Charles broke the news to Harry in his bedroom. He called him his “dear son” and put his hand on his knee but he didn’t hug him. Harry also said dad kept a teddy bear he’d had since he was at Gordonstoun that had “broken arms and dangling strings”. And he revealed that Carlo’s personal favorite perfume was Eau Sauvage, which he would “smear” on “cheeks , the collar, the shirt”. Charles and Camilla’s 2005 wedding clashed with the Grand National, which was therefore delayed by 25 minutes. Shortly after the ceremony, the Queen entered a side hall at Windsor Castle to watch the race. She even left the reception to watch it again. Her wedding present to the couple was a broodmare. Honors bestowed upon Charles during his lifetime include Special Category Sash of the Order of the Aztec Eagle in Mexico , Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum in Japan, Grand Commander of the Order of the Lion in Malawi and Knight of the Order of the Elephant in Denmark He also received a special award for the promotion of gardening from the Garden Media Guild in 2011 .
From Elizabeth’s death to coronation
Since his mother died, Charles has earned £2.3 million selling his horses at auction. His personal fortune has been estimated by the Guardian at around £1.8 billion. He receives around £86m a year in public funding and is technically owed another £250m under the terms of a 2011 funding deal, but has signaled that he doesn’t want the extra money. After the queen’s death, he paid no inheritance tax on her fortune. The Guardian recently estimated its current fleet of luxury cars to be worth around £6.3m. Plans for the coronation have been underway for years under the code name “Operation Golden Orb”. No budget has been revealed, but it has been estimated that it will cost between £50m and £100m. Charles has also been reported to want it to be “in line with his vision of a smaller, more modern monarchy”, with 2,000 guests versus 8,000 who attended the Queen’s coronation and a shorter service. Charles will leave the ceremony wearing the Imperial State Crown for the first time. It is 12 inches tall and decorated with 3,165 diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and pearls.