His Royal Highness Prince Charles is one of the most prominent public figures in the world. He is next in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and has supported international charities for years. The work he does not just for the crown but also for disadvantaged people across the world make him a true National Treasure.
Prince Charles was born on November 14th, 1948, in Buckingham Palace. He was the first child of then-Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip; his grandfather, George VI, was King at the time.
A month later, on December 15th, Charles was baptised at the Palace. The ceremony was performed by Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In 1952, upon the passing of his grandfather and his mother’s accession to the throne, he was named Heir Apparent. He was also given the titles Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. Charles is now the oldest, and longest-serving, heir apparent in British history.
The young Prince Charles became one of the first royals to go to school rather than being educated at home. Between the ages of five and eight he was attended by a governess named Catherine Peebles. In 1956 he started at Hill House School, West London. Over the next ten years he would attend other schools, such as Cheam Preparatory School and Geelong Grammar School. When he left school in 1967, he had six GCE O-levels and two A-levels. These A-levels were in History and French, in which he earned a grade B and C, respectively.
Charles ended up being the first heir apparent in British history to attend university and get a degree. This went against the royal tradition of joining the British Armed Forces after leaving school. Instead, he attended Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1969, as the ceremony to crown him Prince of Wales approached, he went to Aberystwyth to study Welsh history and language.
Ultimately, Prince Charles graduated from the University of Cambridge with a 2:2 Bachelor of Arts degree on June 23rd, 1970. In his time at university, Charles did not entirely neglect the Armed Forces. He requested and received flight training from the Royal Air Force in his second year of studies, and flew himself to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to train as a jet pilot in 1971.
Through the years, Prince Charles has attended many events on behalf of the royal family. It is, in fact, his duty as Prince of Wales to undertake functions on behalf of the Queen. One of the duties he performs regularly is a yearly tour of Wales. He attends important national events and fulfils a week of engagements every summer.
In 1995, Charles became the first member of the royal family to visit the Republic of Ireland in an official capacity. During this visit, Charles said, “The links and friendships between the peoples of these islands are found everywhere and in almost every family. This, ladies and gentlemen, must surely reinforce the important efforts now being made to build a lasting peace.”
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, Charles represented the Queen at the opening ceremony. He revisited Ireland in May 2015, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall. The British Embassy called it an important step in “promoting peace and reconciliation”.
Lady Diana Spencer was Prince Charles’s first wife. They first met in 1977, and at first were not drawn to one another. Over subsequent years, however, the two became closer, and eventually romantically involved. In 1981, following pressure from Prince Philip, Charles proposed to Diana. She accepted, and they got married on July 29th of the same year. The wedding took place at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The couple then lived at Kensington Palace and Highgrove House, near Tetbury. The marriage awarded Diana the title “Princess of Wales”. They had two children: Prince William, born in 1982, and Prince Henry (known as Harry) born in 1984. Charles was present at the births of both boys. This was something never seen amongst royal fathers.
After marrying, the couple went on many overseas tours. They also carried out many engagements together in the UK.
After about five years, the marriage started to fall apart. There was talk of infidelity on both sides. In 1992 the Prime Minister at the time, John Major, announced in Parliament that the couple had separated. They went on to divorce in 1996.
Diana continued to be considered a member of the royal family. She was still invited to attend official functions and became something of a celebrity. Paparazzi became somewhat obsessed with her.
Sadly, in August 1997, Diana died in a car crash. The accident occurred in Paris. Charles flew there with Diana’s sisters to accompany her body back to the UK. The funeral was held in September, with an estimated two million mourners gathering outside Westminster Abbey.
Camilla Parker Bowles
In February 2005, it was announced that Prince Charles was engaged to Camilla Parker Bowles. Instead of a church wedding, Charles and Camilla had a civil wedding at Windsor Guildhall. This was another royal first. The Queen did not attend but was present at the reception.
The wedding was initially scheduled to take place on April 8th. It was delayed by a day so that Charles and some of the dignitaries who would be present at the wedding could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
The couple remain together today. They regularly attend royal functions together. Charles and Camilla have not had any children.
Prince Charles is well-known for his international charity work. He is a president of more than 16 organisations, including The Prince’s Trust. This organisation was founded in 1976. These charities annually raise over £100 million to support charity work across the world.
Some of the charities he supports help to get young people into employment, as well as protecting the environment and minority communities. Some specific charities he has supported include Children In Crisis, National Wildlife Federation, and the Red Cross.
The Prince is also a keen watercolourist and has sold and exhibited many of these paintings to benefit charity. From his youth, Charles was a keen polo player; until 2005 he played regularly, often for charity. It is safe to say that his charity work will be Prince Charles’s most enduring legacy.