Facts, information and articles about King Charles, reigning monarch of the United Kingdom from Sept. 8, 2022.


Facts

King Charles III (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images) (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

King Charles III, formerly Charles, Prince of Wales, is the current king of the United Kingdom. He ascended to the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, after having been the longest-serving heir apparent in British history.

As heir apparent, he’s showed an interest in public works related to the environment and architecture. But it has been his private life that has garnered the most attention, with an ill-fated marriage to Princess Diana and his affair with — and, later, marriage to — Camilla Parker Bowles, who became the duchess of Cornwall.

Born

Nov. 6, 1948

REIGN

Sept. 8, 2022-present

Titles

Charles III, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His Other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles, Baron of Renfrew and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland

Spouse

Princess Diana (divorced, deceased)

Camilla, Queen Consort

Children

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

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King Charles III’s Early Life

Charles Philip Arthur George was born in Buckingham Palace to Princess Elizabeth, the heir apparent to King George VI.

His mother was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died aged 56 on Feb. 6, 1952. Charles, the sovereign’s eldest son, was 3, though he wasn’t technically named heir apparent until he became the prince of Wales.

HEIR Apparent

In a break with tradition, Queen Elizabeth II and the duke of Edinburgh decided that rather than have a tutor within the confines of the palace, the young prince should go to school. The prince started at Hill House school in West London on Nov. 7, 1956.

Although given the title Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in 1958 at the age of 9, Charles was not invested as Prince of Wales by the queen until July 1, 1969.

After switching to attend Cheam School and then Gordonstoun — the school in eastern Scotland that the duke of Edinburgh had also attended — the future king went to Cambridge University in 1967. Although originally an archaeology and anthropology student at Trinity College, Charles changed to history for the latter half of his education. In 1970 was awarded a 2:2 degree.

After his degree, the prince embarked on a naval career, attending a six-week course at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, before qualifying as a helicopter pilot and joining 845 Naval Air Squadron in 1974.

Public Works

For over 50 years Charles has championed and been an advocate for sustainability. From “deforestation, and ocean pollution, The Prince has promoted sustainability to ensure that the natural assets upon which we all depend among other things soil, water, forests, a stable climate and fish stocks endure for future generations,” according to The Prince of Wales’ personal website.

Marriage to PRincess Diana

After much fanfare and close media speculation, on July 29, 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. He became first royal heir since 1660 to marry an Englishwoman.

The prince and princess of Wales had two sons: Prince William, born June 21, 1982; and Prince Harry, born Sept. 15, 1984.

By all accounts, the marriage was strained, and, in 1992, the pair announced their intention to separate. Prior to the couple’s official announcement, however, Andrew Morton’s bombshell book, “Diana: Her True Story” alleged that Charles had had a long-term affair while married to Diana. The other woman? His former lover, now a married woman, Camilla Parker Bowles.

Charles and Diana’s marriage was dissolved on Aug. 28, 1996. Diana died almost exactly a year later, on Aug. 31, 1997, in an automobile accident in Paris.

Second Marriage

In 2004, Prince Charles announced his engagement to longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles. They married on April 8, 2005, in a civil ceremony, with Parker Bowles becoming duchess of Cornwall.

Ascension to the Throne

On Sept. 8, 2022, upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Charles ascended to the throne, becoming King Charles III. Camilla Parker-Bowles is the queen consort (a title Queen Elizabeth encouraged), while his son, Prince William, is now first in line to the throne.

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