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King Charles III

A Royal Childhood

Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born on November 14, 1948 at Buckingham Palace. He was the first child of Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King George VI, and her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. His parents went on to have three more children: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.

In 1952, King George VI died and Prince Charles's mother became Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Charles was now the heir apparent to the throne. His formal investiture as Prince of Wales, a title traditionally given to the heir to the throne, took place at Caernarvon Castle on July 1, 1969.

When the prince was almost eight he was enrolled at Hill House, a private prep school. This was seen as his mother's attempt to give him a taste of non-royal life. In 1957 Prince Charles went to live at Cheam School in Yorkshire, and after leaving Cheam in 1962 he went to Gourdonstoun School in Scotland. His father chose these schools because he himself had attended both. But Prince Charles was miserable at Gourdonstoun, where he was teased and hazed by other students.

Charles as a Young Man

In 1966 the Prince of Wales became a student at the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia. He was the first member of the royal family to attend an overseas Commonwealth school. In 1967 he started Cambridge college, where he studied archaeology, anthropology and history. During his time at Cambridge he performed in several revues and played polo. He graduated with a BA degree in 1970 and took his seat in the House of Lords.

In 1969 Prince Charles became colonel-in-chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales. He entered the Royal Navy in 1971. That same year he learned to fly jets at the Royal Air Force College and earned his RAF wings. During his naval career he served on frigates and a guided-missile destroyer. He became a helicopter pilot and commanded a coastal minehunter. At the end of '76 he left military service. As of July 2002 he was a rear-admiral in the Royal Navy, a major-general in the army, and air vice-marshal in the Royal Air Force.

As a young man Prince Charles was heavily influenced by his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the IRA in 1979. Another great influence upon Prince Charles's life was a woman named Camilla Shand, whom he met in the early '70s. But Charles's navy duties separated him from Camilla, and eventually she married Andrew Parker Bowles. They had two children, Thomas and Laura. In 1995, they divorced.

First Marriage and Divorce

Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer in 1977 while he was dating her older sister, Sarah. He liked Diana, and in 1980 they began seeing each other frequently. Prince Charles was in his early thirties, and felt pressured by his family and the media to find a wife. He had resumed his relationship with Camilla, but she was still married. At last Prince Charles decided that he should marry 19-year old Lady Diana. The wedding took place on July 29, 1981 in St Paul's Cathedral and was watched by 750 million people worldwide.

Charles and Diana's eldest son, Prince William, was born on June 21, 1982. Their second child, Prince Henry (Harry), was born on September 15, 1984. But the Prince and Princess of Wales had a troubled relationship. Charles remained close to Camilla Parker Bowles, a situation Princess Diana refused to accept. On December 9, 1992 the Prime Minister announced that the Prince and Princess of Wales would separate. They were divorced in August of 1996. Princess Diana was killed in a car accident one year later.

The Prince's Interests

Much of Prince Charles's time was spent performing royal duties and working for charity. In 2008 he was the president or patron of approximately 380 organizations. The Prince's Trust, which he founded in 1976, has helped thousands of poor young people start businesses. Prince Charles worked for education, health, the environment, the arts, and other causes.

Prince Charles spoke publicly on environmental issues from 1970 onward. His Gloucestershire estate, Highgrove, was organically farmed, and he started a successful organic foods brand, Duchy Originals, in 1990 (all profits going to charity). The prince was an outspoken critic of modern architecture and a supporter of intelligent urban planning.

In his free time, Prince Charles was an avid polo player and skier. He enjoyed writing and painting. He was said to be a devoted father.

Marriage to Camilla

After his divorce, Prince Charles made his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles increasingly public. The outpouring of grief at Princess Diana's death made it seem unlikely that Camilla would be widely accepted as the wife of their future king, but over time the public started to embrace Camilla. In 2005, Prince Charles announced his plans to marry his long-time love. The wedding took place on April 9, 2005. Camilla became HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

Charles Becomes King

On September 8, 2022, Charles's mother, Queen Elizabeth, died at the age of 96, and Charles became king. The heir to the throne is his eldest son, Prince William, who is now Prince of Wales. King Charles's wife, Camilla, is now known as Her Majesty the Queen Consort.

Books About King Charles

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Book Categories: Books by Charles, Biographies, Charles & Diana, Camilla, Fiction, Children's Books, Princes of Wales, Diana, William, Harry, Other Windsors, British Royal History, DVDs

Books About Charles III

The King: The Life of Charles III by Christopher Andersen. An unsparing yet sympathetic biography of the enigmatic man who waited more than 70 years to become king. Published in 2022.

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by Sally Bedell Smith. A biography based on hundreds of interviews with palace officials, former girlfriends, spiritual gurus, and more, some speaking on the record for the first time. Published in 2017.

Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles by Tom Bower. This critical biography, "relying on the testimony from over 120 people employed or welcomed into the inner sanctum of Clarence House, reveals a royal household rife with intrigue and misconduct." Published in 2018.

King Charles: The Man, the Monarch, and the Future of Britain by Robert Jobson. This biography explores the Prince of Wales's complex character and profoundly held beliefs. (Also published as Charles: Our Future King and Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams.)

Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor by Catherine Mayer. This biography shows the "skullduggery and unintentional comedy of court life." Published in 2015.

Radical Prince: The Practical Vision of the Prince of Wales by David Lorimer. Provides an overview of Prince Charles's philosophy, revealing his ideas on ecology, organic agriculture, holistic health, religion, architecture, and education.

Charles, the Alternative Prince: An Unauthorised Biography by Edzard Ernst. Examines Prince Charles's "promotion of unproven, disproven, and occasionally harmful alternative therapies."

Charles, Prince of Wales: A Birthday Souvenir Album by Jane Roberts. A biography in pictures, illustrated with many previously unpublished items from the Royal Archives and Royal Collection.

Charles, Prince of Wales by Gill Knappett. A short illustrated biography.

A Royal Home in Wales: Llwynywormod by Mark Baker. Purchased in 2006 by the Prince of Wales's Duchy of Cornwall, Llwynywermod is the first royal home in Wales since the time of the English Civil War. This book charts its history.

Written or Introduced by Charles

Books About Highgrove

Highgrove: An English Country Garden by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Bunny Guinness, photos by Marianne Majerus. Takes readers on a tour of the organic gardens at Prince Charles's estate. Published in 2015.

The Royal Gardens at Highgrove by Gill Knappett. An illustrated history of the gardens then-prince Charles III created, including The Sundial Garden, Cottage Garden, Thyme Walk, Wildflower Meadow, and more. Published in 2022.

The Elements of Organic Gardening: Highgrove - Clarence House - Birkhall by HRH the Prince of Wales with Stephanie Donaldson. A practical guide to organic gardening as practised by Prince Charles. Published in 2007.

Highgrove: Portrait of an Estate by Charles, Prince of Wales and Charles Clover. In his own words, Prince Charles chronicles his failures and success at creating a model of organic farming and gardening. Illustrated with photos. Published in 2002.

The Garden at Highgrove by Charles, Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green. An illustrated tour of the maze-like garden surrounding the estate. Published in 2001.


Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World by the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles shares his views on sustainability and climate change, what we have lost in the modern age, and how to regain the harmony of our ancestors. Illustrated with four-color photographs and charts.

Harmony: A Vision for Our Future by the Prince of Wales. In this children's edition of Prince Charles's adult book Harmony, the prince encourages global citizens of all ages to search for a harmonious balance with nature. For children ages 4 to 8.

Other Books

The Prince's Speech: On the Future of Food by HRH the Prince of Wales. A 2011 speech by Prince Charles about the growing global food shortage. The prince advocates organic farming and resilient agricultural systems that, for the well-being of future generations, must be adopted today.

A Vision of Britain by Charles, Prince of Wales. Prince Charles shares his personal view of architecture.

Watercolours by Charles, Prince of Wales. This book contains more than 70 of the prince's paintings, accompanied by his captions.

The Old Man of Lochnagar by HRH Prince Charles, illustrated by Sir Hugh Casson. A children's book written by the Prince of Wales. For children ages 4 to 8.

Speeches and Articles 1968-2012: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales edited by David Cadman and Suheil Bushrui. Topics include the natural environment, architecture and the built environment, integrated medicine and health, society, religion and tradition. This is a two-volume set and very expensive.

Speeches and Articles 2013-2017: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales edited by David Cadman. Third volume in the series. (Expensive.)

Queen Camilla

Camilla: From Outcast to Queen Consort by Angela Levin. This biography uncovers Camilla's rocky journey to acceptance by the royal family. Published in 2022.

The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown by Penny Junor. This in-depth biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall argues that she played a central role in restoring the royal family's reputation after Prince Charles's split from Princess Diana. Published in 2018.

Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair by Gyles Brandreth. What are Charles and Camilla really like? This book offers a "revealing portrait of two unusual individuals." The author has met Charles, Camilla, Diana, their children, their families, and their friends. Published in 2007.

Camilla and Charles: The Love Story by Caroline Graham. This book promises to reveal everything about Charles and Camilla's relationship and their decision to marry. The author has reportedly spoken to sources "very close to the couple." Published in 2005.

Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter by Diana Souhami. Camilla Parker Bowles's great grandmother, Alice Keppel, was the mistress of Prince Charles's great great grandfather, King Edward VII. Camilla is said to have modelled herself after Mrs. Keppel. This book deals more with Mrs. Keppel's daughter Violet (not a direct ancestor of Camilla) than Mrs. Keppel herself, but contains enough detail about the king's mistress to be of interest to royalty fans.

Books About Charles and Diana

The Windsor Knot: Charles, Camilla and the Legacy of Diana by Christopher Wilson. Describes Charles and Camilla's first meeting, Camilla's marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, Charles' marriage to Diana, the apparent truce between Camilla and Diana at the end of Diana's life, and more.

After Diana: William, Harry, Charles, and the Royal House of Windsor by Christopher Andersen. Promises "stunning revelations": why Diana feared for Camilla's life as well as her own; how Camilla dealt with being the most hated woman in the world; William and Harry's wild behavior; how Charles cheated on Camilla; the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to make Camilla queen; and more.

The King and Di: The True Story by Howard Hodgson. Describes Prince Charles as a caring hero and Princess Diana as a mentally frail person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

Charles: Victim or Villain? by Penny Junor. This book caused a furious controversy when it was published. It portrays Prince Charles as a victim in his marriage, claiming that Princess Diana was the first to commit adultery (with her detective Barry Mannakee, now deceased) and that she made death threats against Camilla Parker Bowles. Although Junor claimed to have interviewed dozens of Charles's friends, the prince and Parker-Bowles denied that they authorized, solicited, or approved the book. Published in 1999.

More Books About Charles and Diana

Fiction, Poetry, Drama

King Charles III by Mike Bartlett. A 2014 "future history play." Queen Elizabeth II is dead: after a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles ascends the throne. But how to rule? (Also available on DVD.)

The Coronation of King Charles: The Triumph of Universal Harmony by Nicholas Hagger. This coronation masque contrasts the chaos before Charles III's reign with the order of his new Carolingian Age. The previous masques in this trilogy are The Dream of Europa, which celebrates the European Union, and King Charles the Wise, about the UK's global destiny.

Fiction About Princess Diana

More Books

More Books About Modern British Royals
Books About Princes of Wales
Books About British Royal History
Books About World Royalty

Children's Books

Prince Charles by Izzy Howell. A biography of Britain's Prince of Wales, illustrated with photographs. For children ages 8 to 11.

Movies and Documentaries

The DVDs listed below are formatted for North American audiences. (Some links below may not be visible if you are using the ad-blocking feature of Norton Personal Firewall.)

Charles/Camilla: The Service of Prayer and Dedication. BBC footage of the religious service held after the royal couple's civil wedding.

King Charles, Queen Camilla. This documentary examines the past, present and future of a royal romance which has survived against all odds.

Princess Camilla: Winner Takes All! (2004). This documentary uses "specially shot and rarely seen footage."

Charles & Camilla - Whatever Love Means (2005). Movie about the early days of the couple's relationship, starring Laurence Fox and Olivia Poulet. I've seen this and it's not bad.

King Charles III. Adapted from the stage play. After the Queen s death, Prince Charles finds himself wrestling his conscience over a bill to sign into law.

More DVDs About British Royalty

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Related Topics

Queen Elizabeth II
Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince William
Prince Harry
Sarah, Duchess of York
The Windsors
British Royal News
Royal Marriage Proposals
British Royal History

Other Websites

The Prince of Wales - Official Website
Profile: The Duchess of Cornwall (official site)
The Prince of Wales (official monarchy site)
The Prince's Foundation for Building Community
The Prince's Teaching Institute
The Prince's Trust (official site)
YouTube: The Prince's Trust (official page)
King's Fund
A Royal View: Respect for the Earth (speech)

Wedding of Charles and Camilla
BBC: Charles and Camilla Wedding Joy (with video)
BBC: Charles and Camilla's Wedding Day
CBS: Charles and Camilla Finally Wed
Queen Wishes Royal Couple Well
Royal Wedding: Camilla Couture
Reporters' Log: Royal Wedding
The Royal Wedding - Minute by Minute
'We Are Here to Show Our Support' (with video)
In Pictures: Royal Wedding Day (BBC)
Picture Gallery: The Royal Wedding (Guardian)
'Retro' Menu for Royal Reception
Royal Newlyweds Begin Honeymoon
Poet Laureate Marks Royal Wedding (with audio)
Public 'Will Like Kind Camilla'
Charles and Camilla Likely to Live Happy Ever After

About "Prince of Wales" Title
Style and Titles of the Prince of Wales
Whose Prince?
Brewer's Dictionary: Prince of Wales

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