(England Twitter)-Charles, Prince of Wales, KG KT GCB OM AK QSO CD SOM PC AdC(P) FRS (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. Since 1958, his major title has been HRH The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay. He is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history.
Charles was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had attended as a child. After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, Charles served a tour of duty with the Royal Navy in 1971–76. He married Lady Diana Spencer before an enormous worldwide television audience in 1981. They had two sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in 1982 and Prince Harry of Wales in 1984. The couple separated in 1992 following tabloid allegations concerning their relationship. They divorced in 1996 after Diana publicly accused Charles of having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, and Charles admitted adultery on television. Diana died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. In 2005, after a lengthy continued association, the Prince married Camilla, who uses the title Duchess of Cornwall.
The prince is well-known for his charity work and sponsors The Prince's Trust, The Prince's Regeneration Trust, and the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, among other charities. He has been outspoken concerning architecture and the conservation of old buildings and has produced a book on the subject called A Vision of Britain (1989). He has also promoted herbal and other alternative medical treatment.
Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, the first child of then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Baptised in the palace's Music Room on 15 December 1948, using water from the River Jordan, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the Prince's godparents were: the King (his maternal grandfather); the King of Norway (his cousin, for whom the Earl of Athlone stood proxy); Queen Mary (his maternal great-grandmother); the Princess Margaret (his maternal aunt); Prince George of Greece (his paternal granduncle, for whom the Duke of Edinburgh stood proxy); the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his paternal great-grandmother); the Lady Brabourne (his cousin); and the Hon David Bowes-Lyon (his maternal great-uncle). By letters patent of Charles' great-grandfather, King George V, the titles of a British prince or princess, and the style Royal Highness, were only to be conferred on male-line children and grandchildren of the sovereign, as well as the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. However, on 22 October 1948, George VI issued new letters patent granting these honours to any children of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip; otherwise, Charles would have merely taken his father's title, and been titled by courtesy as Earl of Merioneth. In this way, the children of the heiress presumptive had a royal and princely status.
Charles first attended Hill House School in West London, receiving non-preferential treatment from the school's founder and then head, Stuart Townend, who advised the Queen to have Charles train in football, as the boys at Hill House were never deferential to anyone on the football field.The Prince then attended his father's former school, the Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England; and was finally moved to Gordonstoun, in the north-east of Scotland. Reportedly the Prince despised his time at the latter school – "Colditz in kilts", as Charles put it – though he did spend two of his terms at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Geelong, Australia, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a history trip with his tutor, Michael Collins Persse. Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles emulated his father in becoming Head Boy, and left in 1967 with two A Levels in History and French.
Military training and career
Following in the tradition of Princes of Wales before him, Charles spent time in the navy and air force. After Royal Air Force training that he requested and received during his second year at Cambridge, on 8 March 1971 the Prince flew himself to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to train as a jet pilot. After the passing out parade in September of that year, he then embarked on a naval career, enrolling in a six week course at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth and then serving on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk (1971–1972) and the frigates HMS Minerva (1972–1973) and HMS Jupiter (1974). Charles also qualified as a helicopter pilot at RNAS Yeovilton in 1974, just prior to joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, operating from HMS Hermes, and on 9 February 1976, the Prince took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last nine months in the navy. In total, Prince Charles has qualified to fly a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a Harrier T Mk.4 V/STOL fighter, a BAC Jet Provost jet pilot trainer, a Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, a F-4 Phantom II fighter jet, an Avro Vulcan jet bomber, and a Spitfire classic WWII fighter.
Prince Charles' love life was always the subject of speculation and press fodder. In his youth, he was linked to a number of women, including Georgiana Russell, daughter of the British Ambassador to Spain; Lady Jane Wellesley; Davina Sheffield; Fiona Watson, a model; Susan George; Lady Sarah Spencer; Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg; Dale, Baroness Tryon; Janet Jenkins; and Jane Ward. Not only is Charles the heir apparent to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms, a marriage was also expected to raise future monarchs. Consequently his choice of consort was going to create immense popular interest. In particular the reputation of the bride was going to be a major consideration, in addition to his mother's approval under the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Under this Act marriage to a Roman Catholic would automatically debar him and the marriage's Catholic issue from succession.
Although Charles first met Lady Diana Frances Spencer in 1977—while visiting Diana's home, Althorp, as the companion of her elder sister, Sarah—he did not consider her romantically until the summer of 1980. While sitting together on a bale of hay at a friend's barbecue in July he mentioned Mountbatten's death, to which Diana replied that Charles had looked forlorn and in need of care during his uncle's funeral. Soon, according to Charles' chosen biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, "without any apparent surge in feeling, he began to think seriously of her as a potential bride." She accompanied the Prince on visits to Balmoral and Sandringham, eliciting enthusiastic responses from most of the Royal Family.
Engagement and wedding to Diana
See also: Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer andWedding of Prince William of Wales-and Kate Middleton
Prince Charles proposed to Diana in February 1981, she accepted, and when he asked her father for her hand, he consented. After the British and Canadian privy councils gave their approval for the union (which was sought as the couple was expected to produce an heir to those countries' thrones), the Queen-in-Council gave the legally required assent, and, 29 July, Charles and Diana were married at St Paul's Cathedral, before 3,500 invited guests and an estimated worldwide television audience of 750 million people. All of the Queen's Governors-General, as well as Europe's crowned heads, attended (save for King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who was advised not to attend because the newlyweds' honeymoon would involve a stop over in the disputed territory of Gibraltar). Most of Europe's elected heads of state were also amongst the guests, with the exceptions of the President of Greece, Constantine Karamanlis (who declined because Greece's exiled monarch, Constantine II, a kinsman and friend of the bridegroom, had been invited as "King of the Hellenes"), and the President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery (who was advised by Taoiseach Charles Haughey not to attend because of the dispute over the status of Northern Ireland)
Separation and divorce
The union between the Prince and Princess of Wales soon became troubled; within five years, the "fairytale" marriage was on the brink of collapse. The continued presence of Camilla Parker-Bowles in events and circumstances that also involved the royal couple became intolerable to Diana. Allies of Charles who spoke both publicly and off the record against Diana alleged that she was unstable and temperamental; one by one, she apparently weasel words secured the dismissal of many of Charles' long-standing staff members and fell out with his friends, as well as members of her own family– her father, mother, and brother– as well as members of the Royal Family, such as Sarah, Duchess of York. To the Palace's regret, the Princess sought counsel outside generally accepted sources of royal advice. In response to the succour sought by the Prince, Diana responded in kind. Charles, however, was also blamed for the marital troubles, as he resumed his adulterous affair with Parker-Bowles. Though they remained a couple in public, Charles and Diana had effectively separated by the late 1980s, the Prince living in Highgrove and the Princess at Kensington Palace. Their increased periods apart and obvious discomfort in each other's presence began to be noticed by the media, and this, plus evidence and recriminations of infidelity, were broadcast in tabloids and the news. By 1992 the marriage was over in all but name; in December of that year, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, John Major, announced in the British parliament the Prince and Princess' formal separation, after which the media began to take sides, starting what came to be known as the War of the Waleses. In October 1993, Diana wrote to a friend that she believed her husband was now in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her. The marriage of Charles and Diana was formally ended in divorce on 28 August 1996.
In 1993, the British tabloids came into the possession of recordings of a 1989 telephone conversation allegedly between the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles, in which Charles expressed regret for the indignities she had endured because of her relationship with him, and which revealed graphic expressions of a physical intimacy between the two.
Legality of civil wedding
The wedding made Charles the first member of the Royal Family to have a civil, rather than religious, wedding in England. Official documents had been published by BBC that stated such a marriage was illegal, though these were dismissed by Clarence House, and explained to be obsolete by the sitting government.
In his years as heir apparent, the Prince of Wales has taken on a wide array of interests and activities, and devoted his time and effort to charity work and collaborating with local communities. Since founding The Prince's Trust, he established fifteen more charitable organisations, and now serves as president of all of those, plus two others; together, these form a loose alliance called The Prince's Charities, which claim to raise over £110 million annually.Charles is also patron of over 350 other charities and organisations,and carries out duties related to these throughout the Commonwealth realms; for example, he uses his tours of Canada as a way to help draw attention to youth, the disabled, the environment, the arts, medicine, the elderly, heritage conservation, and education. The Prince was described by his ex-private secretary as a dissident who works against majority political opinions. Jonathan Dimbleby has reported that the Prince "has accumulated a number of certainties about the state of the world and does not relish contradiction.
Philosophies and religious beliefs
Sir Laurens van der Post became a friend of Charles in 1977, a relationship which led him to be dubbed the "guru to Prince Charles", and made godfather to Charles' son, Prince William. From him, the Prince of Wales developed a focus on philosophy, especially that of Asian and Middle Eastern nations, and New Age theology, praising Kabbalistic artworks, and penning a memorial for Kathleen Raine, the Neoplatonist poet, who died in 2003.
The Prince is known to attend services at several different Anglican churches near his home at Highgrove, Gloucestershire and is known to regularly worship at Crathie Kirk when staying at Balmoral Castle. In 2000, he was appointed as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Charles has demonstrated an interest in alternative medicine, and his promotion of it has caused controversy. In 2004, Charles' Foundation for Integrated Health divided the scientific and medical community over its campaign encouraging general practitioners to offer herbal and other alternative treatments to National Health Service patients, and in May 2006, Charles made a speech to an audience of health ministers from various countries at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, urging them to develop a plan for integrating conventional and alternative medicine and argued for homeopathy.
In April 2008, The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, that asked the Prince's Foundation to recall two guides promoting "alternative medicine", saying: "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous." A speaker for the foundation countered the criticism by stating: "We entirely reject the accusation that our online publication Complementary Healthcare: A Guide contains any misleading or inaccurate claims about the benefits of complementary therapies. On the contrary, it treats people as adults and takes a responsible approach by encouraging people to look at reliable sources of information... so that they can make informed decisions. The foundation does not promote complementary therapies. Ernst has recently published a book with science writer Simon Singh condemning alternative medicine called Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. The book is ironically dedicated to "HRH the Prince of Wales" and the last chapter is very critical of his advocacy of "complementary" and "alternative" treatments.
The plight of various peoples has been a target of Charles' efforts, predominantly the long-term unemployed, people who have been in trouble with the law, people who are in difficulty at school, and people who have been in care. The Prince's Trust is the main outlet through which Charles works with young people, offering loans to groups, business people, and others who have had difficulty receiving outside support. Fundraising concerts are regularly held in benefit of the trust, with leading pop, rock, and classical musicians taking part. In Canada, Charles has also supported humanitarian projects, taking part, along with his two sons, in the ceremonies marking the 1998 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and helping to launch the Canadian Youth Business Foundation in Saskatchewan in 2001, when he also visited Scott Collegiate, an inner-city school in Regina.
Hobbies and sports
Since his youth, the Prince was an avid player of polo, as a part of competitive teams until 1992, and strictly for charity from then until 2005, after which he ceased to participate because of two notable injuries he suffered during play: in 1990 he broke his arm, and in 2001 was briefly unconscious after a fall.Charles also frequently took part in fox hunting, before the sport was banned in the United Kingdom in 2005. By the late 1990s, as opposition to the activity was growing, the Prince of Wales' participation in this activity was viewed as a "political statement" by those opposed to it, such as the League Against Cruel Sports, which launched the attack against Charles after he took his sons on the Beaufort Hunt in 1999, at a time when the government was trying to ban the hunting of foxes with hounds. The Prince has also been a keen salmon angler since youth, and a supporter of Orri Vigfússon's efforts to protect the North Atlantic Salmon. Charles has frequently fished the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, while he claims his most special angling memories are from his time in Vopnafjörður, Iceland.
As Prince of Wales, Prince Charles undertakes a number of official duties on behalf of his mother, in her role as sovereign of any of the Commonwealth realms. He will frequently stand in for the Queen at the funerals of foreign dignitaries (which the Queen customarily does not attend), and at investitures into British orders. It was when he attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II that Charles caused controversy: when shaking hands with other guests, Charles was surprised to find himself shaking that of Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, who had been seated next to the Prince. Charles' office subsequently released a statement saying: "The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and not in a position to avoid shaking Mr. Mugabe's hand. The Prince finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent. He has supported the Zimbabwe Defence and Aid Fund which works with those being oppressed by the regime. The Prince also recently met Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government.
Sometimes referred to as Chazza (along the lines of Gazza, Hezza, and similar coinages),and parodied, such as on Spitting Image, and by Craig Ferguson—in a segment known as The Rather Late Programme with Prince Charles—on The Late Late Show, Prince Charles has been a focus of the world media since his birth, attention that increased as he matured. Prior to his first marriage, he was presented as the world's most eligible bachelor on the cover of Time, and his various affairs and exploits were followed and reported. With his marriage to Diana the attention increased, though predominantly towards a Princess of Wales, who became a star attraction, chased by the paparazzi, and her every move (including every change in hairstyle) closely followed by millions. As their relationship began to deteriorate, Diana began to use the media to her advantage, and became closely involved in placing stories about the royal marriage in the press, thenceforth splitting the media's support, with Charles having The Mirror and the Telegraph on his side.
Clarence House, the former London residence of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, is the Prince of Wales' current official residence. Previously, he resided in an apartment at St James's Palace. Charles also holds a private estate in Gloucestershire, Highgrove House, and one in Scotland, the Birkhall estate near Balmoral Castle and also previously owned by the Queen Mother. Upon the occasion of his marriage to Diana, Charles had reduced his voluntary tax contribution from the profits generated by the Duchy of Cornwall from 50% to 25%.
In 2007 the Prince purchased a 192 acre (150 acres of grazing and parkland, and 40 acres (160,000 m2) of woodland) property in Carmarthenshire, and applied for permission to convert the farm into a Welsh home for him and the Duchess of Cornwall, to be rented out as holiday flats when the royal couple is not in residence.Though neighbours said the proposed alterations flouted local planning regulations, the application was put on hold while a report was drafted on how the alterations would affect the local bat population.Charles and Camilla took residence at the new property, called Llwynywermod, in June 2008.
Titles and styles
Charles has held a number of titles throughout his life, as the grandson of the monarch, the son of the monarch and, later, honoured in his own right with princely and noble titles. When in conversation with the Prince of Wales, the practice is to initially address him as Your Royal Highness and thereafter as Sir.
There has been speculation as to what regnal name the Prince will choose upon his succession to the throne. If he keeps his current first name, he will be known as Charles III. However, it has been reported that Charles has suggested he may choose to reign as George VII in honour of his maternal grandfather, and to avoid association with the Stuart kings Charles I (who was beheaded) and Charles II (who had lived in exile), although he has denied this publicly.
Honours and honorary military appointments
Charles' first honorary appointment was as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales in 1969; since that time, the Prince has also been installed as Colonel-in-Chief, Colonel, Honorary Air Commodore, Air Commodore-in-Chief, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, Royal Honorary Colonel, Royal Colonel, and Honorary Commodore of at least 36 military formations throughout the Commonwealth. He is also the commander of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, which is the only foreign regiment in the British army.
Charles has also been the recipient of a number of honours and awards from various countries. He has been inducted into eight orders and received five decorations from amongst the Commonwealth realms, and has been the recipient of 17 different appointments and decorations by foreign states, as well as nine honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
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