Prince Charles is the eldest of the four children of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. At his birth, Prince Charles replaced his aunt, Princes Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, as second in the line of succession to the British throne, behind only his mother.
Prince Charles’ three younger siblings are Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.
Prince Charles became Heir to The Throne at the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, following the death of her father, and Charles’ grandfather, King George VI. Prince Charles is now the longest-serving heir apparent in British history.
The British constituency has no specific role for The Heir to The Throne, but the Prince strives to “make a difference for the better in the UK and internationally” by carrying out royal duties in support of The Queen, by working as a charitable entrepreneur, and by promoting and protecting national traditions, virtues, and excellence.
Birth and Parents
Prince Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on November 14th 1952, the first child of Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles was baptized Charles Philip Arthur George in the Palace’s Music Room.
Duke of Cornwall
At the time Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, Prince Charles became Duke of Cornwall, as decreed by a charter of King Edward III from 1337. In the Scottish Peerage, he also became Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
Prince of Wales
Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on July 26th 1958, becoming the first Prince of Wales since 1936.
The Prince’s investiture as Prince of Wales was delayed until July 1st 1969. The ceremony was conducted by the Queen at Caernarfon Castle, North Wales, in a televised ceremony with an audience of about 500 million people.
Prince Charles’ career in the Armed Services started in March 1971 with an attachment with the Royal Air Force at Cranwell, Lincolnshire where he qualified a jet pilot, receiving his RAF wings on August 20th 1971.
The Prince joined the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, on September 15th 1971, as part of the graduate entry scheme, as Acting Sub-Lieutenant. Nearly two months later The Prince joined the destroyer HMS Norfolk at Gibraltar.
During the next two and a half years, The Prince served on four more ships. A Pacific voyage in 1974 on the frigate HMS Jupiter included calls at Singapore, New Zealand, Tonga, Western Samoa, Honolulu, San Francisco, Acapulco, and Bermuda. The Prince was promoted to Acting Lieutenant on May 1st 1973.
The Prince joined the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton on September 2nd 1974 for helicopter flying training. He was subsequently assigned to 845 Naval Air Squadron as a pilot on board the commando carrier HMS Hermes.
Following a lieutenant’s course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, The Prince was given command of his own ship, the mine hunter HMS Bronington, for the final ten months of his active service in the Royal Navy, ending on December 15th 1976.
Prince Charles currently holds the ranks of Admiral in the Royal Navy, Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force, and General in the Army.
Marriage to Lady Diana Spencer
Prince Charles married Lady Diana Frances Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, on July 29th, 1981, four years after they met at her home at Althorp. Diana was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, now the late Earl Spencer and the Honourable Mrs. Shand Kydd.
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales had two children:
- Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, born on July 21st 1982
- Prince Henry Charles Albert David, also known as Prince Harry, born September 15th 1984
Divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales
The marriage of Charles and Diana was formally ended in divorce on August 28th 1996. On August 31st 1997 Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris, along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
Prince Charles overruled palace protocol experts and joined Diana’s sisters when they flew to Paris to accompany Diana’s body home. He also insisted that a new category of formal funeral be created, so that, as mother to the presumed future king, Prince William, she could be given a formal royal funeral.
Marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles married Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles on April 9th 2005, in a largely private affair for family and friends, at a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor, followed by a service of prayer and dedication, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Since the marriage Mrs. Parker Bowles has been known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. She will use the title HRH The Princess Consort when Prince Charles becomes King.
The Prince’s Charities
“The Prince’s Charities” is group of 20 not-for-profit organizations, which have Prince Charles as their President. Prince Charles personally founded 18 of the 20 charities.
“The Prince’s Charities” is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising more than £120 million annually. The areas of activity of the organizations reflects Prince Charles’ interests: opportunity and enterprise, education, health, the built environment, responsible business, and the natural environment.
The Prince’s Trust
The most well known of The Prince’s Charities is The Prince’s Trust, which addresses the needs of the one in five young people in the UK who are not in work, education, or training.
The Trust addresses these needs by giving practical and financial support to the young people who need it most, developing key skills, confidence, and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education, or training.
Highgrove House is the country home of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The house was purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1980. It is situated at Doughton, Gloucestershire, about six miles (10 km) south of Gatcombe Park, Princess Anne’s family home.
Official Residence and Contact Address
Prince Charles’s Official Residence is Clarence House, which is situated within the environs of St. James’s Palace in London. Clarence House was previously occupied by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
Prince Charles’s official contact address is:
Clarence House, London SW1A 1BA
- The British Monarchy
- Prince Charles