Childhood & Early Life
He was born Charles Philip Arthur George on 14 November 1948, to Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His maternal grandfather, King George VI, was the king of the United Kingdom and the dominions in the British Commonwealth. Princess Elizabeth was King George VI’s eldest daughter.
King George VI died in 1952 and his daughter Princess Elizabeth became the queen. Prince Charles, aged three, became the heir apparent to the throne. His new status made him the Duke of Cornwall and he was also automatically given the Scottish titles ‘Duke of Rothesay,’ ‘Earl of Carrick,’ ‘Baron of Renfrew,’ ‘Lord of the Isles,’ and ‘Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.’
He started attending ‘Hill House School’ in West London in 1956, before moving to boarding school at the ‘Cheam School’ the following year. Charles then attended ‘Cheam Preparatory School’ in Berkshire, England. He changed schools again in 1962 and went to ‘Gordonstoun’ in Scotland. In 1966, he spent two terms at the ‘Timbertop’ campus of ‘Geelong Grammar School’ in Victoria, Australia.
He enrolled at the ‘Trinity College,’ Cambridge, to study anthropology, archaeology, and history in 1967. He attended the ‘University College of Wales’ in Aberystwyth for a while during his second year.
Prince Charles became the first heir apparent to earn a university degree when he graduated from ‘Cambridge’ with a Bachelor of Arts in 1970.
Prince Charles began his military career in the ‘Armed Services’ in 1971. He received his ‘Royal Air Force’ training and was awarded his ‘RAF’ wings at Cranwell in 1971.
He then embarked on a naval career and enrolled for a six-week course at the ‘Royal Naval College Dartmouth’ in September 1971. Over the next few years, he served aboard warships, such as the guided missile destroyer ‘HMS Norfolk’ (1971–1972), the frigate ‘HMS Minerva’ (1972–1973), and ‘HMS Jupiter’ (1974).
After he completed a lieutenant’s course at the ‘Royal Naval College,’ Greenwich, he went on to command his own ship, the minehunter ‘HMS Bronington’ for the final ten months of his active service in the ‘Royal Navy.’ His active service ended in December 1976.
In 1976, Prince Charles, along with Frederick John Pervin, founded the ‘Prince's Trust’ to help vulnerable young people. The trust runs a number of training programs, provides mentoring support, and offers financial grants to build the confidence and motivation of vulnerable young people. Over the years, Charles has established 16 other charitable organizations.
He founded the ‘Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund’ in 1979. It is one of the largest independent foundations in the UK. It supports a wide range of causes with areas of interest in ‘responsible business and enterprise,’ ‘young people and education,’ and ‘global sustainability.’ The foundation has three subsidiary companies, ‘PCF Social Enterprises Ltd’ – a holding company for ‘A. G. Carrick Ltd’ and ‘Duchy Originals Ltd,’ ‘Prince's Charities Events Ltd,’ and ‘Golden Jubilee Events Ltd.’
In addition to his own charities, Prince Charles is a patron of over 350 other charities and organizations. He supports humanitarian projects all over the world, leading to the establishment of the ‘Prince's Charities Canada’ and the ‘Prince Charities Australia.’
Charles has made frequent visits to Saudi Arabia in order to promote arms exports for companies, such as ‘BAE Systems.’
He announced that he had opened a new bed and breakfast called ‘The Granary Lodge’ in Caithness, Scotland. The B&B was built on the grounds of ‘The Castle of Mey,’ the former retreat of Charles' grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
The heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations decided during their 2018 meeting, that the Prince of Wales would be the next Head of the Commonwealth after the Queen.
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Personal Life & Legacy
As a young man, Prince Charles had been romantically involved with several women. He met Diana Spencer in 1977 and the couple became romantically involved in 1980; their courtship culminated in marriage in 1981. The couple had two sons, William and Henry.
The marriage, however, ran into trouble as the couple was incompatible on several grounds. Charles was still in contact with a former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, which further strained the relations between Charles and Diana. The couple got separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Diana was killed in an unfortunate car accident in 1997.
Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles on April 9, 2005.
Before marrying Princess Diana, Prince Charles had dated her sister.