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Charles, Prince of Wales

The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, making him heir apparent, equally and separately, to the thrones of 16 independent states, though he is resident in and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, the oldest realm. He is also heir to the positions of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Duke of Normandy, Lord of Mann, and Paramount Chief of Fiji, though he will not necessarily become Head of the Commonwealth. Since 1958, Charles has held the title Prince of Wales in all parts of the United Kingdom save for Scotland, where he is titled as Duke of Rothesay; he may also be referred to as the Duke of Cornwall.

Though the Prince has been well known for his charity work throughout the Commonwealth, his personal life and relationships were always a point of tabloid focus, ramping up with his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer, and dissipating with his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, with some of the publicly revealed indiscretions leading to calls for Charles to be overstepped in the line of succession in favour of his eldest son, William, as well as causing the relationship between Charles and the media to sour. Regardless, Charles continues to carry out a full schedule of royal duties, and is increasingly taking on more charges from his parents as official representative of the Queen and deputy for his father.

Early life

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, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the Prince's godparents were his maternal grandfather; his maternal-line great-grandmother, Queen Mary; his maternal aunt, Princess Margaret; his paternal-line great-grandmother, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven; his maternal-line great-uncle, David Bowes-Lyon; his father's cousin, Lady Brabourne; his grandfather's cousin, King Haakon VII of Norway (for whom the Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone stood proxy); and his paternal-line great-uncle, Prince George (for whom Prince Philip stood proxy). 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 the children and grandchildren in the male-line 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 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 not thought necessary for the children of the King's other daughter.

By the time Charles was four years old, his mother assumed the throne as Queen Elizabeth II, thereby immediately making him the heir apparent to the then seven countries over which the new queen reigned, and elevating him to the position of Duke of Cornwall (by a charter of King Edward III that gave said title to the sovereign's eldest son), and, in the Scottish peerage, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Though he moved to first in line to the thrones, in the United Kingdom order of precedence he is third, after his parents, and is typically fourth or fifth in other realms' precedence orders, following his mother, the relevant vice-regal representative(s), and his father. He attended his mother's coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953, sitting with his grandmother and aunt. As with royal children before him, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed to look after the Prince and was responsible for educating him between the ages of 5 and 8. In a break with tradition, though, Buckingham Palace announced in 1955 that Charles would attend school, rather than have a private tutor, making him the first heir apparent to ever be educated in that manner.

Youth

Education

Charles first attended Hill House School in West London; then the Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England, which his father had also attended; and was finally moved to Gordonstoun, in the north-east of Scotland. It was reported that the Prince despised his time at the latter school, having been a frequent target for bullies "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, Victoria, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a history trip with his tutor, Michael Collins Persse. Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles followed in his father's footsteps in becoming Head Boy, and left in 1967 with two A Levels in History and French.

Tradition was broken again when Charles went straight from secondary school into university, as opposed to joining the military. On the recommendation of Robin Woods, Dean of Windsor, and despite only gaining grades of B and C in his A Levels, the Prince was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read anthropology, archaeology, and history, earning a lower second class Bachelor of Arts on 23 June 1970, making him the third member of the Royal Family to earn a university degree. On 2 August 1975, he was subsequently awarded a Master of Arts Degree from Cambridge, per the university's tradition. During his time at post-secondary school, Charles also attended the Old College (part of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth), where he studied the Welsh language and Welsh history, also making him the first Prince of Wales born outside of Wales to ever attempt to learn the language of the principality.

Created Prince of Wales

Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, though his investiture as such was not conducted until 1 July 1969, wherein he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernafon Castle, and gave his replies and speech in both Welsh and English. The following year he took his seat in the House of Lords, and later in the decade became the first member of the Royal Family since King George I to attend a British Cabinet meeting, having been invited by Prime Minister James Callaghan so that the Prince might see the workings of the British government and Cabinet first hand. Charles also began to take on more public duties, founding his The Prince's Trust in 1976, and travelling to the United States in 1981. Around that same time, the Prince expressed an interest in serving as Governor-General of Australia; Commander Michael Parker explained: "The idea behind the appointment was for him to put a foot on the ladder of monarchy, or being the future King and start learning the trade." However, because of a combination of nationalist feeling in Australia and the dismissal of the government by the Governor-General in 1975, nothing came of the proposal. Charles accepted the decision of his mother's Australian ministers, if not without some regret; he reportedly stated: "What are you supposed to think when you are prepared to do something to help and you are told you are not wanted? Conversely, Tom Gallagher wrote that Charles had been offered the Romanian throne by monarchists in that country; an offer that was reportedly turned down.

The Prince is presently the oldest man to hold the title of Prince of Wales since it became one that is granted to the heir apparent, as well as the oldest heir apparent in Commonwealth realms' history, the third longest serving heir apparent, and the third longest serving Prince of Wales in British history, in each of the latter cases behind Edward VII and George IV. If he ascends to the throne after 18 September 2013, Charles would be the eldest successor to do so; only William IV was older when he became monarch of the United Kingdom than Charles is now, having asceeded at 64 years and 299 days of age in 1830.

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 missle destroyer (1971-1972), the (1972-1973), and the (1974). Charles also qualified as a helicopter pilot at RNAS Yeovilton in 1974, just prior to joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, operating from the Commando carrier , and on 9 February 1976, the Prince took command of the coastal minehunter for his last nine months in the navy. In total, Prince Charles was 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.

Early romances

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 Georgina Russell, daughter of the British Ambassador to Spain; Lady Jane Wellesley, daughter of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington; Davina Sheffield; Fiona Watson, a Penthouse model; Susan George; Lady Sarah Spencer; Princess Marie Astrid; Dale, Baroness Tryon, wife of Anthony Tryon, Baron Tryon; Janet Jenkins; and Jane Ward. Irrespective of the truth of the romantic rumours, the hurdles of marriage made some of these matches manifestly implausible; as the heir apparent to the Commonwealth realms' thrones, Charles was expected to father future monarchs. Also, like other members of the Royal Family, he was legally obliged to obtain his mother's approval under the Royal Marriages Act before he could marry, and his choice would have to survive the immense popular interest any marriage proposal would immediately arouse.

Charles was given written advice on dating and the selection of a future consort from his father's Uncle Dickie, Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma: "In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitable, attractive, and sweet-charactered girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for... It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage. Mountbatten had a unique qualification for offering advice to this particular heir to the throne: he had invited George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and their daughters to visit Dartmouth Royal Naval College on 22 July 1939, having also detailed Cadet Prince Philip to keep the young Princesses company, creating the first documented meeting of Charles' future parents.

In early 1974, Mountbatten began corresponding with Elizabeth and Philip's eldest son about a potential marriage to Mountbatten's granddaughter, The Honourable Amanda Knatchbull, and recommended that the 25 year old prince get done with his bachelor's experimentation. Charles duitifully wrote to Knatchbull's mother (who was one of his godparents), about his interest in her daughter, to which the Countess replied approvingly, though suggesting that a courtship was premature. This did not daunt Mountbatten, who, four years later, obtained an invitation for himself and Knatchbull to accompany Charles on his 1980 tour of India, despite the objection of both fathers, Philip complaining that the Prince of Wales would be eclipsed by his famous uncle (who had served as the last British Viceroy and first Governor-General of India), while John Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne, warned that a joint visit would rivet media attention on the cousins before they could decide on becoming a couple, thereby potentially dashing the very prospect for which Mountbatten hoped. However, before Charles was to depart for India, Mountbatten was assassinated in August 1979. When Charles returned, he proposed to Knatchbull (who had been with her grandfather when he, her paternal grandmother, and her youngest brother, were killed), but she recoiled from the prospect of becoming a core member of the Royal Family.

First marriage

Although Charles first met Lady Diana 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 has 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, and she accompanied the Prince on visits to Balmoral and Sandringham, eliciting enthusiastic responses from most of the Royal Family. Norton Knatchbull, Baron Brabourne (eldest brother of Amanda) and his wife, Penny, both offered Charles counsel on the matter of the relationship, but angered him with their objections that he did not seem in love with Diana and that she seemed too awestruck by his position, and the couple continued dating amid press speculation and paparazzi coverage. Charles eventually realised that Diana met the criteria that Mountbatten had earlier offered him, and, when Prince Philip warned his son that the media would injure his reputation if he did not soon come to a decision about marrying Diana, Charles construed this as a warning to proceed without further delay.

Engagement and wedding to Diana

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 required 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 woldwide 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 king and personal friend of Charles, Constantine II, had been described on the invitations 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).

The couple made their homes at Highgrove, near Tetbury, and Kensington Palace. Almost immediately, the new Princess of Wales became a star attraction, chased by the paparazzi, and her every move followed by millions through the mass media. This only increased when Charles and Diana had their first child, Prince William, in 1982, and then Prince Henry in 1984.

Separation and divorce

The union between the Prince and Princess of Wales soon became troubled; despite their similarities, such as their mutual devotion to charity work Diana focusing on AIDS sufferers, while Charles devoted his efforts to marginalised groups in urban centres 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 the Charles who spoke publicly, if anonymously, against Diana alleged that she was unstable and tempermental; one by one, she apparently dismissed each of Charles' longstanding staff members and fell out with numerous 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. The Princess sought counsel outside of the generally acceptable sources of advice, to the chagrin of the palace, and in response to the succor sought by the Prince, 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.

Diana was later killed in a car crash in Paris, along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul, on 31 August 1997. The Prince of Wales over-ruled the palace protocol experts who argued that as Diana was no longer a member of the Royal Family, the responsibility for her funeral arrangements belonged to her blood relatives, the Spencers and flew to Paris, with Diana's sisters, to accompany his ex-wife's body home. He also insisted that she be given a formal royal funeral; a new category of formal funeral was especially created for her.

Second marriage

In 1993, the British tabloids came into the possession of recordings of a 1989 mobile 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. In a television interview the following year, Charles admitted that he had committed adultery "once it was clear the marriage had broken down," and said in the same interview that his father had approved of the taking of a mistress. This assertion, however, was vehemently denied by the Duke of Edinburgh, and the implication of condoned adultery caused a significant rift between father and son. When it was later confirmed that it had been Camilla Parker-Bowles with whom Charles was having an affair, her husband, Andrew, imediately demanded a divorce from his wife and thereafter remained silent on the subject of his wife's ongoing affair with the Prince.

Charles attempted to make his relationship with Parker-Bowles more public and accepted, having her become his unofficial, occasional companion at events. This coming out temporarily ceased at the time of the Princess of Wales' death, but Charles and Parker-Bowles were photographed in public together in 1999, following a birthday party for Parker-Bowles' sister, Annabel Elliott; this was regarded as a sign that the relationship was now official, a feeling that was further enhanced when Parker-Bowles met the Queen in June 2000. Parker-Bowles moved into Charles' household in 2003, resulting in decorative changes to both homes, though Buckingham Palace was explicit in pointing out that public funds had not been used for the renovations. Marriage between the Prince of Wales and Parker-Bowles remained elusive, however: As the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the prospect of Charles marrying a divorceé, and one with whom he had conducted an illicit relationship, was seen as controversial. Opinion of both the public and the church shifted, though, to a point where civil marriage was seen as an agreeable solution.

Engagement and wedding to Camilla

Clarence House announced on 10 February 2005 that Charles and Parker-Bowles were engaged; the Prince presented Parker-Bowles with an engagement ring that had belonged to his grandmother. The marriage was to have been on 8 April of that year, and was to take place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle, with a subsequent religious blessing at St George's Chapel. But, because the conduct of a civil marriage at Windsor Castle would oblige the venue to thereafter be available to anyone wishing to be married there, the location was changed to the Windsor Guildhall. On 4 April it was announced that the marriage would be delayed by one day to allow for the Prince of Wales and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Charles' parents did not attend the marriage ceremony; the Queen's reluctance to attend arising from her position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did, however, attend service of blessing, and held a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle, afterwards. The wedding made Charles the first member of the Royal Family to be civilly wed in England; there were claims that such a marriage was illegal, though these were denounced by both Clarence House and the sitting government.

Personal interests

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.

The built environment

The Prince of Wales has frequently shared his views on architecture and urban planning in public forums, claiming to "care deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life." He is known to be an advocate of neo-traditional ideas, such as those of Christopher Alexander and Leon Krier, which were illustrated in his 1984 attack on the British artchitectural community in a speech given to the Royal Institute of British Architects, describing a proposed extention to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle". Charles also published a book and created a documentary entitled A Vision for Britain, which critiqued some aspects of modern architecture. Despite criticism from the professional architectural press, the Prince has continued to put forward his views, stressing traditional urbanism, the need for human scale, and the restoration of historic buildings as an integrated element of new development and sustainable design. Two of the Charles' charities in particular forward his theories on design: The Prince's Regeneration Trust (formed by a merger of Regeneration Through Heritage and the Pheonix Trust in 2006) and The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment (which absorbed The Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture in 2001). Further, the village of Poundbury was created at the instigation of Prince Charles, with a master plan by Krier.

Charles assisted with the establishment of a National Trust for the built environment in Canada, after lamenting, in 1996, the unbridled destruction of many of the counrty's historic urban cores. He offered his assistance to the Department of Canadian Heritage in the creation of a trust modelled on the British variant, and, with the passing of the 2007 federal budget by his mother's representative in Canada, a Canadian national trust was finally fully implelemented. In 1999, the Prince also agreed to offer the use of his title to the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership, awarded by the Heritage Canada Foundation to municipal governments that have shown sustained commitment to the conservation of historic places. Charles has also been the recipient of awards for his efforts in regard to architecture, such as the National Building Museum's Vincent Scully Prize he received in 2005, while visiting the United States and touring southern Mississippi and New Orleans to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina; he donated $25,000 of the prize money to help restore communities damaged by the storm.

Starting in 1997, the Prince of Wales also visited Romania to view and draw attention to some of the destruction caused during the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu, particularly Orthodox monastaries and Saxon villages of Transylvania, where he purchased a house. Charles also became patron of two Romanian built environment organisations: the Mihai Eminescu Trust and the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture, and Urbanism), an advocate of architecture that respects cultural tradition and identity.

The natural environment

Since the early 1980s, Charles has taken a keen interest in environmental issues, taking a leadership role in promoting environmentally sensitive thinking. Upon his moving into his Highgrove estate, he became increasingly focused on organic farming, an attention that culminated in the 1990 launch of his own organic brand: Duchy Originals, which now sells more than 200 different sustainably produced products, from food to garden furniture, the profits from which (£6 million, as of 2008) are donated to The Prince's Charities. Documenting this work on his estate, Charles co-authored (with Charles Clover, environment editor of the Daily Telegraph) Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, published in 1993, and offers his patronage to Garden Organic. Along similar lines, the Prince of Wales became involved with farming and various industries within it, regularly meeting with farmers to discuss their trade; though the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic in the UK prevented Charles from visiting farmers in Saskatchewan, organic farmers there came to meet him at the Assiniboia town hall. In 2004, he also founded the Mutton Renaissance Campaign, which aims to support British sheep farmers and make mutton more attractive to Britons. His organic farming efforts, however, attracted media criticism: According to The Independent in October, 2006 "...the story of Duchy Originals has involved compromises and ethical blips, wedded to a determined merchandising programme. and, in February 2007, Duchy products themselves came under attack, with the tabloid Daily Mail claiming that the food was "unhealthier than Big Macs.

An announcement was made by Clarence House in December 2006 that the Prince of Wales would make his household's travel arrangements more eco-friendly, and, in 2007, Charles published in his annual accounts the details of his own carbon footprint, as well as targets for reducing his household's carbon emissions. That same year, he received the 10th annual Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, the director of which, Eric Chivian, stated: "For decades The Prince of Wales has been a champion of the natural world... He has been a world leader in efforts to improve energy efficiency and in reducing the discharge of toxic substances on land, and into the air and the oceans". However, Charles' travel by commercial airliner to the United States to attend the award ceremony drew criticism from some environmental activists, such as the Plane climate change action group's campaigner Joss Garman, who said: "It is frustrating and disappointing that someone who styles himself as a green leader and should be leading an example, behaves in such a manner when everyone else is doing their best to cut emissions."

Philosophies and religious beliefs

Sir Laurens van der Post became a friend of Charles in 1977, a relationship that lasted until van der Post's death in 1996, and 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 East 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. As such, Charles has also been known to have interest in alternative medicine, which drew fire from the medical establishment. In 2004, doctors spoke out against Charles' endorsement of coffee enemas as a treatment for cancer, and, in April 2008, The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst, a professor of Complementary Medicine, that asked Charles and his Foundation for Integrated Health to recall two guides promoting "alternative medicine", saying: "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous.

Orthodox Christianity is also a subject with which the Prince of Wales has involved himself, travelling each year to Mount Athos to spend time in the Orthodox monasteries there, as well as in Romania. Along with his father, who was born and raised as Greek Orthodox, Charles is patron of The Friends of Mount Athos, as well as the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies.

Humanitarian issues

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've 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, and inner-city school in Regina.

After spending time in the Northwest Territories in 1975, Charles formed a special interest in the Canadian north, as well as Canada's Aboriginal Peoples, the leaders of which he met and sometimes took time to walk and meditate with. Reflecting this association, the Prince of Wales has been conferred with special titles from First Nations communities: in 1996, Cree and Ojibway students in Winnipeg named the Prince Leading Star, and in 2001 he was dubbed Pisimwa Kamiwohkitahpamikohk, or "the sun looks at him in a good way", during his first visit to the province of Saskatchewan. He was also one of the first world leaders to express strong concerns about the human rights record of Nicolae Ceauşescu, initiating objections in the international arena, and subsequently supported the FARA Foundation, which runs Romanian orphanages.

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 it, such as the League Against Cruel Sports, which lauched 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.

Charles has also pursued the visual arts, focusing on watercolour, and exhibiting and selling a number of his paintings, as well as publishing books on the subject. In university he dabbled in acting, appearing in amateur productions of a comedic nature, an enjoyment of which continued later into the Prince's life, as evidenced by his organising of a comedy gala to celebrate his 60th birthday. He also has an interest in illusionism, becoming a member of The Magic Circle after passing his audition by performing the cups and balls effect. The Prince acts today as partron of a number of theatres, acting troops, and ochestral ensembles, such as the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is reportedly a fan of Canadian singer and song writer Leonard Cohen. He is also a collector of automobiles, particularly the British margue Aston Martin, having acquired numerous models and such tight connections with the brand being a frequent visitor to the factory and its service department, and a guest of honour at most of the company's special launch events that special Prince of Wales edition Aston Martins have been created on occasion.

Official duties

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.

Both Charles amd the Duchess of Cornwall travel abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom. The Prince has been regarded as an effective advocate of the country, with his visit to the Republic of Ireland, where he delivered a personally researched and written speech on Anglo-Irish affairs that was warmly received by Irish politicians and the media, being cited as an example. His service to the Canadian Armed Forces permits him to be informed of troop activities, and allows him to visit these troops while in Canada or overseas, taking part in ceremonial occasions. For instance, in 2001, the Prince placed a specially commissioned wreath, made from vegetation taken from French battlefields, at the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and in 1981 he became the patron of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

Prince Charles makes regular tours of Wales, going there for a week of engagements each summer, attending important national occasions, such as opening the Senedd. In 2000, Charles revived the tradition of the Prince of Wales having an official harpist, in order to foster Welsh talent at playing the harp, the national instrument of Wales. He and the Duchess of Cornwall also spend one week each year in Scotland, where the Prince is patron of a number of Scottish organisations.

Media

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 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 Spencer, the attention increased, though predominantly towards the 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.

In their quest to gain ever more stories on the Prince of Wales, the media breached Charles' privacy on a number of occasions. In 2006, the Prince filed a court case against the Mail on Sunday, after exerpts of his personal journals were published, revealing his opinions on matters, such as the takeover of Hong Kong by the People's Republic of China in 1997, in which Charles described the Chinese government officials as "appaling old waxworks." Others have used their past connections with the Prince to profit from the media, such as when an ex-member of Charles' household took to the press an internal memo in which Charles commented on ambition and opportunity, and which was widely interpreted as blaming meritocracy for creating a combative atmosphere in society. In retort, Charles stated: "In my view, it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor, and the memo was cited in Lynne Truss' critique of British manners, Talk to the Hand, as a valid observation on how the positive motivational impact of meritocracy might be balanced against the negative impact of a competitive society.

Overall, Charles developed a dislike for the popular press, which was accidentally revealed when his comments to his son, William, during a press photo-call in 2005 was caught on a nearby microphone: "I hate doing this... These bloody people, and about the BBC's royal reporter, Nicholas Witchell, in particular: "I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is. The Prince of Wales, though, remained friendly with produced entertainment media, appearing as himself on the UK soap opera Coronation Street as part of the show's 40th anniversary in 2000, and on the New Zealand adult cartoon series bro'Town, after attending a performance from the show's creators during a tour of the country. Charles has also conintued to give interviews, such as that which was conducted by Ant and Dec for the 30th anniversary of The Prince's Trust in 2006, and he read his children's book, The Old Man of Lochnagar, on the BBC's Jackanory programme.

Residences

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, and one in Scotland, the Birkhall estate near Balmoral Castle and also previously owned by the Queen Mother.

In 2007, the Prince purchased a 192 acre (150 acres of grazing and parkland, and 40 acres of woodland) property in Carmarthenshire, and applied for permission to convert the farm into a Welsh home for he 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 is pending while a report is drafted on how the alterations would affect the local bat population.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 14 November 1948 6 February 1952: His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Edinburgh
  • 6 February 1952 26 July 1958: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall
  • Since 6 February 1952 (for Scotland): His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay
  • Since 26 July 1958: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

The Prince's style and title in full: His Royal Highness The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Great Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Honorary Member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Chief Grand Commander of the Order of Logohu, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

In Canada, the Inuit gave Prince Charles the distinctive title Attaniout Ikeneego, meaning "The Son of the Big Boss, serving as a reasonable equivalent to the term heir apparent in the Inuktitut language of Nunavut. The Cree and Ojibway in Winnipeg named Prince Charles Leading Star. From 2000 to 2001, Charles was entitled to be called His Grace The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Regnal name

If Prince Charles succeeds his mother as monarch and uses his first given name as his regnal name, he would be known as Charles III. However, there has been speculation that he may choose a different name, due to negative associations with the name Charles in royal history (Charles I having been beheaded in 1649, and Charles II having spent 18 years in exile). Charles III is also partially associated with the Jacobite pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, an enduring Scottish romantic figure who claimed the throne under that name in the 18th century. The most discussed alternative regnal name has been George VII, in honour of Charles' grandfather, although the Prince has denied this as a possibility.

Honours and military positions

On his 58th birthday, the Prince of Wales was appointed by his mother as a General in the British Army, an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and an Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Air Force. His 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 regiments throughout the Commonwealth.

Charles has also been the recipient of a number of honours and awards from varous countries around the world, whether from his own or foreign. 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.

Arms

Issue

Name Birth Marriage Issue
Prince William of Wales 21 June 1982 N/A N/A NA
Prince Henry of Wales 15 September 1984 N/A N/A NA

Ancestry

Through his father's line, his patrilineal descent, Charles is descended from the House of Oldenburg/Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. It should be noted, however, that absent any future decrees to the contrary Charles will reign as a member of the House of Windsor per Letters Patent issued by his mother.

See also

Notes

References

  • Dimbleby, Jonathan (1994). The Prince of Wales: A Biography. New York: William Morrow and Company.
  • Paget, Gerald. (1977). The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2 vols). Edinburgh: Charles Skilton.

External links

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