King Charles III
The Prince of Wales
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 08 September 2022 at the age of 96, Prince Charles ascended to the British throne as King Charles III.
The Prince of Wales, eldest son of The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm on 14th November 1948. A proclamation was posted on the Palace railings just before midnight, announcing that Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth had been safely delivered of a son. On 15th December, Charles Philip Arthur George was christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher.
The Prince's mother was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died aged 56 on 6th February 1952. On The Queen's accession to the throne, Prince Charles - as the Sovereign's eldest son - became heir apparent at the age of three. The Prince, as Heir to The Throne, took on the traditional titles of The Duke of Cornwall under a charter of King Edward III in 1337; and, in the Scottish peerage, of Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
The Prince was four at his mother's Coronation, in Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953. Many who watched the Coronation have vivid memories of him seated between his widowed grandmother, now to be known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and his aunt, Princess Margaret. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided that The Prince should go to school rather than have a tutor at the Palace. The Prince started at Hill House school in West London on 7th November 1956.
After 10 months, the young Prince became a boarder at Cheam School, a preparatory school in Berkshire. In 1958 while The Prince was at Cheam, The Queen created him The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. The Prince was nine-years-old.
In April 1962 The Prince began his first term at Gordonstoun, a school near Elgin in Eastern Scotland which The Duke of Edinburgh had attended. The Prince of Wales spent two terms in 1966 as an exchange student at Timbertop, a remote outpost of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia.
When he returned to Gordonstoun for his final year, The Prince of Wales was appointed school guardian (head boy). The Prince, who had already passed six O Levels, also took A Levels and was awarded a grade B in history and a C in French, together with a distinction in an optional special history paper in July 1967.
The Prince went to Cambridge University in 1967 to read archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College. He changed to history for the second part of his degree, and in 1970 was awarded a 2:2 degree.
He was invested as Prince of Wales by The Queen on 1st July 1969 in a colourful ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. Before the investiture The Prince had spent a term at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, learning to speak Welsh. On 11th February 1970, His Royal Highness took his seat in the House of Lords.
On 8th March 1971 The Prince flew himself to Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in Lincolnshire, to train as a jet pilot. At his own request, The Prince had received flying instruction from the RAF during his second year at Cambridge. In September 1971 after the passing out parade at Cranwell, The Prince embarked on a naval career, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and both his great-grandfathers.
The six-week course at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, was followed by service on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and two frigates. The Prince qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974 before joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the Commando carrier HMS Hermes. On 9th February 1976, The Prince took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last nine months in the Navy.
On 29th July 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral who became HRH The Princess of Wales. The Princess was born on 1st July 1961, at Park House on The Queen's estate at Sandringham, Norfolk. She lived there until the death in 1975 of her grandfather, the 7th Earl, when the family moved to the Spencer family seat at Althorp House in Northamptonshire.
Lady Diana's father, then Viscount Althorp and later the eighth Earl Spencer, had been an equerry to both George VI and The Queen. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a close friend and lady in waiting to The Queen Mother. The Prince and Princess of Wales had two sons: Prince William, born on 21st June 1982; and Prince Harry, born on 15th September 1984.
From the time of their marriage, The Prince and Princess of Wales went on overseas tours and carried out many engagements together in the UK. Diana's marriage to Prince Charles was troubled from the start. The crisis in their marriage culminated with media confessions of adultery, which eventually resulted in a legal separation followed by a divorce.
On 9th December 1992, The Prime Minister, John Major, announced to the House of Commons that The Prince and Princess of Wales had agreed to separate. The marriage was dissolved on 28th August, 1996. The Princess was still regarded as a member of the Royal Family. She continued to live at Kensington Palace and to carry out her public work for a number of charities.
The split was perceived as being acrimonious with Princess Diana being deprived of the title, "Her Royal Highness." In addition there were reported differences between Charles and Diana concerning how the two royal princes should be raised.
Princess Diana died in an automobile crash in Sportcentral Paris, onAugust 31, 1997. It has been alleged that on the evening of Diana's car crash, around 30photographers had gathered outside the Ritz Hotel in Paris, where she was meeting her friend,Dodi Fayed. The Princess died when her car crashed into a wall, while it was followed byso-called paparazzi, photographers hoping to snatch pictures of famous people, on motorbikes. Her death generated media attention across the globe.
After Diana's death her brother, Earl Charles Spencer, accused journalists of having her "blood on their hands." The behavior of the press which some viewed as causing Diana's death also came under close scrutiny. Tabloid newspaper editors were banned from covering the funeral following objections from Lord Spencer. According to press accounts, he apparently said that he and his sisters - and specifically Diana - would not want them to be there.
Diana's death had a profound effect on the royal family. In the week before the funeral, the monarchy was widely criticized for being too distant from the British public at such an important time. Diana had been stripped of the H.R.H. designation after her divorce from Prince Charles. Many in the public found it petty then and after her death it was seen as yet anotherproof of her ill-treatment by the Royal Family. The House of Windsor's relationship with the British public suffered after its perceived silence in the days following Diana's death. The silence was seen as a snub against a princess the people loved and mourned. Buckingham Palace also had to deny a report that Prince Charles fought fiercely with his mother to ensure that Diana wasgiven a fitting public funeral.
On the day of her funeral, a millionpeople lined the streets of London to watch the gun carriage carry Diana's body from her homeat Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service.
Faced with growing demands to restore Diana's royal title Her Royal Highness, Buckingham Palace revealed that the Queen had made that offer, but was rebuffed by Diana's family, the Spencers. The Palace said that following the funeral, the Queen offered to restore the honor, but was told the Spencers felt Diana wouldn't have wanted it. British constitutional historian Lord Blake told the BBC such a move would have been without precedent.
The Prince of Wales flew to Paris with her two sisters to bring her body back to London. The Princess lay in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace until the night before the funeral. On the day of the funeral, The Prince of Wales accompanied his two sons, aged 15 and 12 at the time, as they walked behind the coffin from The Mall to Westminster Abbey. With them were The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess's brother, Earl Spencer.
The Prince of Wales asked the media to respect his sons' privacy, to allow them to lead a normal school life. In the following years, Princes William and Harry, who are second and fourth in line to the throne, accompanied their father on a limited number of official engagements in the UK and abroad.
On 9th April 2005, The Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles were married in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor. After the wedding, Mrs Parker Bowles became known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were joined by around 800 guests at a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The Service was followed by a reception at Windsor Castle hosted by Her Majesty The Queen. It is intended that The Duchess of Cornwall should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.
The Duchess supports The Prince of Wales in his work. Through the years, His Royal Highness developed a wide range of interests which are today reflected in The Prince's Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is Patron or President. The group is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100million annually. The organisations are active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international.
The charities reflect The Prince of Wales's long-term and innovative perspective, and seek to address areas of previously unmet need. These interests are also reflected in the list of more than 400 organisations of which His Royal Highness is Patron or President. The Prince's interest in fields such as the built environment, global sustainability, youth opportunity, education and faith have been elaborated over many years in a large number of speeches and articles.
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