King Charles III, the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, has succeeded his mother as the new King of the United Kingdom following her death on September 8, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II was UK's longest-serving monarch and served for 70 long years. At the time of her death, she was 96 and was residing at her Scottish estate at Balmoral. Leaders from all around the world have been mourning her death and sending condolences to the family.
King Charles III was born at the Buckingham Palace in 1945 and has received a fair bit of media attention throughout his life. He has served in the Royal Navy and Royal Airforce for a significant part of his life. Before Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris, his marriage to her was also at the center of media attention for quite some time.
Five key things about King Charles III
1) First heir to earn a university degree
Like his father, King Charles III attended the Cheam and Gordonstoun schools. This is unusual for a royal heir as the members of the royal family are generally tutored at the palace home rather than at school. Charles went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cambridge, making him the first heir to earn a degree.
Charles also spent a term at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he studied the Welsh language and Welsh history. Subsequently, he was christened the Prince of Wales by Queen Elizabeth II. The subjects he explored during his years at university include history, anthropology, and archeology, among others.
2) He is a trained pilot
King Charles III served in the Royal Navy and the Royal Airforce for five years between 1971 and 1976. His father had also undertaken this, and Charles was carrying the family tradition forward. During his years at the airforce, he was trained to be a pilot. Charles went on to serve for the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk.
Further, he joined an air squadron operating from HMS Hermes. Before leaving the Royal Navy in 1976, Charles commanded HMS Bronington, the coastal minehunter. The money he earned during his days in the navy was used to set up The Prince's Trust charity later on.
3) His marriage with Princess Diana was somewhat troubled
Princess Diana and Charles' relationship and subsequent marriage were subject to significant scrutiny and attention from the media. Diana and Charles married each other in July 1981 after numerous rumors. They had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry, whose birth was also largely covered by the media as Charles became the first heir to be present at the birth of their children.
A few years later, however, Charles was accused of being involved in an extra-marital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana opened up about Charles' affair in Diana, Her True Story, a book by Andrew Morton. The 13-year age gap between Charles and Diana was another factor that led to scrutiny from the media. In 1992, the couple announced their official separation.
4) He has a biography named Prince of Wales
Jonathan Dimbleby wrote a biography of King Charles III, and it is named Prince of Wales. Most of it was written from Charles's perspective, as the information source was mostly candid conversations with the Prince of Wales. Dimbleby further interacted with his secretaries and everyone closely associated with Charles to get insights into his life.
The book also explores the social work that Charles was involved with and the kind of vision he had as a man born to be King. Although a tricky subject, considering the kind of constant media attention Charles receives, the Prince of Wales tries to capture an intimate portrait of King Charles III.
5) He is the oldest heir to be proclaimed King
King Charles III was declared King on September 8, 2022, at 73. He is the oldest person to assume the British throne. Charles was also the only heir to have seen his mother become the Queen and served as the heir until Queen Elizabeth's death.
As he has gained a lifetime of experience with the royal family and has had his fair bit of media attention, King Charles III is expected to be curating his image as the King in the coming weeks.
As the world continues to mourn the demise of Queen Elizabeth II, the next few days will be crucial for his position as the successor to the British throne.
King Charles III's coronation is expected to take place at Westminster Abbey. Charles will be the 40th successor to be crowned at that venue.