Discover King Charles III and the moments that shaped him: his age and childhood, his marriages, his career in the navy


After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her eldest son, Charles Philip Arthur George, became the oldest king to assume the British throne.

Let’s take a look at some pivotal moments that shaped his rise to the throne.

How old is Charles?

Charles is 73 years old.

He was born at Buckingham Palace on November 14, 1948.

Charles was the first child of the parents of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip and the Queen hold six-month-old Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, 1949. (Facebook. The Royal family )

After the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952, Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne at the age of 25.

As the sovereign’s eldest son, Prince Charles became heir at the age of three.

Charles attended school rather than having a private tutor

At the time, it was customary for children of the upper class to be appointed a governess – a private guardian – responsible for early education.

Charles was home-schooled by Catherine Peebles at Buckingham Palace until he was eight years old.

Then his parents made the decision to deviate from tradition.

Unlike predecessors educated by private tutors, Buckingham Palace announced in 1955 that Charles would attend school, making him the first heir apparent to be educated in this way.

Prince Charles holding a suitcase and wearing a charcoal colored suit and school tie
Prince Charles pictured on his arrival at London Airport from Glasgow on July 30, 1963, at the end of the Gordonstoun School summer semester.(PA: Victor Boynton)

The Prince of Wales website says Charles began his education at Hill House School in west London in 1956.

He then attended two of his father’s former schools.

The first was the Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England, from 1958.

The second was the Gordonstoun School in the northeast of Scotland, in 1962.

Prince Philip laughs with his son, Prince Charles, as they both walk down the tarmac.
Prince Philip dropped Prince Charles off at the airport as he prepared to fly to Australia’s Timbertop School near Mangalore.(PA)

He went on exchange to Australia, studied archeology, anthropology

Charles spent two terms in 1966 as an exchange student at Timbertop, a remote outpost of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne.

In 1967, he attended Trinity College, University of Cambridge, where he studied archeology and anthropology.

He turned to history for the second part of his degree.

In 1970, Charles became the first member of the British royal family to graduate from university.

He graduated with a 2.2 – second class lower honours.

Prince Charles kneels before his mother Queen Eizabeth II during the investiture ceremony at Caernafon Castle.
Prince Charles kneels before his mother Queen Eizabeth II during the investiture ceremony at Caernafon Castle, 1969. (PA)

A year before graduating from Cambridge, Charles was invested as Prince of Wales by the Queen in 1969 in a colorful ceremony at Caernarfon Castle.

He served in the Royal Navy for seven years

A year after completing university, Charles followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfathers by embarking on a career in the Royal Navy.

Charles spent the years 1971 to 1976 in uniform, training as a Royal Air Force pilot.

He served on the frigate HMS Jupiter as part of his Pacific voyage, having completed a condensed training course – just six weeks instead of the usual three months at the Royal Naval College.

Charles graduated as a helicopter pilot in 1974 before joining 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the Commando aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

A black and white photo of Prince Charles on a training flight from Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton in 1972.
Prince Charles on a training flight from Yeovilton Royal Navy Air Station in 1972.(PA)

He ended his military career as commanding officer of HMS Bronington, a minesweeper, in 1976.

His marriage to Diana fell apart in front of the press

Charles met Diana Spencer in 1977.

She was only 16 at the time and he was 29.

The Spencers were one of the oldest families in England and their lines had long been linked to the royal family.

As Charles neared his 31st birthday, the pressure mounted on him to find a suitable wife.

The couple married on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a ceremony televised around the world.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
Prince Charles and Princess Diana stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London.(Reuters)

Charles and Diana had two children, Prince William, born in 1982, and Prince Harry, born in 1984.

Their public fairytale crumbled within a few years, with Charles admitting adultery to a TV interviewer in 1994.

The woman at the center of the scandal was Camilla Parker Bowles.

Charles’ relationship with Camilla began before he joined the Navy, but the romance soured and she married her longtime boyfriend, Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, in 1973.

Charles and Camilla sit next to each other listening to a speech by Queen Elizabeth II.
Camilla won over a large part of the British public.(PA: Carl Court)

The couple divorced in 1995, shortly after Charles gave an explosive TV interview admitting to an affair with Camilla.

Princess Diana referenced Camilla in a controversial 1995 interview with the BBC when she said: “Well there were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.”

Charles and Diana divorced the following year.

Charles and Camilla married in 2005, making her queen consort

In April 2005, Charles married Camilla in a private ceremony at Windsor’s Guildhall.

Over the decades, Camilla has won over much of the British public with her discretion and loyalty to her second husband.

Camilla will officially be known as Queen Consort now that her husband Charles is King.

For years it was believed she would become the Princess Consort, which would have been a first in British history.

But in February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II gave her support for her son’s wife to adopt the title of queen consort.

ABC with AP

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