Charles became king upon
his mother's death on 8 September 2022. At the age of 73, he became the oldest person to accede to the British throne, after having been the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales in British history.
His coronation took place at
Westminster Abbey on 6 May 2023.
When Charles turned five, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed to oversee his education at Buckingham Palace. Charles then commenced classes at
Hill House School in west London on 7 November 1956. He was the first heir apparent to attend school, rather than be educated by a private tutor. He did not receive preferential treatment from the school's founder and headmaster,
Stuart Townend, who advised the Queen to have Charles train in
football, because the boys were never deferential to anyone on the football field. Charles subsequently attended two of his father's former schools:
Cheam School in Hampshire, from 1958, followed by
Gordonstoun, in the north-east of Scotland, beginning classes there in April 1962.
In his 1994 authorised biography by
Jonathan Dimbleby, Charles's parents were described as physically and emotionally distant and Philip was blamed for his disregard of Charles's sensitive nature, including forcing him to attend Gordonstoun, where he was bullied. Though Charles reportedly described Gordonstoun, noted for its especially rigorous curriculum, as "
kilts", he later praised the school, stating it had taught him "a great deal about myself and my own abilities and disabilities". He said in a 1975 interview he was "glad" he had attended Gordonstoun and that the "toughness of the place" was "much exaggerated". In 1966, Charles spent two terms at the
Timbertop campus of
Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a school trip with his history tutor, Michael Collins Persse. In 1973, Charles described his time at Timbertop as the most enjoyable part of his whole education. Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles emulated his father in becoming
head boy and left in 1967, with six
GCE O-levels and two
A-levels in history and French, at grades B and C respectively. On his education, Charles later remarked, "I didn't enjoy school as much as I might have; but, that was only because I'm happier at home than anywhere else".
Charles began to take on more public duties, founding
the Prince's Trust in 1976 and travelling to the United States in 1981. In the mid-1970s, Charles expressed an interest in serving as
governor-general of Australia, at the suggestion of Australian prime minister
Malcolm Fraser; however, because of a lack of public enthusiasm, nothing came of the proposal. In reaction, Charles commented, "so, what are you supposed to think when you are prepared to do something to help and you are just told you're not wanted?"
Lord Mountbatten advised him to "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". Early in 1974, Mountbatten began corresponding with 25-year-old Charles about a potential marriage to
Amanda Knatchbull, Mountbatten's granddaughter. Charles wrote to Amanda's mother,
Lady Brabourne, who was also his godmother, expressing interest in her daughter. Lady Brabourne replied approvingly; though, she suggested that a courtship with a 16-year-old was premature. Four years later, Mountbatten arranged for Amanda and himself to accompany Charles on his 1980 visit to India. Both fathers, however, objected; Prince Philip feared that his famous uncle[note 6] would eclipse Charles, while
Lord Brabourne warned that a joint visit would concentrate media attention on the cousins before they could decide on becoming a couple.
Charles first met
Lady Diana Spencer in 1977, while he was visiting her home,
Althorp. He was then the companion of her elder sister Sarah and did not consider Diana romantically until mid-1980. While Charles and Diana were sitting together on a bale of hay at a friend's barbecue in July, she mentioned that he had looked forlorn and in need of care at the funeral of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten. Soon, according to Dimbleby, "without any apparent surge in feeling, he began to think seriously of her as a potential bride" and she accompanied Charles on visits to
Balmoral Castle and
Norton Knatchbull and his wife told Charles that Diana appeared awestruck by his position and that he did not seem to be in love with her. Meanwhile, the couple's continuing courtship attracted intense attention from the press and paparazzi. When Philip told him that the media speculation would injure Diana's reputation if Charles did not come to a decision about marrying her soon, and realising that she was a suitable royal bride (according to Mountbatten's criteria), Charles construed his father's advice as a warning to proceed without further delay. He proposed to Diana in February 1981, with their engagement becoming official on 24 February; the wedding took place in
St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July. Upon his marriage, Charles reduced his voluntary tax contribution from the profits of the Duchy of Cornwall from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. The couple lived at
Kensington Palace and
Highgrove House, near
Tetbury, and had two children:
William, in 1982, and
Harry, in 1984.
Within five years, the marriage was in trouble due to the couple's incompatibility and near 13-year age difference. By November 1986, Charles had fully resumed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. In a videotape recorded by
Peter Settelen in 1992, Diana admitted that she had been "deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment." It was assumed that she was referring to
Barry Mannakee, who had been transferred to the Diplomatic Protection Squad in 1986, after his managers determined his relationship with Diana had been inappropriate. Diana later commenced a relationship with Major
James Hewitt, the family's former riding instructor.
Charles and Diana's evident discomfort in each other's company led to them being dubbed "
The Glums" by the press. Diana exposed Charles's affair with Parker Bowles in a book by Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story. Audio tapes of
her own extramarital flirtations also surfaced, as did persistent suggestions that Hewitt is Prince Harry's father, based on a physical similarity between Hewitt and Harry. However, Harry had already been born by the time Diana's affair with Hewitt began.
In December 1992,
John Major announced the couple's legal separation in the
House of Commons. Early the following year, the British press published transcripts of a passionate, bugged telephone conversation between Charles and Parker Bowles that had taken place in 1989, which was dubbed "
Camillagate" and "Tampongate". Charles subsequently sought public understanding in a television film with Dimbleby, Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role, broadcast on 29 June 1994. In an interview in the film, Charles confirmed his own extramarital affair with Parker Bowles, saying that he had rekindled their association in 1986, only after his marriage to Diana had "irretrievably broken down". This was followed by Diana's own admission of marital troubles in
an interview on the
BBC current affairs show Panorama, broadcast on 20 November 1995. Referring to Charles's relationship with Parker Bowles, she said, "well, there were three of us in this marriage. So, it was a bit crowded." She also expressed doubt about her husband's suitability for kingship. Charles and Diana divorced on 28 August 1996, after being advised by the Queen in December 1995 to end the marriage. The couple shared custody of their children.
killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. Charles flew to Paris with Diana's sisters to accompany her body back to Britain. In 2003, Diana's butler
Paul Burrell published a note that he claimed had been written by Diana in 1995, in which there were allegations that Charles was "planning 'an accident' in [Diana's] car, brake failure and serious head injury", so that he could marry again. When questioned by the
Metropolitan Police inquiry team as a part of
Operation Paget, Charles told the authorities that he did not know about his former wife's note from 1995 and could not understand why she had those feelings.
Charles was the only member of the royal family to have a
civil, rather than a church, wedding in England. British government documents from the 1950s and 1960s, published by the BBC, stated that such a marriage was illegal; these claims were dismissed by Charles's spokesman and explained by the sitting government to have been repealed by the Registration Service Act 1953.
The union was scheduled to take place in a civil ceremony at
Windsor Castle, with a subsequent religious blessing at the castle's
St George's Chapel. The wedding venue was changed to
Windsor Guildhall after it was realised a civil marriage at Windsor Castle would oblige the venue to be available to anyone who wished to be married there. Four days before the event, it was postponed from the originally scheduled date of 8 April until the following day in order to allow Charles and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the
funeral of Pope John Paul II.
In 1965, Charles undertook his first public engagement by attending a student garden party at the
Palace of Holyroodhouse. During his time as Prince of Wales, he undertook official duties on behalf of the Queen, completing 10,934 engagements between 2002 and 2022. He officiated at
investitures and attended the funerals of foreign dignitaries. Charles made regular tours of Wales, fulfilling a week of engagements each summer, and attending important national occasions, such as opening the
Senedd. The six trustees of the
Royal Collection Trust met three times a year under his chairmanship. Charles also represented his mother at the independence celebrations in Fiji in 1970, the Bahamas in 1973, Papua New Guinea in 1975, Zimbabwe in 1980, and Brunei in 1984.
Christopher John Lewis, who had fired a shot with a
.22 rifle at the Queen in 1981, attempted to escape a psychiatric hospital in order to assassinate Charles, who was visiting New Zealand with Diana and William. While Charles was visiting Australia on
Australia Day in January 1994,
David Kang fired two shots at him from a
starting pistol in protest of the treatment of several hundred Cambodian asylum seekers held in detention camps. In 1995, Charles became the first member of the royal family to visit the Republic of Ireland in an official capacity. In 1997, Charles represented the Queen at the
Hong Kong handover ceremony.
At the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Charles caused controversy when he shook hands with the
president of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe, who had been seated next to him. Charles's office subsequently released a statement saying that he could not avoid shaking Mugabe's hand and that he "finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent".
Charles and Camilla made their first joint trip to the Republic of Ireland in May 2015. The trip was called an important step in "promoting peace and reconciliation" by the British Embassy. During the trip, Charles shook hands in
Gerry Adams, leader of
Sinn Féin and widely believed to be the leader of the
IRA, the militant group that had assassinated Lord Mountbatten in 1979. The event was described by the media as a "historic handshake" and a "significant moment for
Commonwealth heads of government decided at their
2018 meeting that Charles would be the next Head of the Commonwealth after the Queen. The head is chosen and therefore not hereditary. In March 2019, at the request of the British government, Charles and Camilla went on an official tour of Cuba, making them the first British royals to visit the country. The tour was seen as an effort to form a closer relationship between Cuba and the United Kingdom.
COVID-19 during the
pandemic in March 2020. Several newspapers were critical that Charles and Camilla were tested promptly at a time when many
NHS doctors, nurses and patients had been unable to be tested expeditiously. He tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time in February 2022. He and Camilla, who also tested positive, had received doses of a
COVID-19 vaccine in February 2021.
Charles acceded to the British throne on
his mother's death on 8 September 2022. He was the longest-serving British heir apparent, having surpassed Edward VII's record of 59 years on 20 April 2011. When he became monarch at the age of 73, Charles was the oldest person to do so, the previous record holder being
William IV, who was 64 when he became king in 1830.
Charles gave his first speech to the nation at 6 pm on 9 September, in which he paid tribute to his mother and announced the appointment of his elder son, William, as Prince of Wales. The following day, the
Accession Council publicly proclaimed Charles as king, the ceremony being televised for the first time. Attendees included the new
queen consort, Camilla; William, Prince of Wales; and the prime minister,
Liz Truss, along with her six living predecessors. The proclamation was also read out by local authorities around the United Kingdom. Other realms signed and read their own proclamations, as did Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland,
British Overseas Territories,
Canadian provinces, and
Charles and Camilla have engaged in two state visits and received one in return. In November 2022 they hosted the South African president,
Cyril Ramaphosa, during the first official state visit to Britain of Charles's reign. In March the following year, the King and Queen embarked on a state visit to Germany; Charles became the first British monarch to address the
Bundestag. Similarly, in September, he became the first British monarch to give a speech from France's Senate chamber during
his state visit to the country.
Philanthropy and charity
Since founding the Prince's Trust in 1976, using his £7,500 of
severance pay from the Navy, Charles has established 16 more charitable organisations and now serves as president of each. Together, they form a loose alliance,
the Prince's Charities, which describes itself as "the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100 million annually ... [and is] active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise, and international". As Prince of Wales, Charles became
patron or president of over 800 other charities and organisations.
Charles has supported humanitarian projects; for example, he and his sons took part in ceremonies that marked the 1998
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Charles was one of the first public figures to express strong concerns about the human rights record of the Romanian dictator
Nicolae Ceaușescu, initiating objections in the international arena, and subsequently supported the FARA Foundation, a charity for Romanian orphans and abandoned children.
Two of Charles's charities,
the Prince's Foundation and
the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund, came under scrutiny in 2021 and 2022 for accepting donations the media deemed inappropriate. In August 2021, it was announced that the Prince's Foundation was launching an investigation into the reports, with Charles's support. The
Charity Commission also launched an investigation into allegations that the donations meant for the Prince's Foundation had been instead sent to the Mahfouz Foundation. In February 2022, the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into the cash-for-honours allegations linked to the foundation, passing their evidence to the
Crown Prosecution Service for deliberation on 31 October. In August 2023, the Metropolitan Police announced that they had concluded their investigations and no further actions would be taken.
The Times reported in June 2022 that, between 2011 and 2015, Charles accepted €3 million in cash from Qatari prime minister
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. There was no evidence that the payments were illegal or that it was not intended for the money to go to the charity, although, the Charity Commission stated it would review the information and announced in July 2022 that there would be no further investigation. In the same month, The Times reported that the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund received a donation of £1 million from
Bakr bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden – both half-brothers of
Osama bin Laden – during a private meeting in 2013. The Charity Commission described the decision to accept donations as a "matter for trustees" and added that no investigation was required.
Letters sent by Charles to government ministers in 2004 and 2005 expressing his concerns over various policy issues – the so-called
black spider memos – presented potential embarrassment following a challenge by The Guardian newspaper to release the letters under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. In March 2015, the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom decided that Charles's letters must be released and the letters were published by the
Cabinet Office on 13 May. The reaction was largely supportive of Charles, with little criticism of him; the press variously described the memos as "underwhelming" and "harmless", and concluded that their release had "backfired on those who seek to belittle him". It was revealed in the same year that Charles had access to confidential Cabinet papers.
In October 2020, a letter sent by Charles to Australian governor-general
John Kerr, after
Kerr's dismissal of Prime Minister
Gough Whitlam in 1975, was released as part of the collection of
palace letters regarding the Australian constitutional crisis. In the letter, Charles was supportive of Kerr's decision, writing that what Kerr "did last year was right and the courageous thing to do".
The Times reported in June 2022 that Charles had privately described the British government's
Rwanda asylum plan as "appalling" and he feared that it would overshadow the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda that same month. It was later claimed that Cabinet ministers had warned Charles to avoid making political comments, as they feared a constitutional crisis could arise if he continued to make such statements once he became king.
Charles has openly expressed his views on architecture and
urban planning; he fostered the advancement of
New Classical architecture and asserted that he "care[s] deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life." In a speech given for the 150th anniversary of the
Royal Institute of British Architects on 30 May 1984, he described a proposed extension to the
National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend" and deplored the "glass stumps and concrete towers" of modern architecture. Charles called for local community involvement in architectural choices and asked, "why has everything got to be vertical, straight, unbending, only at right angles – and functional?" Charles has "a deep understanding of
Islamic art and
architecture" and has been involved in the construction of a building and garden at the
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which combine Islamic and Oxford architectural styles.
In Charles's 1989 book A Vision of Britain, and in speeches and essays, he has been critical of modern architecture, arguing that traditional designs and methods should guide contemporary ones. He has continued to campaign for traditional urbanism, human scale, restoration of historic buildings, and sustainable design despite criticism in the press. Two of his charities –
the Prince's Regeneration Trust and
the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, which were later merged into one charity – promote his views. The village of
Poundbury was built on land owned by the
Duchy of Cornwall to a master plan by
Léon Krier, under the guidance of Charles and in line with his philosophy. In 2013, developments for the suburb of
Nansledan began on the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall with Charles's endorsement. Charles helped purchase
Dumfries House and its complete collection of 18th century furnishings in 2007, taking a £20m loan from his charitable trust to contribute toward the £45m cost. The house and gardens remain property of the Prince's Foundation and serve as a museum and community and skills training centre. This led to the development of
Knockroon, called the "Scottish Poundbury".
Since the 1970s, Charles has promoted environmental awareness. At the age of 21, he delivered his first speech on
environmental issues in his capacity as the chairman of the Welsh Countryside Committee. An avid gardener, Charles has also emphasised the importance of
talking to plants, stating that "I happily talk to the plants and trees, and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial". His interest in gardening began in 1980 when he took over the Highgrove estate. His "healing garden", based on sacred geometry and ancient religious symbolism, went on display at the
Chelsea Flower Show in 2002.
Upon moving into Highgrove House, Charles developed an interest in
organic farming, which culminated in the 1990 launch of his own organic brand,
Duchy Originals, which sells more than 200 different sustainably produced products; the profits (over £6 million by 2010) are donated to the Prince's Charities. Charles became involved with farming and various industries within it, regularly meeting with farmers to discuss their trade. A prominent critic of the practice, Charles has also spoken against the use of
GM crops, and in a letter to Tony Blair in 1998, Charles criticised the development of genetically modified foods.
The Sustainable Markets Initiative – a project that encourages putting
sustainability at the centre of all activities – was launched by Charles at the
World Economic Forum's annual meeting in
Davos in January 2020. In May of the same year, the initiative and the World Economic Forum initiated the
Great Reset project, a five-point plan concerned with enhancing sustainable economic growth following the global recession caused by the
As early as 1985, Charles was questioning meat consumption. In the 1985 Royal Special television programme, he told host
Alastair Burnet that "I actually now don't eat as much meat as I used to. I eat more fish." He also pointed out the societal double standard whereby eating meat is not questioned but eating less meat means "all hell seems to break loose." In 2021, Charles spoke to the BBC about the environment and revealed that, two days per week, he eats no meat nor fish and, one day per week, he eats no dairy products. In 2022, it was reported that Charles eats a breakfast of fruit salad, seeds, and tea. He does not eat lunch, but takes a break for tea at 5:00 p.m. and eats dinner at 8:30 p.m., returning to work until midnight or after. Ahead of
Christmas dinner in 2022, Charles confirmed to animal rights group
foie gras would not be served at any royal residences; he had stopped the use of foie gras at his own properties for more than a decade before taking the throne. During a September 2023 state banquet at the
Palace of Versailles, it was reported that Charles did not want foie gras or out-of-season asparagus on the menu. Instead he was served lobster. Charles does not like chocolate, coffee, or garlic.
chrism oil used at his coronation was vegan, made from oils of olive, sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, and benzoin, along with amber and orange blossom. His mother's chrism oil contained animal-based oils.
Charles delivered a speech at the
2021 G20 Rome summit, describing
COP26 as "the last chance saloon" for preventing climate change and asking for actions that would lead to a green-led, sustainable economy. In his speech at the opening ceremony for COP26, he repeated his sentiments from the previous year, stating that "a vast military-style campaign" was needed "to marshal the strength of the global private sector" for tackling climate change.
Charles's Duchy Originals produced a variety of complementary medicinal products, including a "Detox Tincture" that Ernst denounced as "financially exploiting the vulnerable" and "outright
quackery". Charles personally wrote at least seven letters to the
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency shortly before it relaxed the rules governing labelling of such herbal products, a move that was widely condemned by scientists and medical bodies. It was reported in October 2009 that Charles had lobbied the health secretary,
Andy Burnham, regarding greater provision of alternative treatments in the NHS.
Following accounting irregularities, the FIH announced its closure in April 2010. The FIH was re-branded and re-launched later in the year as the
College of Medicine, of which Charles became a patron in 2019.
Charles has been a keen salmon angler since youth and supported
Orri Vigfússon's efforts to protect the North Atlantic salmon. He frequently fishes the
River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and claims his most special angling memories are from his time spent in
Vopnafjörður, Iceland. Charles is a supporter of
Apart from hunting, Charles has also participated in target rifle competitions, representing the House of Lords in the Vizianagram Match (Lords vs. Commons) at
Bisley. He became President of the British
National Rifle Association in 1977.
Charles is a keen
watercolourist, having published books on the subject and exhibited and sold a number of his works to raise money for charity; in 2016, it was estimated that he had sold lithographs of his watercolours for a total of £2 million from a shop at his Highgrove House residence. For his 50th birthday, 50 of his watercolours were exhibited at
Hampton Court Palace and, for his 70th birthday, his works were exhibited at the
National Gallery of Australia. In 2001, 20
lithographs of his watercolour paintings illustrating his country estates were exhibited at the
Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art and 79 of his paintings were put on display in London in 2022. To mark the 25th anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1994, the
Royal Mail issued a series of postage stamps that featured his paintings. Charles is Honorary President of the
Royal Academy of Arts Development Trust and, in 2015, 2022, and 2023, commissioned paintings of 12
D-Day veterans, seven
Holocaust survivors, and ten members of the
Windrush generation, respectively, which went on display at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace.
Charles is the author of several books and has contributed a
preface to numerous books by others. He has also written, presented, or been featured in a variety of documentary films.
Religion and philosophy
Shortly after his accession to the throne, Charles publicly described himself as "a committed Anglican Christian"; at age 16, during Easter 1965, he had been
confirmed into the Anglican communion by Archbishop of Canterbury
Michael Ramsey in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The King is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and a member of the
Church of Scotland; he swore an oath to uphold that church immediately after he was proclaimed king. He attends services at various Anglican churches close to Highgrove and attends the Church of Scotland's
Crathie Kirk with the rest of the royal family when staying at Balmoral Castle.
In his 1994 documentary with Dimbleby, Charles said that, when king, he wished to be seen as a "defender of faith", rather than the British monarch's traditional title of Defender of the Faith, "preferr[ing] to embrace all religious traditions and 'the pattern of the divine, which I think is in all of us.'" This attracted controversy at the time, as well as speculation that the coronation oath might be altered. He stated in 2015 that he would retain the title of Defender of the Faith, whilst "ensuring that other people's faiths can also be practised", which he sees as a duty of the Church of England. Charles reaffirmed this theme shortly after his accession and declared that his duties as sovereign included "the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practice through the religions, cultures, traditions, and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals." His inclusive, multi-faith approach and his own Christian beliefs were expressed in his first
Christmas message as king.
Since his birth, Charles has received close media attention, which increased as he matured. It has been an ambivalent relationship, largely impacted by his marriages to Diana and Camilla and their aftermath, but also centred on his future conduct as king.
Described as the "
world's most eligible bachelor" in the late 1970s, Charles was subsequently overshadowed by Diana. After her death, the media regularly breached Charles's privacy and printed exposés. Known for expressing his opinions, when asked during an interview to mark his 70th birthday whether this would continue in the same way once he is king, he responded "No. It won't. I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So, of course, you know, I understand entirely how that should operate".
A 2018 BMG Research poll found that 46 per cent of Britons wanted Charles to abdicate immediately on his mother's death, in favour of William. However, a 2021 opinion poll reported that 60 per cent of the British public had a favourable opinion of him. On his accession to the throne, The Statesman reported an opinion poll that put Charles's popularity with the British people at 42 per cent. More recent polling suggested that his popularity increased sharply after he became king. According to
YouGov, as of April 2023, Charles had an approval rating of 55 per cent.
Reaction to press treatment
In 1994, German tabloid Bild published nude photos of Charles that were taken while he was vacationing in
Le Barroux; they had reportedly been put up for sale for £30,000. Buckingham Palace reacted by stating that it was "unjustifiable for anybody to suffer this sort of intrusion".
Charles, "so often a target of the press, got his chance to return fire" in 2002, when addressing "scores of editors, publishers, and other media executives" gathered at
St Bride's Fleet Street to celebrate 300 years of journalism.[note 7] Defending public servants from "the corrosive drip of constant criticism", he noted that the press had been "awkward, cantankerous, cynical, bloody-minded, at times intrusive, at times inaccurate, and at times deeply unfair and harmful to individuals and to institutions." But, he concluded, regarding his own relations with the press, "from time to time we are probably both a bit hard on each other, exaggerating the downsides and ignoring the good points in each."
The Independent noted in 2015 that Charles would only speak to broadcasters "on the condition they have signed a 15-page contract, demanding that
Clarence House attends both the 'rough cut' and 'fine cut' edits of films and, if it is unhappy with the final product, can 'remove the contribution in its entirety from the programme'." This contract stipulated that all questions directed at Charles must be pre-approved and
vetted by his representatives.
In 2023, The Guardian estimated Charles's personal wealth at
£1.8 billion. This estimate includes the assets of the
Duchy of Lancaster worth £653 million (and paying Charles an annual income of £20 million), jewels worth £533 million, real estate worth £330 million, shares and investments worth £142 million,
a stamp collection worth at least £100 million, racehorses worth £27 million, artworks worth £24 million, and cars worth £6.3 million. Most of this wealth which Charles inherited from his mother is exempt from inheritance tax.
Clarence House, previously the residence of the Queen Mother, was Charles's official London residence from 2003, after being renovated at a cost of £4.5 million. He previously shared apartments eight and nine at Kensington Palace with Diana before moving to
York House at St James's Palace, which remained his principal residence until 2003. Highgrove House in Gloucestershire is owned by the
Duchy of Cornwall, having been purchased for Charles's use in 1980, and which he rented for £336,000 per annum. Since William became the Duke of Cornwall, Charles is expected to pay £700,000 per annum for use of the property. Charles also owns a property near the village of
Viscri in Romania.
As Prince of Wales, Charles's primary source of income was generated from the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns 133,658 acres of land (around 54,090 hectares), including farming, residential, and commercial properties, as well as an investment portfolio. Since 1993, Charles has paid tax voluntarily under the Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, updated in 2013.Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs were asked in December 2012 to investigate alleged tax avoidance by the Duchy of Cornwall. The Duchy is named in the
Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to
offshore investment that were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Charles has held many titles and honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, is sovereign of many orders in his own countries and has received honours and awards from around the world. In each of his realms, he has a distinct title that follows a similar formula: King of Saint Lucia and of His other Realms and Territories in
Saint Lucia, King of Australia and His other Realms and Territories in Australia, etc. In the
Isle of Man, which is a
Crown Dependency rather than a separate realm, he is known as
Lord of Mann. Charles is also styled Defender of the Faith.
There had been speculation throughout Elizabeth II's reign as to what
regnal name Charles would choose upon his accession; instead of Charles III, he could have chosen to reign as George VII or used one of his other given names. It was reported that he might use George in honour of his grandfather George VI and to avoid associations with previous controversial kings named Charles.[note 8] Charles's office asserted in 2005 that no decision had yet been made. Speculation continued for a few hours following his mother's death, until Liz Truss announced and Clarence House confirmed that Charles would use the regnal name Charles III.
As Prince of Wales, Charles's coat of arms was based on the arms of the United Kingdom, differenced with a white label and an
inescutcheon of the Principality of Wales, surmounted by the heir apparent's crown, and with the motto Ich dien (German:[ɪçˈdiːn], "I serve") instead of Dieu et mon droit.
When Charles became king, he inherited the royal coats of arms of the United Kingdom and of Canada. The design of his royal cypher, featuring a depiction of the
Tudor crown instead of
St Edward's Crown, was revealed on 27 September 2022. According to the
College of Arms, the Tudor crown will now be used in representations of the royal arms of the United Kingdom and on uniforms and crown badges.
Coat of arms as Prince of Wales (1958–2022)
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom for use in Scotland
The banners used by Charles as Prince of Wales varied depending upon location. His personal standard for the United Kingdom was the
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom differenced as in his arms, with a label of three points argent and the escutcheon of the arms of the Principality of Wales in the centre. It was used outside Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, and Canada, and throughout the entire United Kingdom when Charles was acting in an official capacity associated with the British Armed Forces.
The personal flag for use in Wales was based upon the
Royal Badge of Wales. In Scotland, the personal banner used between 1974 and 2022 was based upon three ancient Scottish titles: Duke of Rothesay (heir apparent to the
King of Scots),
High Steward of Scotland, and Lord of the Isles. In Cornwall, the banner was the arms of the Duke of Cornwall.
The royal standard of the United Kingdom is used to represent the King in the United Kingdom and on official visits overseas, except in Canada. It is the royal arms in banner form undifferentiated, having been used by successive British monarchs since 1702. The royal standard of Canada is used by the King in Canada and while acting on behalf of Canada overseas. It is the escutcheon of the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada in banner form undifferentiated.
^"Prince Charles dined with Bin Laden's brother". The Guardian. 13 October 2001.
Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 30 July 2022. The Prince of Wales had dinner with a brother of Osama bin Laden two weeks after the September 11th attacks, St James' Palace said today.
abBurrell, Ian (2 December 2015).
"The 15-page contract that reveals how Charles tries to control the media". The Independent (UK).
Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022. The Independent has learnt that the Prince of Wales will only speak to broadcasters on the condition they have signed a 15-page contract, demanding that Clarence House attends both the "rough cut" and "fine cut" edits of films and, if it is unhappy with the final product, can "remove the contribution in its entirety from the programme".
^White, Michael (27 December 2005).
"Charles denies planning to reign as King George". The Guardian.
Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2012. Clarence House yesterday issued a pained denial of claims that the Prince of Wales has held private discussions with "trusted friends" about the possibility of reigning as George VII rather than risk the negative connotations attached to the name King Charles.
^"The Prince of Wales". Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges. Office of the Governor General of Canada: Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
1 Not a British prince by birth, but created
Prince Consort. 2 Not a British prince by birth, but created a Prince of the United Kingdom. Princes whose titles were removed and eligible people who do not use the title are shown in italics.