King Charles III: The Workaholic Prince Became Britain's New Monarch

Illustrated by Jeannette Khouri

During a historic ceremony at St James's Palace in London, King Charles III was formally installed as the monarch of the United Kingdom last Saturday.  Following a period of mourning for the late queen, the British flags were raised again in celebration of the new king and the accession ceremony was broadcast on television for the first time.

It was a magnificent ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism, culminating with David White, the Garter Principal King of Arms, pronouncing King Charles III as monarch from a balcony at the palace, a ritual which is a relic from centuries past.

Charles has eagerly awaited his accession to the throne for decades, a period punctuated by scandals, troubles, divorce, and disappointments, but it was also a sufficient period during which the prince polished his culture, developed his relationships with other countries, strengthened his charitable work, and married again against all odds to Camilla Parker Bowles.

The eighth of September 2022 marks the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream for Prince Charles, who ascended the throne automatically following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles III is the first child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Charles, 73, was born in 1948 at Buckingham Palace in London. He was only three years old when his mother ascended to the throne as queen following the death of her father, King George VI.

Charles went to school instead of receiving tutoring at the family's palace home. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge in 1970, making him the first heir apparent to do so. He later received a Master of Arts degree from Cambridge.

After spending a term at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, where he learned Welsh, Elizabeth created her eldest son the Prince of Wales, among other royal titles, in 1969. Two years later, Charles was elected to the House of Lords, the United Kingdom's upper house of parliament. Following in his father's footsteps, Charles spent the next few years serving in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

In 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, who became the Princess of Wales. William and Harry, the couple's two sons, are second and sixth in line to the throne, respectively.

"Prince of Wales," by Jonathan Dimbleby, a biography authorized by Charles in 1994, revealed that he felt pressured by his father to marry Diana and that he was never in love with her. Charles began an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in 1986, according to the book. They had met several years before at a polo match.

According to the royal family's official website, Charles and Diana agreed to divorce in late 1992, and their marriage was dissolved about four years later.

In 2007, he launched the "Mosaic" initiative, which provides mentoring programs to young people growing up in underserved communities. In addition, in 2010, he launched the "Campaign for Wool" to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of wool and to expand the market for British sheep farmers struggling to make ends meet.

Charles also took part in various sports including horse racing, sailing and scuba diving. According to a biography on the prince's official website, he raised money for charity by playing polo until late 2004, when he decided to retire from the game after more than 40 years of participation.

Charles enjoys painting in his spare time. Lithographs of his artwork are available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund. He also enjoys gardening and hedge-laying, particularly in his organic garden at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, near Tetbury.

Nature and the conservation of the environment have been his major concerns. Charles has driven electric vehicles and, like his mother, has advanced the planting of trees. He has supported huge financial prizes for mechanical and logical breakthroughs that can diminish carbon outflows and the impact of climate change. Moreover, when he was the Prince of Wales, his Trust ran an organic farm and his products are easily accessible in British shops. 

The new king is also well-known for his generosity to youth charities. His Trust charity, which was founded in the midst of an unemployment crisis, provides skills training to thousands of young British people.

Charles has publicly expressed his views on architecture and urban planning.  He has promoted New Classical Architecture and stated that he "care[s] deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life." On the 150th  anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 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 decried modern architecture's "glass stumps and concrete towers.”

Since 2009, Charles has held the second-highest ranks in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces.  On 16 June 2012, the Queen appointed him Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, "to acknowledge his support in her role as Commander-in-Chief."

He has received seven orders and eight decorations from the Commonwealth realms, as well as 20 different honors from foreign states and nine honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

King Charles III will inherit a kingdom that is going through a difficult economic and social stage, while nationalist tendencies escalate and calls for independence intensify. Will he be able to handle all of these challenges?


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