|Info||The Prince of Wales, eldest son of The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm on November 14, 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. It was announced later that the baby Prince weighed 7lb 6oz. |
On December 15, 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 February 6, 1952. On The Queen's accession to the throne, Prince Charles - as the Sovereign's eldest son - became at the age of three heir apparent.
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 June 2, 1953. Many who watched the Coronation had 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, rather than follow tradition and have a tutor at the Palace, their son should go to school to mix with children from non-royal backgrounds. Accordingly, on November 7, 1956, he started at Hill House school in west London.
After ten months, the young Prince became a boarder at Cheam School, the preparatory school in Berkshire. It was while His Royal Highness was away at Cheam, in 1958, that The Queen created him The Prince of Wales, and at the same time Earl of Chester, at the age of nine.
In April 1962, The Prince began his first term at Gordonstoun, the school near Elgin in eastern Scotland which Prince Philip 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, took his 'A' levels in July 1967, the first heir to the throne to take such examinations. He was awarded a grade B in history and a C in French, together with a distinction in an optional special history paper.
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 second class degree.
While at Cambridge, The Prince took part in college drama society revues and a Joe Orton black comedy.
On July 1, 1969 The Queen invested him as Prince of Wales in a colourful ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. In preparation for the Investiture The Prince had spent a term at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, learning to speak Welsh.
On February 11, 1970, His Royal Highness took his seat in the House of Lords.
On March 8, 1971, The Prince of Wales flew himself to Royal Air Force 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 of Wales 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 February 9, 1976, The Prince took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last nine months in the Navy.
Over these years, The Prince was developing a wide range of interests, including social and community issues, young people, the arts, the built and natural environment, national heritage, religion and medicine. These interests are reflected in the list of around 200 organisations of which he has since become patron or president.
The Prince of Wales's interest in young people and the under-privileged led to the foundation in 1976 of The Prince's Trust, which has helped over 200,000 disadvantaged young people to find jobs or fulfil ambitions for themselves and their communities. In 1985 The Prince became President of Business in the Community, which supports economic and social regeneration through increased involvement of companies and their employees in their local communities.
The Prince's concerns about developments in fields such as architecture, the inner cities, education, religion, health and farming have been elaborated over many years in a large number of speeches and articles.
On July 29, 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral. The Princess was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House on The Queen's estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, and lived there until the death of her grandfather, the seventh earl, in 1975, 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 who was born on June 21, 1982, and Prince Harry was born on September 15, 1984.
From the time of their marriage, The Prince and Princess of Wales went on overseas tours and carried out many engagements within Britain together.
On December 9, 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 August 28, 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.
When The Princess was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, 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.
In recent years, the young Princes - who are second and third in line to the throne - accompanied The Prince of Wales on a limited number of official engagements.
In November, 1997, Prince Harry accompanied his father on an official visit to South Africa where he met President Nelson Mandela and attended a charity concert featuring the Spice Girls (Prince William was at school at the time). Both Prince William and Prince Harry were with their father in Canada in March 1998, when the young Princes were warmly received by the crowds.
On January 2, 2000, Prince William and Prince Harry accompanied The Prince of Wales on a visit to Cardiff. They heard rap music and dance as well as hymns and readings in Welsh and English at the Tabernacl and joined 60,000 people for a special edition of the BBC's Songs of Praise at the Millennium Stadium.