The Life of HRH The Prince of Wales

As our future King celebrates his 70th birthday, we take a look back at his life and work so far.

Her Majesty The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, with her newborn son, Prince Charles (1948) by Cecil BeatonClarence House

A Prince is born

On 14th November 1948, The Queen - then Princess Elizabeth - and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, celebrated the birth of their first child. Charles Philip Arthur George was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm, weighing 7lb and 6oz.

A Prince Is Born (1948)Clarence House

A proclamation was posted on the Palace railings just before midnight, announcing that Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth had given birth to a son.

The Christening of Prince Charles, 15th December 1948. by Unknown PersonRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Christening

The young Prince Charles was christened on 15th December in The Music Room at Buckingham Palace, by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher.

Cecil Beaton photographs Prince Charles (1948)Clarence House

The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and Prince Charles (1950)Clarence House

Childhood at Clarence House

For the first few years of his life, Prince Charles lived at Clarence House with his parents, then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Prince Charles: Early life (1949 - 1950) by Clarence HouseClarence House

Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles at Clarence House, Summer 1951 by Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Prince Charles with his grandfather, King George VI (Early 1950s)Clarence House

Prince Charles pictured with his grandfather, King George VI...

Prince Charles with The Queen Mother (October 1950) by Camera PressClarence House

...and beloved grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Prince Charles with Princess Anne in Clarence House Garden, 1951. by Unknown PersonRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip's second child, Princess Anne, was born nearly two years after Prince Charles, on 15 August 1950.

HM The Queen, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Anne play together at Balmoral, 28th September 1952. [Album 2585006]., Studio Lisa, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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Prince Charles and HM The Queen play together at Balmoral, 28th September 1952. [Album 2585006]., Studio Lisa, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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HM The Queen, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Anne play together at Balmoral Castle, 28th September 1952. [Album 2585006]., Studio Lisa, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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Prince Charles and Princess Anne, Marcus Adams, 1952, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Prince Charles is pictured here with his younger sister Princess Anne, in October 1952, when they were photographed by Marcus Adams.

The Royal Family at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (2 June 1953)Clarence House

Heir Apparent

Prince Charles' grandfather, King George VI, died on 6 February 1952. His mother was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II, making 3-year-old Prince Charles the heir apparent. The Queen's coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, where the young Prince was pictured between his grandmother, The Queen Mother, and aunt, Princess Margaret.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne in Balmoral (1953)Clarence House

As heir to the throne, Prince Charles took on the traditional title: The Duke of Cornwall.

The family is pictured here in 1953, shortly after The Queen's Coronation.

HRH The Prince of Wales (b.1948) returning to Cheam School by Unknown PersonRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Three years later, in November 1956, Prince Charles started school at Hill House School in west London.

The following academic year, he became a boarder at Cheam preparatory school in Berkshire.

In 1958, aged nine, The Prince was given the titles The Prince of Wales and The Earl of Chester.

Prince Charles and Princess Anne meet David Attenborough, 1950s, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Prince Charles meeting David Attenborough with his sister, Princess Anne.

Prince Charles holding an infant Prince Andrew, 1960, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Prince Charles's younger brother Prince Andrew - now The Duke of York - was born in 1960.

An official portrait of Prince Charles, 1962-08-15, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Prince Charles with his brother, Prince Edward and sister, Princess Anne, 1960s, From the collection of: Clarence House
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His youngest brother, Prince Edward (pictured in front, with The Prince of Wales), was born in 1964. Prince Edward is today Earl of Wessex.

Prince Charles and his father (1960)Clarence House

In April 1962, Prince Charles started at Gordonstoun, a school in eastern Scotland where his father, The Duke of Edinburgh (pictured with The Prince), had studied.

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

The Prince returned to Gordonstoun to sit his A Levels and was appointed school guardian (head boy).

Prince Charles outside Cambridge University (1969)Clarence House

Student life

The Prince started at the University of Cambridge in 1967, studying archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College. As a student, he was a member of Trinity College's drama group, The Dryden Society, and also played the cello. The Prince changed to history for the second part of his degree, and left in 1970 with a 2:2 degree.

Prince Charles during drama practice at Cambridge University, 1969, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Prince Charles as a student at Cambridge University, Circa 1967, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Investiture of The Prince of Wales (1969)Clarence House

Investiture

In July 1969 The Queen invested Prince Charles as The Prince of Wales. The ceremony took place at Caernarfon Castle, and The Prince had previously spent a term at The University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, learning Welsh. The following February, while still a student at Cambridge, The Prince took his seat in The House of Lords.

Prince Charles: Investiture of the Prince of Wales aka POW (1969) | British PathéClarence House

The Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle, 1st July 1969., Unknown Person, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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The Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales, 1 July 1969: the crowning, Unknown Person, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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The Prince of Wales is presented to the crowds by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, Unknown Person, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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Prince Charles at Naval College (1971)Clarence House

Military career

Between March and September 1971, The Prince of Wales trained as a jet pilot at Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in Lincolnshire. He then went on to pursue a career in The Royal Navy, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfathers. The Prince trained at The Royal Naval College in Dartmouth before serving on HMS Norfolk, a guided missile destroyer.

The Prince of Wales on board HMS Norfolk, 1972, From the collection of: Clarence House
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The Prince of Wales returns to the UK after serving on the HMS Minerva, 1973-08-01, From the collection of: Clarence House
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The Prince of Wales starts Naval Helicopter course (1974)Clarence House

His Royal Highness qualified as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in 1974 and joined the 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the Commando carrier HMS Hermes.

The Prince of Wales with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward (1979)Clarence House

The Prince of Wales pictured with brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward in 1979.

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day (1981-07-29)Clarence House

Marriage to Diana Spencer

On 29 July 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral. She became The Princess of Wales.

Prince William's Christening (1982-08-04)Clarence House

Together, the couple had two sons. Prince William (shown here) was born on 21 June 1982, and christened on 4 August.

Prince Harry was born on 15 September 1984, and christened on 21 December.

The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, but The Princess continued to be seen as part of The Royal Family, living at Kensington Palace and carrying out public work for a number of charities.

The Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

Prince Harry's Christening, 1985-06-06, From the collection of: Clarence House
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Christmas card: The Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry on the Balmoral Estate, 1996, Tiggy Pettifer (b. 1965), From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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Christmas card: The Prince of Wales with Princes William and Harry, 1999, From the collection of: Royal Collection Trust, UK
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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall after the service of prayer and dedication following their marriage, St George's Chapel, Windsor, 9 April 2005. by Arthur Edwards (b. 1940)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles

The Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles on 9 April 2005 at a civil ceremony in The Guildhall, Windsor. The ceremony was followed by a service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and a reception hosted by HM The Queen at Windsor Castle. Camilla became known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Royal Family (2018) by Clarence HouseClarence House

The Prince with his extended family.

This photograph was taken at a dinner party hosted by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House to celebrate the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh (2007).

Their Royal Highnesses visit Fowey in CornwallClarence House

Public engagements and charitable work

The Prince of Wales, along with his wife and sons, has supported a wide range of causes and charities over the years, as well as taking part in public engagements on behalf of The Royal Family. In 2017/18, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertook 619 public engagements around the world. In the space of 12 months they visited 85 cities, towns and villages across 44 counties of the UK. They also travelled to 15 different countries, including 10 in The Commonwealth.

The Prince of Wales and The Princess Royal attend Garter Day (1990s)Clarence House

Their Royal Highnesses' public engagements are wide-ranging. Here, The Prince of Wales attends a Garter Day celebration with his sister, The Princess Royal.

Their Royal Highnesses visit The Sandringham Flower ShowClarence House

Their Royal Highnesses visit the Sandringham Flower Show.

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge at Holyrood PalaceClarence House

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge at Holyrood Palace.

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge at Holyrood PalaceClarence House

The Prince of Wales attending The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with his son, The Duke of Cambridge.

Official Sixtieth Birthday photograph of HRH The Prince of Wales by Hugo Burnand (b. 1963)Royal Collection Trust, UK

An official portrait released to mark The Prince’s 60th birthday.

He’s wearing the ceremonial uniform of The Welsh Guards, of which he has been Colonel-in-Chief since 1975.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wedding official group photograph (2011-04-29) by Hugo Burnard/ The Duke and Duchess of CambridgeClarence House

A family photograph taken at the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit the This Morning studios (31 January 2018) by Clarence HouseClarence House

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit the ITV This Morning studios.

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex at a meeting to discuss the health of coral reefs (14 February 2018) by Ian JonesClarence House

The Prince of Wales and his son, The Duke of Sussex, attend a meeting to discuss the health of coral reefs.

The Prince of Wales with his Aston Martin (2018) by Sir Don McCullinClarence House

As a style icon, His Royal Highness has always been a passionate supporter of British fashion and manufacturing.

He is known for his love of suits from homegrown fashion designers, and drives an Aston Martin, converted to run on bioethanol made from wine wastage and a by-product of cheese-making, pictured here.

The Prince of Wales on the cover of the October 2018 issue of British GQ (September 2018) by Matthew Brooks for British GQClarence House

Ahead of his 70th birthday, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was featured on the cover of British GQ's October 2018 issue.

As part of GQ's annual Man Of The Year Awards, The Prince was awarded The Editor's Lifetime Achievement Award For Services To Philanthropy.

The Prince Of Wales speaks at the GQ Awards 2018 | British GQClarence House

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their families, bridesmaids and pageboys (official wedding portrait) (2018-05-19) by Alexi Lubomirski/ The Duke and Duchess of SussexClarence House

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales celebrates his 70th birthday on 14 November 2018, alongside his immediate and extended family - including: his parents, HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall; his two sons and daughters-in-law, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex; and his three grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

They are shown here at the wedding of HRH's youngest son Harry, The Duke of Sussex, to Meghan Markle, now The Duchess of Sussex, in May 2018.

The Prince's birthday celebrations were made all the more special by the recent announcement that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child - a fourth grandchild for The Prince of Wales, due in Spring 2019.

The Prince of Wales's official 70th birthday family photograph (September 2018) by Chris JacksonClarence House

This family photograph was released to mark the 70th Birthday of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

It was taken by photographer Chris Jackson in the garden at Clarence House in September 2018, where His Royal Highness was photographed with Their Royal Highnesses The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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