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Meet the scuba-diving, cello-playing jet pilot and squirrel-fancier who happens to be King! As Charles hits his milestone birthday, 75 remarkable facts about our colourful monarch (starting with a record-breaking wait to arrive in the world…)


From suavely-dressed action man to tactful diplomat and tree-hugger in wellies  Charles has played bewildering variety of roles in the course of his long wait to be King.

There’s even been the occasional Macbeth along the way from a man who most agree would have been well-suited to the stage.

There can be few lives more closely scrutinised than that of our new King.

Yet even today as he celebrates turning 75, Charles can pull a few surprises as these glimpses of his long and eventful life make clear…

Charles was born by Caesarian after a marathon labour

King Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948 by  Caesarean section. Here a chubby Charles is pictured with his mother in  1949

King Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948 by  Caesarean section. Here a chubby Charles is pictured with his mother in  1949

King Charles arrived at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, at 9.14pm, after a marathon 30-hour labour.  

Princess Elizabeth, then 22, gave birth via Caesarean section in a music room in Buckingham Palace, which had been converted into an operating theatre.

His birth was the first of a senior royal not to be attended by a senior politician     

His birth was the first of a senior member of the royal family not to be attended by a senior politician – this tradition, which dated back to the 17th century, was to ensure that the newborn was a genuine descendant of the monarch.

His first word was ‘Nanna’

The Prince of Wales, aged two, with his nurse Mabel Anderson, watching a procession in 1950

The Prince of Wales, aged two, with his nurse Mabel Anderson, watching a procession in 1950

Times were very different, of course, and like other royal children of his day, Charles was surrounded by the nannies and servants of a formal nursery.   Charles’s first word is said to have been ‘nanna’, addressed nanny Mabel Anderson.

Winston Churchill was impressed by the child 

Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Princess Anne chatting to Winston Churchill in 1953

Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Princess Anne chatting to Winston Churchill in 1953

Churchill, then in his second term as Prime Minister, and his wife, Clementine, met three-year-old Charles at Balmoral estate.

A rare piece of colour footage captures the moment and shows Churchill playing with a piece of driftwood as a three-year-old Prince Charles stands close by. 

After the visit, Churchill wrote to the Queen: ‘I was keenly impressed by the development of Prince Charles as a personality.

‘He is young to think so much’

Charles became heir apparent at just three years old 

King Charles became the heir apparent – next in line to the throne – following the death of his grandfather, King George VI. His mother Queen Elizabeth acceded the throne on 6 February 1952. Charles, who attended part of  the Coronation the following year, was only three.

Prince Charles sits between grandmother, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at his mother's 1953 Coronation. He had become heir apparent the previous year on the death of his grandfather

Prince Charles sits between grandmother, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at his mother’s 1953 Coronation. He had become heir apparent the previous year on the death of his grandfather

 He received his own special invitation to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation 

A four-year-old Prince Charles received his own illustrated invitation to the  Coronation of his mother in 1953.

The elaborate design was hand painted with soldiers playing musical instruments. It  featured a lion and unicorn, with flowers and trees around the border.

Prince Charles received his own illustrated invitation to the coronation of his mother in 1953

Prince Charles received his own illustrated invitation to the coronation of his mother in 1953

He was the first future monarch to be sent to school

Prince Charles pictured walking to Cheam School in Berkshire in his school uniform in 1958

Prince Charles pictured walking to Cheam School in Berkshire in his school uniform in 1958

Charles was the first future monarch to be sent to school, rather than being privately by tutors at home.

The decision to send Charles to a private school was a significant departure from royal tradition, in hopes that he would ‘rub shoulders’ with boys from a variety of backgrounds.

The future King attended Hill House School in west London, before moving on to Cheam School, Berkshire, from the age of eight. He later attended Gordonstoun in Moray, Scotland.

Charles’s first official trip abroad was to Malta

Prince Charles went to Malta when he was five years old – his first official trip abroad.

The young prince and his sister, Anne, had accompanied their parents aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. 

After ten days at sea, they went ashore at Malta, where they were met by Earl and Countess Mountbatten. ‘Dickie’ Mountbatten was Prince Philip’s uncle.

Charles and Anne with the Mountbattens in Malta, April 1954 - Charles' first official trip abroad

Charles and Anne with the Mountbattens in Malta, April 1954 – Charles’ first official trip abroad 

The Prince was head boy

King Charles has subsequently made it clear that he did not enjoy his time at Gordonstoun, a famously outdoorsy boarding school in Scotland. 

Even so, he was head boy – or ‘Guardian’ – there in his final years.

Before this he was a Colour Bearer (prefect) and head of his boarding house.

The Queen with a young Prince Charles on a visit to Gourdonstoun

The Queen with a young Prince Charles on a visit to Gourdonstoun 

The young Prince bought cherry brandy for half a crown

Charles took his first alcoholic drink in public when he was just 14 years old at the Crown Hotel in Stornoway on the island of Lewis.

The young prince had been on a school trip with Gordonstoun School.

Anxious to escape peering onlookers as he waited in a hotel lounge for the teacher to return, he sought refuge in the next room, which turned out to be the bar. 

Under-age or not, he figured that the polite thing to do was buy a drink, so paid half a crown for a cherry brandy. This was sort of drink he might have been given as a treat at home.  

This minor infraction was spotted however, and the story went round the world.

His first Royal Engagement was at the Palace of Holyrood House

Prince Charles undertook his first Royal Engagement when he was 16 years old and still studying at school.

He met hundreds of young Scottish and Commonwealth students attending a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the late Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

Charles became Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was nine years old. His ceremonial investiture took place much later, however, in July 1969 when he was 20

Charles became Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was nine years old. His ceremonial investiture took place much later, however, in July 1969 when he was 20

10) Charles spent two terms abroad in Australia

When he was a shy 17-year-old, Charles spent two terms studying abroad in Australia. 

Charles was a pupil at Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Victoria, about 100 miles away from Melbourne.

Reflecting on his time there many years later, he said: ‘I learnt an enormous amount… and discovered just how direct and friendly and straightforward and so often blunt Australians are … But with such an incredibly good sense of humour.’

Charles on a guided tour of Timbertop, a rural outpost of Geelong Grammar School in February 1966

Charles on a guided tour of Timbertop, a rural outpost of Geelong Grammar School in February 1966

Nixon tried to set up Charles with his daughter 

President Nixon is said to have attempted to match up his daughter with Charles when the Prince made a short visit to the United States of America in 1970.

At almost every single event the prince attended, the pair sat next to each other.

But it is suggested they did not hit it off.

Even Charles acknowledged the setup, reflecting on the 70s trip to Washington DC he told CNN: ‘That was quite amusing, I must say. That was the time when they were trying to marry me off to Tricia Nixon.’ 

Biographer Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, said: ‘More than three decades later when Charles and his new wife, Camilla, visited George W and Laura Bush at the White House, he joked that the Bushes had better not try to fix up their twin daughters with his sons William and Harry the way Nixon had worked to set him up with Tricia.’

Prince Charles claimed that President Nixon had tried to set up Prince Charles with his daughter Tricia. They were placed next to each other at official events on a visit to America

Prince Charles claimed that President Nixon had tried to set up Prince Charles with his daughter Tricia. They were placed next to each other at official events on a visit to America

11) Tribesmen called him ‘the one who makes cows cry’ 

 While on a royal tour to Tanzania in 2011 with his wife Camilla, the pair met nomadic Maasai cattle herders.

The Maasai believe they own every single cow in the world and were particularly impressed to hear that Charles keeps more than 800.

So they gave him another title, Oloishiru Ingishi, meaning ‘the one who makes cows cry’.

According to Matthew Rimba, a village elder,  the animals would cry out, or call, for their owner and helper because of the support he gives them.

The awarding of the title is considered a great honour. In Maasai culture, the cow is king.

How Barbra Streisand could have been a real Jewish Princess!

In his younger days, King Charles was said to have been infatuated with Barbra Streisand. The pair later became good friends, with rumours circulating that they were an item. Pictured: Charles and Barbra in 1974

In his younger days, King Charles was said to have been infatuated with Barbra Streisand. The pair later became good friends, with rumours circulating that they were an item. Pictured: Charles and Barbra in 1974

Charles was once said to have been ‘infatuated’ with Barbra Streisand. They first met in 1974. 

In 2021, the actress, singer and filmmaker revealed that the prince had sent her a bouquet of flowers. They started spending time together at Highgrove soon afterwards.

Streisand told ITV’s Lorraine: ‘It was so sweet. I was recording at Warner Brothers, and he asked to meet me. 

‘We became friends, and I loved spending time at Highgrove and spending some time with him.

‘I saw this bouquet of flowers and I said, ‘Who sent me that?’ and my assistant said, ‘A fan called Charles’.’

‘And I said, ‘Really? Let me see the note’ — and there was his seal. And they weren’t like from a florist because they were from his gardens and it’s a different look.’

Later, she joked: ‘You know, if I played my cards right, I could have wound up being the first Jewish princess!’ 

The Prince of polite polo

The King retired from polo when he was 57. But he was said to have been an accomplished player, a skilled rider who had learned the game from his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten

The King retired from polo when he was 57. But he was said to have been an accomplished player, a skilled rider who had learned the game from his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten

The King retired from polo when he was 57. But he was said to have been an accomplished player, a skilled rider (with access to good ponies, of course) who had learned the game from his uncle Louis Mountbatten. 

One commentator described him as playing ‘a very polite game – courteous, charming and polite on the field.’

14) The king of tweed was named The Best Dressed Man

In 2009, Esquire magazine named Charles its Best Dressed Man.

Although often seen in comfortable country clothes, the Prince of Wales beat former US President Barack Obama and tennis star Roger Federer to the title.

Charles is a fan of Ron Weasley’s mum, Julie Walters

When presenting her CBE from at Buckingham Palace in 2008, Prince Charles told actress Julie Walters what a big fan of the Harry Potter films he was

When presenting her CBE from at Buckingham Palace in 2008, Prince Charles told actress Julie Walters what a big fan of the Harry Potter films he was

When Prince Charles presented Julie Walters with her CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2008, he took the opportunity to tell the actress  that he was a big fan of the Harry Potter film franchise.

‘The Prince said he loved the Potters and said what great films they were and what great fun they were,’ recalled the actress, who played Ron Weasley’s mum in the series. 

‘Then I told him I’m writing my memoirs at the moment, and he said, “oh you must have the editors constantly on” and I said “yes I know, constantly saying have you got it done, how much more have you written” – so he really got into that one.’

He always travels with a bag of his own blood 

Among many things the King takes with him on his travels is a bag of his own blood, in case an emergency transfusion is.

He describes his diet as ‘climatarian’ 

The King Charles describes his diet as ‘climatarian’, which relies on relying on local and seasonal produce that have a reduced environmental impact.

These include meals that are both plant and meat-based.

Without having to cut out any one food group entirely, a climatarian diet is surprisingly one of the easiest meal plans to follow if you’re thinking of changing up your day-to-day meals.

Charles went on TV to warn of snow at Balmoral

In 2012, Charles presented the weather forecast during a lunchtime bulletin on the BBC.

The Prince of Wales, as he then was, and his wife Camilla had been visiting BBC Scotland for its 60th anniversary.

The BBC weather map had been given a royal makeover for the occasion, tabbing up such landmarks as Balmoral, the Castle of Mey and Dumfries House. With this as a background, the future King was almost word-perfect with his script.

‘Well it’s an unsettled picture as we head towards the end of the week,’ he began.

‘Ahh, this afternoon it will be cold, wet and windy across most of Scotland. The rain, of course, will be heaviest over the borders and err, around Edinburgh, where it could lead to difficult conditions on the roads.’

He later joked ‘who the hell wrote this script’ after reading out that there would be ‘snow over Balmoral’.

The King does not have a mobile phone

It has been reported that King Charles does not have a mobile phone, and that those trying to contact him will need to do so through a member of staff.

As most servants and advisers are obliged to turn their phones off in the Royal Palaces, that effectively means dialling the switchboard – or writing a letter!  

He likes to talk to plants and trees. And they like it, too 

Prince Charles is convinced that speaking to the plants helps them grow.

In a 1986 interview, he said: ‘I just come and talk to the plants, really – very important to talk to them. They respond.’

King Charles is a keen gardener and famously talks to plants and trees. 'I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them,' he once said. 'They respond'

King Charles is a keen gardener and famously talks to plants and trees. ‘I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them,’ he once said. ‘They respond’

Seeds for breakfast, but no lunch

King Charles famously does not eat lunch, preferring to have a large breakfast to keep him going throughout the day.

His former aide Julian Payne said: ‘The King doesn’t eat lunch; so, an early lesson I learnt when out on the road with him was to have a big breakfast or bring a few snack bars with you to keep you going.

‘The working day is pretty relentless. Beginning with the radio news headlines and a breakfast of seasonal fruit salad and seeds with tea.’

‘Torture in a tin’ is banned

Charles does not allow Foie Gras to be served anywhere in his households.

He finds the making of the French delicacy, which involves force-feeding geese, particularly cruel. Some have dubbed the product ‘torture in a tin’.

He always brings his own seasoning to banquets  

Whenever Charles attends a banquet, it is said that he takes with him a silver container of Maldon sea salt, which is placed on his table, according to chef Graham Tinsley.

Whenever Charles attends a banquet, it is said that he takes with him a silver container of Maldon sea salt (pictured at a traditional dinner in Japan in 1986)

Whenever Charles attends a banquet, it is said that he takes with him a silver container of Maldon sea salt (pictured at a traditional dinner in Japan in 1986)

The King’s favourite tea is Darjeeling

The reigning Monarch loves drinking Darjeeling with honey and milk.

Darjeeling, which is a tea grown in the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, is rich in taste and highly fragrant with a floral aroma and light-coloured infusion. 

This was also said to be his mother’s favourite.

His tea is brewed with a thermometer 

The former hospitality manager at Dumfries House – Charles’s cultural institute in the Scottish borders – has explained how the King likes his tea to be brewed.

The temperature of each pot must be taken with a thermometer, says Evan Samson. For green tea it should be exactly 70 degrees centigrade, whereas English Breakfast or Earl Grey should be brewed at 100 degrees – i.e. the water should be boiling.

According to former staff, King Charles likes his tea to be brewed at exact temperatures measured by thermometer. The water poured on green tea should be at exactly 70 degrees Centigrade. English Breakfast or Earl Grey should be brewed at 100 degrees - or boiling.

According to former staff, King Charles likes his tea to be brewed at exact temperatures measured by thermometer. The water poured on green tea should be at exactly 70 degrees Centigrade. English Breakfast or Earl Grey should be brewed at 100 degrees – or boiling.

The King loves boiled eggs…

Charles enjoys boiled eggs and is said to eat at least one every day. 

But suggestions that he is presented with seven boiled eggs per morning – so that he can take his pick – have been emphatically denied by the Palace.

According to Graham Tinsley, who has catered for state banquets, Charles is partial to a lightly boiled or ‘coddled’ egg.

‘Normally, a soft-boiled egg takes around five minutes,’ he told Hello magazine.

‘So imagine this coddled egg… it’s going to be very, very soft.’ 

 …and enjoys ‘groussaka’

In an interview with Country Life to mark his 70th birthday, Charles revealed that one of his favourite meals is pheasant crumble pie.

He said: ‘I got this recipe from someone I know. It is delicious.

‘I invented a grouse one recently: coq au vin with grouse, as well as moussaka with grouse – it doesn’t always have to be lamb. In other words, groussaka.’

 Charles even created his own organic food company 

Duchy Originals was set up in 1990 by Charles to sell organic food products and help small and medium sized producers

It went into partnership with Waitrose in 2010 and has since changed its name to Waitrose Duchy Organic.

Duchy Organic was set up in 1990 by Charles and only sells organic food products. Pictured: Charles and Camilla upon the partnership of Duchy Organic with Waitrose

Duchy Organic was set up in 1990 by Charles and only sells organic food products. Pictured: Charles and Camilla upon the partnership of Duchy Organic with Waitrose 

His Aston Martin runs on ‘wine and cheese’

Prince Charles’s vintage sportscar runs on a fuel called bioethanol – which is made from cheese and wine.

He said: ‘My old Aston Martin, which I’ve had for 51 years, runs on – can you believe this – surplus English white wine, and whey from the cheese [making] process.’

King Charles' Aston Martin is fueled bioethanol which is made out of surplus white wine and whey from the cheese process

King Charles’ Aston Martin is fueled bioethanol which is made out of surplus white wine and whey from the cheese process  

Charles and Camilla bring a bottle with them

Whether touring at home or abroad, Charles and Camilla are known to bring their own bottles along.

Charles’s  favourite alcoholic drink is gin and tonic while Camilla’s is said to be red wine.

Whether touring at home or abroad, Charles and Camilla are known to bring their own alcohol with them. Pictured: Charles and Camilla making mojitos at a private restaurant in Havana

Whether touring at home or abroad, Charles and Camilla are known to bring their own alcohol with them. Pictured: Charles and Camilla making mojitos at a private restaurant in Havana 

He sent whisky to recovering alcoholic, Ozzy Osbourne

In 2003, King Charles sent a bottle of whisky to rock star Ozzy Osbourne, who was recovering from alcoholism at the time. 

It was intended as a ‘get well soon’ gift following the singer’s quadbike accident.

In 2003, Charles sent a bottle of whisky to singer Ozzy Osbourne, a recovering alcoholic, after a quad bike accident. Pictured: Ozzy, left, and Charles at Clarence House in 2006

In 2003, Charles sent a bottle of whisky to singer Ozzy Osbourne, a recovering alcoholic, after a quad bike accident. Pictured: Ozzy, left, and Charles at Clarence House in 2006

His wife Sharon told an American TV show: ‘We heard from Prince Charles and – never let anyone say he’s a bad guy cause he’s all right by the Osbournes.

‘He sent my husband a bottle of Scotch, which of course he’s not going to drink.’

The US secret service called him ‘Unicorn’ 

When dignitaries and politicians visit the United States, they are given a codename by the Secret Service. Charles’s is said to be ‘Unicorn’. 

Charles can fly a jet and a helicopter

Charles joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 1971 where he was trained to fly both a jet and a helicopter.

He had already taken flying lessons at university and was able to fly himself to RAF Cranwell for his first day of training. 

Those watching Sunday’s Coronation concert saw actor Tom Cruise deliver a specially recorded tribute o a fellow pilot from the cockpit of a jet, saying Charles can be his ‘wingman anytime’.

Charles joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 1971. H  trained to fly jets and  helicopters

Charles joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 1971. H  trained to fly jets and  helicopters

He earned RAF wings

After completing training, Prince Charles gained his RAF Wings as Flight Lieutenant Wales.

He was the first member of the royal family to gain this award. 

And completed the Parachute Regiment’s training course

Charles went on to complete the Parachute Regiment training course, becoming the first member of the royal family to do so.

He was later appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment in 1977.

A video of him doing his first parachute jump, shows him getting briefly caught upside down.

In 2021, while at Merville Barracks, Essex, he told members of the RAF, while presenting their new colours, that he was ‘initially upside down with my legs in the rigging lines’ when he completed his first parachute drop at Studland Bay in Dorset in 1972.

Charles complete the Parachute Regiment training course, the first member of the Royal Family to do so. Pictured: Princes Charles and Andrew training for a jump at RAF Brize Norton

Charles complete the Parachute Regiment training course, the first member of the Royal Family to do so. Pictured: Princes Charles and Andrew training for a jump at RAF Brize Norton 

Prince Charles parachuting into the English Channel as part of his RAF training in 1971

Prince Charles parachuting into the English Channel as part of his RAF training in 1971 

He was the longest serving Prince of Wales in history

In 2011 he became the longest serving heir to the throne in British history. At that point he had waited for 59 years, two months and 14 days, breaking the record endured by his predecessor Edward VII (the son of Queen Victoria).

Charles was heir apparent for 70 years and 214 days until the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth in September last year.

Charles became Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was nine years old but his investiture –  where he was presented to the Welsh people – was not until July 1969 when he was 20.

He has published a children’s book

Among his other achievements, Charles is  has written children’s books. 

The Old Man of Lochnagar, first published in 1980, was later turned into a short animation by the BBC.

King Charles wrote, The Old Man of Lochnagar, a children's book first published in 1980

King Charles wrote, The Old Man of Lochnagar, a children’s book first published in 1980

And books on the environment, too

The King has written several books with an environmental theme.

These include one called Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World and The Garden at Highgrove.

The royal has impressively written the forewords to at least 31 books, the first for a compilation of The Goon Show scripts by Spike Milligan, published in 1974. 

He later became patron of the Goon Show Preservation Society

Charles made his debut as an amateur jockey aged 31 

The Prince made his debut as an amateur jockey, at the age of 31, riding Sea Swell, pictured here, at Sandown Park

The Prince made his debut as an amateur jockey, at the age of 31, riding Sea Swell, pictured here, at Sandown Park

Charles, who was then the Prince of Wales, made his debut as an amateur jockey, at the age of 31, in a charity race at Plumpton on 4 March 1980.

The Prince rode in a further five races, finishing second on two occasions and being unseated twice.

While he might have come close once or twice, Prince Charles never did ride a winner as a jockey.

He suffered a spinal injury after taking up windsurfing 

Charles suffered from a degenerative-disc problem at the base of his spine when he got into a windsurfing accident in the 1970s

Charles suffered from a degenerative-disc problem at the base of his spine when he got into a windsurfing accident in the 1970s

After taking up windsurfing in the 1970s, Charles suffered from a degenerative-disc problem at the base of his spine.

This means that, to this day, it is painful for him to sit still for long periods of time and he needs a special cushion when attending state banquets or during seated royal engagements.

A degree of success at Cambridge University

Charles went to Cambridge University in 1967 to read Archaeology and Anthropology.

He studied at Trinity College, where he later changed his degree to History.

He graduated with second class honours in 1970 – the first heir apparent to get a degree.

Charles went to Cambridge University in 1967 to study Archaeology and Anthropology

Charles went to Cambridge University in 1967 to study Archaeology and Anthropology

The King played the King in Macbeth

The prince landed a lead role in Macbeth while at Gordonstoun. Appropriately enough, he played Macbeth himself – the King.

The 1965 performance received good reviews – and a striking photo of him holding the fatal dagger appeared on newspaper front pages.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended the show with other parents.

While at Trinity, Charles joined a performing arts club, the Dryden Society, and regularly took part in sketches and plays.

The Queen and Princess Anne attended some of performances.

The Prince's 1965 performance received good reviews - and a striking photo of him holding the fatal dagger appeared on newspaper front pages.

The Prince’s 1965 performance received good reviews – and a striking photo of him holding the fatal dagger appeared on newspaper front pages.

The King sometimes starts the day with headstands 

According to Prince Harry, his father does half-naked headstands in the morning to overcome his aches and pains

Writing in his memoir, Spare, Harry explains there was always a danger of stumbling across an upside-down Charles clad in little more than boxer shorts, while staying at Balmoral. 

Recommended by a physiotherapist, the exercise helps ‘constant neck and back pain’ resulting from old polo injuries.

Charles uses a Canadian Airforce workout in the morning

Quite aside from any headstands, King Charles  does a 12-minute Canadian Air Force exercise plan every morning.

The plan does not require any equipment and includes stretching, planks, arm circles, sit-ups, back extensions, push-ups and running on the spot.

The technique was developed by Dr Bill Oban in the late 1950s and is known as the 5BX Plan (Five Basic Exercises).

He has hedgehog ramps in his garden

Charles has installed tiny ramps in all the fountains and ponds in his gardens so hedgehogs can escape should they fall in

Charles has installed tiny ramps in all the fountains and ponds in his gardens so hedgehogs can escape should they fall in

During a Channel 5 interview with poet Pam Ayres, Charles revealed that he helps to care for his local wildlife – specifically hedgehogs – by installing tiny ramps in all the fountains and ponds in his gardens so they can escape should they fall in.

Charles broke royal tradition by attending Prince William’s birth

Charles broke with the long standing tradition of royal births being kept both intensely private and totally removed from involvement of the father.

By encouraging Princess Diana to give birth in hospital rather than in one of the royal palaces, and remaining by her side during the birth, Charles set a modern precedent for the family.  

In a letter he wrote to his godmother, Patricia Brabourne, Prince Charles expressed his joy at having been present at the birth of his sons, saying: ‘I am so thankful I was beside Diana’s bedside the whole time because by the end of the day I really felt as though I’d shared deeply in the process of birth.’

Prince Charles pictured with a baby Prince William on his lap beside Princess Diana at their home in Kensington Palace in February 1983

Prince Charles pictured with a baby Prince William on his lap beside Princess Diana at their home in Kensington Palace in February 1983

He learned Welsh  

The future King also spent a term at University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, where he learnt to speak Welsh.

He is still seen using the language when he visits Wales. Recently he was seen speaking at the Senedd Wales following his accession to the throne.

Charles is a keen cello player 

Charles can also play the cello, despite modestly describing himself as a ‘hopeless’ musician.

He told Classic FM: I loved playing in the orchestra at Trinity – albeit rather badly.

‘I remember playing in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and trying to practise in my room at Cambridge to an old record conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

‘There was me sitting with my cello and my tuning fork, and I put this thing on, and of course he took it at an incredible lick – you’ve no idea how fast.’

Charles can play the cello, trumpet and piano, despite modestly describing himself as a 'hopeless' musician.

Charles can play the cello, trumpet and piano, despite modestly describing himself as a ‘hopeless’ musician.

He can also play the piano and trumpet

Alongside the cello, he can also play the trumpet and the piano. He first played the trumpet in public as a 15-year-old at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. On the same occasion he played cello in the Gordonstoun school orchestra

The King is a trained magician

In 1975, Charles became a member of the Magic Circle. 

The future King performed a ‘disappearing trick with cups and a ball’ to earn his membership, the Daily Telegraph reported at the time. 

How Charles conquered the rink

Charles learnt how to skate in 1962 at the Richmond Ice Rink, gaining a Certificate of Merit.

He played a cameo on Coronation Street 

Charles played a small role on  ITV’s Coronation Street in honour of the show’s 40th anniversary in December 2000.

He was seen chatting to Liz Dawn (Vera Duckworth) and Sue Nicholls (Audrey Roberts).

The scene saw Audrey, who was a councillor at the time, speaking to Charles in a ‘live news bulletin’ about protests against the council’s attempts to dig up Coronation Street’s famous ‘setts’ or cobblestones.

Charles made a cameo appearance in ITV's Coronation Street in honour of the show's 40th anniversary. Pictured: Charles enjoys a Scotch on set with actress Denise Welch

Charles made a cameo appearance in ITV’s Coronation Street in honour of the show’s 40th anniversary. Pictured: Charles enjoys a Scotch on set with actress Denise Welch

He and Diana met only 13 times before he proposed 

While Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana Spencer on 3 February 1981, she only 19-years-old and a mere six months into their relationship.

It has been said that Diana and Charles had only interacted on 13 occasions between the beginning of their relationship and when they exchanged their vows.

Prince Charles was the same height as Diana

While photos were staged to look otherwise, Charles and his ex-wife Princess Diana were actually the same height at 5ft 10 inches.

Diana was supposedly not allowed to wear heels during royal engagements with the then Prince of Wales.

The King (pictured in 2019) is partial to a martini comprised of half gin and half dry vermouth

The King (pictured in 2019) is partial to a martini comprised of half gin and half dry vermouth

His favourite drink is shaken AND stirred

The King is partial to a martini comprised of half gin and half dry vermouth, garnished with an olive or lemon twist.

And that this is taken before dinner every night.

The Prince’s Trust has raised £1.4 billion

In the last ten years alone, The Prince’s Trust has raised £1.4 billion according to analysis by HSBC.

Three out of four young people who are part of the trust move on to go into education, work or training.

His artwork has made millions

In 2016, Prince Charles was revealed as being one of Britain’s most successful living artists after he raised millions of pounds by selling prints of his water colour paintings.

The copies have been sold through his shop at Highgrove House, bringing in £2 million since 1997 for The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

Copies of King Charles' watercolours the years have raised millions of pounds for The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation.  Pictured: View in South of France, by King Charles

Copies of King Charles’ watercolours the years have raised millions of pounds for The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.  Pictured: View in South of France, by King Charles 

Anonymous Charles had a painting at the Royal Academy

In 1987 Charles anonymously submitted a water colour painting to the Royal Academy of Arts – which was then chosen to be displayed in the Summer Exhibition.

The watercolour was called a Farm Building in Norfolk.

Co-chairman of the selection committee Leonard Rosoman said at the time: ‘As far as I know, it went through the selection process the same as all the other works. It holds is place well in the paintings.’ 

He loves red squirrels

King Charles is obsessed with red squirrels and is a patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust.

Prince William told Country Life magazine in 2018: ‘He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the estate in Scotland—to the extent that he’s given them names and is allowing them into the house.’

Charles admitted this was true, adding: ‘If I sit quietly, they will do so around me.

‘Sometimes, when I leave my jackets on a chair with nuts in the pockets, I see them with their tails sticking out, as they hunt for nuts – they are incredibly special creatures.’

King Charles is obsessed with red squirrels and is a patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust. Pictured: King Charles with a red squirrel at his Birkhall home on the Balmoral Estate

King Charles is obsessed with red squirrels and is a patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust. Pictured: King Charles with a red squirrel at his Birkhall home on the Balmoral Estate 

Charles is involved with more than 400 charities

Charles is the President or a Patron of more than 420 charities, including The Prince’s Trust, ActionAid and The British Forces Foundation.

His charity work raises more than £140 million a year

He set up The Prince’s Trust with his severance money from the navy

In 1976, Charles set up The Prince’s Trust to help disadvantaged young people.

In order to set up the charity, he used his severance pay out from the Navy, which amounted to £7,400.

The charity is still running to this day.

He was invited to dinner by the Spice Girls

The Prince of Wales with the Spice Girls at the Royal Gala celebrating the Prince's Trust 21st Anniversary in Manchester in 1997

The Prince of Wales with the Spice Girls at the Royal Gala celebrating the Prince’s Trust 21st Anniversary in Manchester in 1997

During a charity gala for the Prince’s Trust in 1997, both ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Horner and ‘Scary Spice’ Mel B kissed the Prince of Wales on the cheek.

Geri also told the heir that she thought he was ‘very sexy’ seemingly pinched the Prince of Wales’ bum.

The hit girl group even invited him to dinner!

Charles has 32 godchildren

King Charles has a large family, filled with grandchildren, nieces and nephews but he also has 32 godchildren.

These range from members of European royal families, such as Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark to school friends’ children such as Giles Donald.

The King has a species of frog named after him

In 2012, a new species of frog was named after the King.

The species of Ecuadorian Tree Frog was given the name Prince Charles stream tree frog to honour his rainforest conservation work.

In 2012, an endangered species of frog was named after Charles. The Ecuadorian species was named the Prince Charles stream tree frog (pictured)

In 2012, an endangered species of frog was named after Charles. The Ecuadorian species was named the Prince Charles stream tree frog (pictured) 

He is a workaholic – according to his family

Speaking to the winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at St James’s Palace in 2021, Camilla admitted to Spice Girl’s star Geri Halliwell that her husband was a ‘complete workaholic’.

Prince Harry also once said: ‘This is a man who has dinner ridiculously late at night and then goes to his desk later that night and will fall asleep on his notes to the point where he’ll wake up with a piece of paper stuck to his face’.

King Charles is a keen mushroom forager  

He is a keen mushroom forager and spends a great portion of his free time in the grounds near his Scottish home of Birkhall looking for them.

It has been said that at moments of great stress, he always finds respite in the natural world – and the day that his mother died was no exception. 

After spending a few hours with his mother, on the day she would pass away, the Prince returned to Birkhall, his nearby estate on Royal Deeside to walk in the surrounding woods, armed with a walking cane and a basket to hunt for mushrooms.

Advised to return to Balmoral immediately, the Prince reached her bedside before she died at 3.10pm, according to Robert Jobson in his book ‘Our King’.

He planted a kitchen garden allotment in the grounds at Dumfries House

Charles previously used an elaborate planting scheme to portray the Union Flag in the carefully cultivated vegetable beds at Dumfries House.

It is hard to tell from ground level, of course, but from above, the distinctive pattern of the national flag is unmistakable. 

 What was once a muddy bog has been transformed into an arboretum with native trees, and an old laundry has become a school for artists.

King Charles has used an elaborate planting scheme to portray the Union Flag in the carefully cultivated vegetable beds at Dumfries House

King Charles has used an elaborate planting scheme to portray the Union Flag in the carefully cultivated vegetable beds at Dumfries House

There is an organic farm, which is home to rare-breed animals, and a schoolroom which teaches children about growing fruit and vegetables in the gardens.

The Prince himself designed the Belvedere (summer house) – complete with gargoyles – after sketching it out on a napkin.

Charles and Camilla appeared in The Beano

In 2013 Charles and Camilla, then the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, were given a starring role in The Beano comic strip.

Their cartoon characters were portrayed visiting the Bash Street School.

The editor of Beano, Craig Graham, said the couple were pleased to be featured in the magazine.

He said: ‘They were absolutely delighted. Often we’re a little bit nervous because we do, by the nature of things, have to caricature people.

‘But they were both absolutely delighted with their likenesses and hugely impressed to be involved with characters like Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger.’

In 2013 Charles and Camilla, then the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, were given a starring role in The Beano's Bash Street Kids comic strip

In 2013 Charles and Camilla, then the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, were given a starring role in The Beano’s Bash Street Kids comic strip

He is related to the inspiration for Count Dracula

Charles is related to Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century nobleman who became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Queen Mary of Teck, the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth, was believed to be descended of Vlad Tepes, aking King Charles his great-grandson, 16 times removed.

John Cleese and Charles wrote a comedy together

In 1990, Prince Charles and comic actor John Cleese, created a short 30-minute comedy together to promote environmental awareness. 

The video was shown at a meeting sponsored by Business in the Environment.

In 1990, Prince Charles and comic actor John Cleese, created a short 30-minute comedy together to promote environmental awareness

In 1990, Prince Charles and comic actor John Cleese, created a short 30-minute comedy together to promote environmental awareness 

Charles plays himself on a Royal visit to a factory, where he is mistaken for someone who cleans drains.

The film, called Grime Goes Green: Your Business and Environment, Cleese plays James Grime, an un-green industrialist, who declares:

‘Of course I’ve heard of the greenhouse effect, but you are not telling me that every time I spray my armpits a tomato ripens in Minnesota.’

He’s Britain’s first scuba-diving king

King Charles is the first British monarch to hold a scuba diving qualification.

After passing his RAF training Charles went on to the Britannia Royal Naval College, where he learnt how to dive.

He later became President of the British Sub-Aqua Club, until Prince William took over in 2014.

One of his most impressive dives is said to have been was under the Arctic ice in Canada in April 1975, where he went down to view a sunken Tudor warship.

The ship, owned by Henry VIII, was lost in 1545.

The King is the first British monarch to hold a scuba diving qualification (pictured surfacing from a dive in the Solent, a mile off Portsmouth, in 1982)

The King is the first British monarch to hold a scuba diving qualification (pictured surfacing from a dive in the Solent, a mile off Portsmouth, in 1982)

Charles has visited nearly 100 countries across the world 

To date, the King has visited almost 100 countries across the globe.

They include 45 of the 56 Commonwealth countries, many of which he has visited several times.

These totals are set to increase, with reports suggesting that the King is planning the ‘biggest ever royal tour’ in the months ahead. 

He is the oldest British Monarch to ever be crowned

At the age of 73, King Charles became the oldest monarch ever crowned in British history when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II passed away in September 2022.

He receives a state pension…

King Charles, like all others over the age of 65, receives a state pension but donates the weekly £185.15  to charity.

The King was eligible to claim the pension after paying tax while he was working in the Royal Navy.



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