UK

The serious and lighter sides of the King

The then-Prince of Wales negotiating a two-inch wide wire bridge during a trek in the foothills of Ben Nevis with the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in 1987 (PA)
The then-Prince of Wales negotiating a two-inch wide wire bridge during a trek in the foothills of Ben Nevis with the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in 1987 (PA) The then-Prince of Wales negotiating a two-inch wide wire bridge during a trek in the foothills of Ben Nevis with the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in 1987 (PA)

King Charles III is described as a sensitive, spiritual, sometimes melancholic character, with a strong social conscience.

According to his wife the Queen, he is a workaholic who is “not one for chilling”.

The Duke of Sussex once recalled how his father would sometimes fall asleep at his desk working late into the night, and wake up with a piece of paper stuck to his face.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Cop26 – Glasgow Charles, as the Prince of Wales, ahead of bilateral meetings during the Cop26 summit in 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The King, whose 75th birthday is on Tuesday, is also said, like his late mother, to be a brilliant mimic.

Camilla said in a BBC documentary in 2018: “He’s a very exceptional man. They see him as a very serious person, which he is.

“But I would like a lot of people to see the lighter side of him.”

The then-Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall enjoying the Mey Highland games in Caithness
The then-Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall enjoying the Mey Highland games in Caithness The then-Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall enjoying the Mey Highland games in Caithness (David Cheskin/PA) (David Cheskin/PA)

Charles loves walking and gardening, and adores the red squirrels who live on the Balmoral estate, giving them names and letting them come inside the house.

At each official tree planting, he carries out his ritual of touching the trunk for luck and declaring “Good luck tree”.

He retired from playing polo in 2005 after 40 years.

Prince Charles polo – Cirencester
Prince Charles polo – Cirencester The then-Prince of Wales and Prince William after playing for Highgrove in the Dorchester Polo Trophy in 2003 (Barry Batchelor/PA)

An experienced skier and diver and an accomplished watercolourist, he also learned to play the piano, cello and the trumpet.

The King does not eat lunch – and his favourite tea is Darjeeling with honey and milk.

Charles made cameo appearances in Coronation Street in 2000, The Beano comic in 2013, and EastEnders in 2022.

Royal visit to set of EastEnders
Royal visit to set of EastEnders Charles and Camilla on the set of EastEnders (Aaron Chown/PA)

Passionate about the environment, he is also committed to preserving traditional skills and arts, and is patron of more than 420 organisations.

Prince Charles Philip Arthur George was born at Buckingham Palace on November 14 1948 at 9.14pm, weighing 7lbs 6oz – a first child for Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

His birth was the first time in centuries when there was no government minister present to witness the arrival of a future heir to the throne.

New picture of Duke of Edinburgh with his son Prince Charles
New picture of Duke of Edinburgh with his son Prince Charles A five-month-old Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1949 (PA)

At the age of three, he became the heir apparent on the death of his grandfather King George VI, when his mother acceded to the throne.

He was created Prince of Wales by the late Queen in July 1958, when he was nine years old, but his investiture at Caernarfon Castle, televised and watched by 19 million people, took place when he was 20.

Charles is twice married. He divorced his first wife Diana, Princess of Wales in 1996, and she died in a shock car crash the following year.

Charles and Camilla sit on the John Lennon memorial bench in Havana, Cuba in 2019
Charles and Camilla sit on the John Lennon memorial bench in Havana, Cuba in 2019 Charles and Camilla sit on the John Lennon memorial bench in Havana, Cuba in 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA) (Jane Barlow/PA)

He married his former mistress Camilla Parker Bowles, who became the Duchess of Cornwall and now Queen, in a civil ceremony in 2005.

The King, who acceded to the throne on September 8 2022, is the 41st reigning monarch since William the Conqueror took control in 1066.

Charles was crowned with the golden bejewelled St Edward’s Crown, which was lowered onto his head by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey on May 6.