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Charles

Charles (Charles Philip Arthur George), 1948–, prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and heir apparent to the British throne. He was created prince of Wales in 1958 and invested at Caernarvon Castle in 1969. He graduated from Cambridge in 1971 and served in the Royal Navy (1971–76).

In 1981 he married Lady Diana Frances Spencer (see Diana, princess of Wales). Their children, next in line to succeed him, are Prince William (b. 1982) and Prince Henry (b. 1984). Following the separation of Charles and Diana in 1992, the deterioration of their personal relationship became the subject of intense, sometimes lurid, media coverage. By the time of their divorce (1996) and her death (Aug., 1997) in a Paris car crash, the sympathies of the British public appeared deeply divided between Charles and Diana.

Charles has been an outspoken critic of contemporary architecture and has sought to bring Britain's architectural heritage to the attention of the nation. He wrote A Vision of Britain (1989), which became a television documentary. He is also an advocate for inner-city reform and environmental issues. In 2005 he married Camilla Parker Bowles, who had long been his mistress; she became the duchess of Cornwall.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies


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