Royal Biographies: Prince Charles
by David Johnson
Charles Philip Arthur George, the Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the throne, was born in Buckingham Palace on November 14, 1948. Prince Charles takes an active role in many organizations and attends official functions. In 1997, for instance, he represented the Queen at the handover of the former British colony of Hong Kong to Chinese authorities. He is also particularly interested in architecture and is an active sportsman.
He attended the rigorous and spartan Gordonstoun School in Scotland, and became the first royal ever to study overseas when he was an exchange student at theGeelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia. He also spent two years at the University of Cambridge.
An estimated one billion people around the world watched as Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981. What was seen as a fairy tale wedding and a romantic storybook marriage generated new public interest in the monarchy. The royal couple had two children, Prince William and Prince Henry (Harry).
Despite their glittering public image, however, the Prince and Princess of Wales separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, amid lurid press reports about adultery on both sides. Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles became so unpopular that at one point Camilla was pelted with rolls by fellow shoppers at a supermarket.
Public sympathy for Diana reached a peak in 1997, when she died in a horrific car accident. Although Charles has worked hard to mend his image, there remains considerable support for the throne to pass directly from Queen Elizabeth to Charles' son, Prince William.
Charles, after earning high marks as a caring and dutiful father, has become more popular. Charles and Camilla finally got married on April 9, 2005, in a civil ceremony. She took the title of the Duchess of Cornwall instead of Princess of Wales in consideration of the public's regard for Diana.