Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

King Charles III Through the Years: The Monarch’s Life in Photos

Prior to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III had been the heir apparent to the British throne for seven decades.

Charles held the position longer than anyone in the monarchy’s history. While waiting for his ascension, he served his country as the Prince of Wales. After serving in the military and founding his own charity, he proposed to Princess Diana in February 1981. They tied the knot in a lavish wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral in July of that year. The couple subsequently welcomed two sons, Prince William in June 1982 and Prince Harry in September 1984.

Despite starting a family together, Charles and Diana separated in December 1992. They finalized their divorce in August 1996. The prince became a single parent to their sons after Diana died in August 1997 at age 36 following a car accident. Charles ultimately married his future queen consort, Camilla Parker Bowles, in April 2005.

Following Elizabeth II’s death in September 2022, Charles assumed the throne. His royal coronation took place in May 2023 at Westminster Abbey, the same place his mother was crowned as queen.

Scroll through the gallery below to relive Charles’ life in photos.

1948
Elizabeth, then a princess, gave birth to her and Philip’s first child at Buckingham Palace in November 1948. He was baptized the following month.  
Everett/Shutterstock
1953
Charles, then the heir apparent, attended his mother’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. Although his mother was the queen of England, he received an education that broke from royal protocol. He had a governess for several years before starting at Hill House School in London in November 1956. He then attended Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire and Gordonstoun in Scotland. He later studied at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Australia. He completed his courses in 1967.
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1969
Charles was named Prince of Wales in July 1958, but his investiture was not held until July 1969. His mother crowned him in a televised ceremony at Caernarfon Castle.  
Reginald Davis/Shutterstock
1970
Instead of joining the military right away, the royal studied at Trinity College and the University College of Wales. He became the first heir apparent to earn a college degree when he graduated from the University of Cambridge in June 1970. 
B Cross/Daily Mail/Shutterstock
1971
Charles served in the military from 1971 to 1977 in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He learned to fly various aircrafts and was stationed on multiple ships. 
Reginald Davis/Shutterstock
1976
Charles founded The Prince’s Trust in 1976 to help improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in the U.K. As of 2020, the charity has offered support to one million individuals.  
Reginald Davis/Shutterstock
1981
The future king met Diana in 1977, but he did not propose until February 1981. They wed at St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward exclusively told Us Weekly in October 2020 that Charles “felt he’d been very pushed into marrying” Diana by his father. 
Everett/Shutterstock
1982
Charles and Diana welcomed their first child, son William, on June 21, 1982. Charles broke with tradition by being present at both of his children’s births. 
Tim Graham/Shutterstock
1984
The couple’s second child, son Harry, arrived on September 15, 1984.
Lord Snowdon/Shutterstock
1996
Charles and Diana formally separated in December 1992 amid longstanding issues in their marriage, including his admitted affair with Camilla. The pair finalized their divorce in August 1996.  
Andy Watts/Shutterstock
1997
Charles’ ex-wife, Diana, died in August 1997 following a car accident in Paris. William was 15 at the time, while Harry was 12. “[Our dad] was there for us — he was the one out of two left, and he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after,” the Duke of Sussex recalled in the 2017 documentary Diana, 7 Days. Charles memorably walked behind Diana’s casket with his sons at her September 1997 funeral.  
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2005
Charles’ engagement to Camilla was announced in February 2005. The queen consented to the marriage the following month, and the couple wed in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005. The groom’s parents did not attend but were present for the service of blessing and held a reception at Windsor Castle.  
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2011
Charles’ eldest son, William, married Duchess Kate at Westminster Abbey in April 2011. Charles revealed in May 2020 that he selected music for the ceremony, telling Classic FM that the future Duke of Cornwall “was quite understanding and was perfectly happy for me to suggest a few pieces for their wedding.”
Hugo Burnand/Clarence House/Shutterstock
2013
Charles became a grandfather in July 2013 when William and Kate welcomed their first child, Prince George. The future Princess of Wales later gave birth to Princess Charlotte in May 2015 and Prince Louis in April 2018. Harry and wife Meghan Markle’s son, Archie, arrived in May 2019, while their daughter, Lili, was born in June 2021.
David Hartley/Shutterstock
2018
Charles watched as Harry and Meghan married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018. After her father, Thomas Markle, chose not to attend, the retired actress’ father-in-law stepped in to walk her down the aisle. “I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course. I’ll do whatever Meghan needs and I’m here to support you,’” Harry recalled in the 2018 documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70. 
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2018
The royal family released two portraits of Charles surrounded by his loved ones — Camilla, William, Kate, Harry, Meghan, George, Charlotte and Louis — in honor of his 70th birthday in November 2018.  
MEGA
2019
The royals gathered at Buckingham Palace in March 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charles’ investiture as the Prince of Wales. The queen, Camilla, Harry, Meghan, William, Kate and more high-profile figures attended the reception.  
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2020
Clarence House confirmed in March 2020 that Charles tested positive for coronavirus. A statement released at the time said that he had “been displaying mild symptoms” and remained “in good health.” Charles told Sky News that June he was “lucky” during his battle and “got away with it quite lightly.”
IAN VOGLER/DAILY MIRROR POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
2021
Harry claimed during his and Meghan’s March 2021 CBS tell-all interview that his father “stopped taking my calls” after their royal exit in 2020, noting there was “a lot to work through” between him and Charles. “I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like. … Archie is his grandson. I will always love him. There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to heal that relationship.”  
Meanwhile, an insider told Us in May 2021 that Charles “may never forgive Harry” for the headline-making sit-down.  
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
2021
Charles’ father, Philip, died in April 2021 at the age of 99. “My father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to the queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth,” he said in a public address at the time. “As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure. Apart from anything else … I’m so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and in the Commonwealth who also share our loss and our sorrow.”
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
September 2022
Following his mother’s death, Charles was prepared to be crowned the king after being the longest-waiting heir apparent in U.K. history. The royal will also be the oldest British monarch to ever take the throne at age 73.
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
September 2022
Charles — along with his wife — sat on the British throne for the first time as king while addressing Parliament four days after Elizabeth’s death.
Geoff Pugh/Shutterstock
September 2022
The new sovereign cried when “God Save the King” was played at his mother’s state funeral.
Justin Setterfield/Pool/Shutterstock
November 2022
The king posed on the grounds of Windsor Castle by an ancient oak for his 74th birthday portrait.
Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Shutterstock
May 2023
Eight months after ascending the throne, Charles’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey. In addition to Camilla sharing a smile with her husband, William pledged his loyalty to his father during the ceremony, as well as gave Charles a kiss on the cheek.
WPA Pool/Shutterstock
May 2023
After the coronation, Charles thanked the public for their support in an Instagram post shared alongside official portraits from the event. “As the Coronation weekend draws to a close, my wife and I just wanted to share our most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped to make this such a special occasion,” the monarch wrote. “We pay particular tribute to the countless people who have given their time and dedication to ensuring that the celebrations in London, Windsor and further afield were as happy, safe and enjoyable as possible. To those who joined in the celebrations — whether at home, at street parties and lunches, or by volunteering in communities — we thank you, each and every one. To know that we have your support and encouragement, and to witness your kindness expressed in so many different ways, has been the greatest possible Coronation gift, as we now rededicate our lives to serving the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and Commonwealth.” 
Courtesy of Hugo Burnand/The Royal Family/Twitter
June 2023
The king gave his first Trooping the Colour salute on June 17.
James Veysey/Shutterstock
February 2024
Buckingham Palace announced that Charles was diagnosed with cancer. One week before the diagnosis, the monarch underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate. According to the palace, the subsequent diagnostic tests from the procedure discovered an “identified a form of cancer.”
ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

By Michael

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