Charles, Prince of Wales

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Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales

Charles in 2015
Born Prince Charles of Edinburgh
(1948-11-14)14 November 1948 (age 71)
Buckingham Palace, London, England
  • Diana Spencer (m. 1981; div. 1996)
  • Camilla Parker Bowles (m. 2005)
Full name
Charles Philip Arthur George
House Windsor
Father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Mother Elizabeth II
Religion Protestant
EducationGordonstoun School
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge (MA)
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Air Force
Active service1971–1976
RankAdmiral of the Fleet
Marshal of the Air Force
Commands heldHMS Bronington

Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and he is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

Charles was born at Buckingham Palace as the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had attended as a child. Charles also spent a year at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge, Charles served in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy from 1971 to 1976. In 1981, he married Lady Diana Spencer, and they had two sons: Prince William (b. 1982) and Prince Harry (b. 1984). In 1996, the couple divorced following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris the following year. In 2005, Charles married long-time partner Camilla Parker Bowles.

As Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes official duties on behalf of the Queen and the Commonwealth realms. Charles founded The Prince's Trust in 1976, sponsors The Prince's Charities, and is a patron, president, and a member of over 400 other charities and organisations. As an environmentalist, he raises awareness of organic farming and climate change, which has earned him awards and recognition from environmental groups. His support for alternative medicine, including homeopathy, has been criticised by some in the medical community, and his views on the role of architecture in society and the conservation of historic buildings have received considerable attention from British architects and design critics. Since 1993, Charles has worked on the creation of Poundbury, an experimental new town based on his preferences. He is also an author and co-author of a number of books.