After an apprenticeship that began as a child, Charles embodies the modernisation of the British monarchy.

Britain's new king, Charles III, said Queen Elizabeth II was a
Britain's new king, Charles III, said Queen Elizabeth II was a "cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother" who would be missed around the world. (AFP Archive)

Prince Charles has been preparing for the crown his entire life. Now, at age 73, that moment has finally arrived.

Charles, the oldest person to ever assume the British throne, became King Charles III on Thursday following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. No date has been set for his coronation.

He is the eldest of four children of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
 He was born on November 14, 1948, in Buckingham Palace. His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George.

He was the first heir not educated at home, the first to earn a university degree and the first to grow up in the ever-intensifying glare of the media as deference to royalty faded.

A shy child, he was sent to a boarding school in Scotland that was known for its discipline. He spent a part of his youth in Australia, too.

He completed his university studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1970 and became the first monarch or heir to the throne to receive a degree.

In 1969, he spent a year at the University College of Wales to learn about Welsh culture and language in preparation for his becoming the prince of Wales, which he became in 1977.

After graduating from Cambridge, he spent seven years in the military with both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

Longest-serving heir

Charles married Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, on July 29, 1981. The wedding was watched by millions of people worldwide. Diana was beloved around the world due to her glamour and activism on behalf of charitable causes.

The couple had two children together: Prince William, born on June 21, 1982, and Prince Harry, born on Sept. 15, 1984.

Charles and Diana were the subject of intense media scrutiny and it emerged that they had a troubled relationship. In 1992 they divorced, heaping further scrutiny on the royal family and its place in modern Britain.

In 1994, Diana gave a famous interview to the BBC in which she famously said there were “three in this marriage.”

This was a reference to Camilla Parker Bowles, with whom Charles later admitted in an interview that he had had an affair.

In 1996, Diana died. The event brought the world to a standstill and severely tarnished the reputation of both Charles and the royal family. Their reputations have since recovered, though by how much depends on who you ask.

Charles and Camilla then came to be together and married on April 9, 2005.

In a message marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, the queen said it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, be known as “Queen Consort” when Charles becomes King.

Charles was known to have an interest in the environment far before it became a popular cause, and continues to advocate on its behalf to this day, alongside other charitable causes.

He was the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies