King Charles III: The life of our new king

King Charles III
King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace, London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

King Charles III became King on the death of his mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III on September 8 2022. Here, we take a closer look at his life up until this pivotal moment…

Words: Millie Sykes

Early Life 

King Charles III is the eldest child of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was born on the 14th November 1948 at Buckingham Palace the grandson of King George VI, and son of Princess Elizabeth, the heir to the throne.

He was christened Charles Philip Arthur George on 15 December 1948 by the Archbishop of Canterbury and became heir to the throne when his mother ascended to the throne in February 1952, three years after his birth. 

Elizabeth II's Coronation
Coronation Day, 2 June 1953 Credit: Photograph: Cecil Beaton. Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015


Charles was the first heir to the British throne that attended school rather than being privately educated at the palace. He attended Gordonstoun, a renowned Scottish boarding school that his father had also attended. 

In 1967 Charles began his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Anthropology and Archaeology before settling on History. He was the first British heir to the throne receive a university degree and left Cambridge with a 2:2.

During this time he also spent a term at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth learning to speak Welsh before The Queen invested him as the Prince of Wales on 1 July 1969.

Charles served in the Royal Air Force after studying at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire and carried on to be a member of the Royal Navy like many of his ancestors. 

King Charles III
Prince Charles and Princess Diana pose for a family portrait with their sons Prince William and prince Harry at Kensington Palace. Credit: AP/Press Association Images


Charles got married to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in July 1981. The glittering wedding was broadcast across the globe to an estimated audience of over 700 million. A year later saw the royal couple welcome their son, Prince William, into the world, shortly followed by Prince Harry in 1984. After 15 years of marriage, Charles and Diana filed for a divorce and separated in 1996. On August 31 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, tragically passed away after being in a car crash in Paris.  

King Charles III and Camilla Parker-Bowles, now Queen Consort, became engaged and got married in 2005. They had a civil ceremony rather than a religious ceremony at Windsor Castle with a subsequent blessing at St George’s Chapel. 


During his time as the Prince of Wales, the King was patron to over 400 organisations, including The Prince’s Charities which raise over £100 million each year to help young people. Since he was a young man he has been passionate about the environment and has taken steps to be environmentally conscious. Throughout his life Charles has also expressed interest in homoeopathy and methods of alternative medicine. 

Becoming King 

Immediately after the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022, Charles became King Charles III. His coronation as King is expected to take place in the summer of 2023.

King Charles III
The procession of the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II leaves through the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, at the foot of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland. The procession travelled up the Royal Mile to St Giles Cathedral. Picture Credit: phil wilkinson/Alamy Live News

After commenting on his mother’s life-long service to her country, he said, “I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”

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HM The King makes a statement on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II