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8 Surprising Facts About About King Charles III

King Charles III was the longest-serving heir apparent to the British throne. He was just 3 years old when King George VI, his grandfather, passed away and his mother became queen, serving 70 years on the throne.

But, despite people remembering him more for his disastrous marriage with Princess Diana or his decades-long relationship with Camilla, now the Queen Consort, Charles spent years working hard behind the scenes to promote several charities and carry out his duties as a leading member of the British Royal Family.

However, there are more things people don’t know about His Majesty. It turns out that King Charles has quite some surprising skills and hobbies, from playing the cello to watercolor painting.

Read on to discover 8 interesting facts about the current monarch that even royal enthusiasts may not know!

prince charles

Baron, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1. King Charles III May Be the Last British Monarch Not To Be Born in a Hospital

Princess Elizabeth gave birth via Caesarean section to Charles Philip Arthur George on the evening of November 14, 1948, in the Buhl Room at Buckingham Palace. According to several sources, the room, which was usually used as a guest room, was turned into a “miniature hospital”.

As an aside, Matthew Halton from CBC Radio reminded people that the newborn royal member wouldn’t be king anytime soon. He added the following words: “If the king and the princess both live the full span of life, he may possibly be 50 or even 60 years old when he ascends the throne.”

Halton wasn’t entirely right, but he did have a point: Charles was 73 when Queen Elizabeth II died.

Getting back to the original idea, King Charles III was the last baby born at Buckingham Palace. Both William and Harry were born at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. His first grandchild, Prince George, who is now second in line, was also born at the same hospital.

2. Despite Being a Royal Member, King Charles III Was Picked On at School

Charles was the first heir apparent to the throne to be educated outside of the palace. He went to Hill House School in London, where he mingled with other kids. He eventually attended Cheam School in Hampshire, which is a boarding school that his father, Prince Philip, had also attended.

According to several sources, Charles missed his home terribly while away at school and sent letters to his family on a weekly basis. One reason for his homesickness is that he was reportedly picked on by other kids, who made fun of his weight and prominent ears.

Sensitive and not very athletic, Charles would rather spend time alone while drawing and painting.

3. Many People Thought King Charles III Would Drop His Given Name

It is common for monarchs to choose a regnal name that differs from their given name. So was the case of Charles’s grandfather George IV, whose birth name was Albert Frederick Arthur George but who went by Bertie for most of his lifetime.

And though the current king has been the most famous Charles in the United Kingdom for more than 70 years, British history had two more King Charleses in the past that were quite unpopular among English people.

Charles I was beheaded for treason, and the monarchy was temporarily abolished due to his actions; his son, Charles II, spent over a decade in exile until the monarchy was restored. He was pretty popular but was known for being a philanderer.

king charles III
The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4. King Charles III Has a Secret Service Nickname

Certain dignitaries visiting the United States are given code names of their own, and Charles is one of them. He was given the name Unicorn, an unusual name that’s oddly fitting — this mythical creature is Scotland’s national animal, and it has been on its coat-of-arms for over six centuries.

However, the first time a Scottish monarch used a unicorn as a symbol of strength was when Robert II or III had this legendary animal emblazoned on arms as well as on the Rothesay Castle gateway.

Among King Charles III’s first titles was Duke of Rothesay, which he received at the age of 5.

5. Richard Nixon Wanted Charles and His Daughter Tricia To Form a Couple

In 1971, Richard Nixon was the President of America. That’s also when Charles went on an unofficial trip to Washington, D.C., accompanied by his sister, Princess Anne. They were treated like royal dignitaries, taken to several D.C.-area sites and important museums, and given private rooms in the White House (Prince Charles slept in the Lincoln Bedroom).

According to some sources, the former president reportedly arranged to have his eldest daughter Tricia seated next to Charles whenever possible, which annoyed the Prince. Even though he didn’t actually hit it off with her, Charles was amused by the situation.

Many years later, on a short visit to Washington, he was still laughing about Nixon’s endeavors.

6. King Charles III First Met Diana When He Was Dating Her Sister

If you have watched The Crown, you already know this piece of information, so yes, it is true. Charles earned a playboy reputation in his twenties, and any young lady from a good family was considered a potential princess.

In the summer of 1977, the Prince met Sarah Spencer at a party held at Windsor Castle, and the two started to see each other at shooting and polo events. That November, Charles paid a visit to the Spencer estate Althorp, and that’s when he met Sarah’s younger sister, Diana.

According to Diana’s biography published in 1999, Sarah eventually claimed in 1978 that she wasn’t in love with the then-prince, adding, “There’s no chance for me to be the future queen. I don’t think he has met her yet.”

prince charles
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

7. King Charles III Is an Avid Watercolorist

Queen Elizabeth II may have been a corgi enthusiast and an avid horse breeder, but her eldest son, the current monarch, likes to spend his time painting.

King Charles III’s passion for visual art began at an early age. He was fortunate to learn several techniques from Robert Waddell, an art teacher at Gordonstoun, a Scottish boarding school. He later learned under the influence of British artists John Napper and Edward Seago. On top of that, he also had access to every artwork the Royal Family has in its Collection Trust.

At 73 years old, King Charles III has been painting for approximately 50 years.

8. King Charles III Founded an Organic Food Brand

In 1990, the current monarch added “entrepreneur” to his resume when he founded Duchy Originals to market produce from his farm. You may be surprised (or maybe not) to learn that his business has since grown into the UK’s largest organic food and drink brand.

Charles spent decades talking about protecting the environment and the benefits of organic farming, long before these topics became mainstream. In 1985, he converted his home farm — located near his Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire, into an entirely organic system. Five years later, the Dutchy Originals venture emerged.

An unsuccessful attempt to expand into the US, combined with the start of the global financial crisis, brought the company to its knees. Facing millions of pounds in losses, then-prince Charles went to Waitrose, a British brand of supermarkets. The company agreed to serve as the exclusive distributor, throwing Charles’s brand a lifeline.

You may also want to read 10 Controversial Reasons Why Some Brits Didn’t Want Charles To Be King.


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