Who is King Charles III?

A look at the new King of the United Kingdom.

Who is King Charles III?

"As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles that are at the heart of our nation. And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or the Realms and territories across the world and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love, as I have throughout my life." King Charles III vowed as he mourned his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. 

Prince Charles acceded to the throne after his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s demise to become King Charles III, becoming the head of the Commonwealth, an association of 56 independent countries and 2.4 billion citizens.

King Charles III was born on November 14th, 1948, in Buckingham Palace to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1982, he married Princess Diana Spencer, and they were blessed with two children, Prince William (Conferred Prince of Wales and next in succession) and Prince Harry. In 1996, he divorced Diana and in 2005 married Camilla Parker (Queen Consort and Duchess of Cornwall). 

In 1961, He briefly spent a term at the University College of Wales learning Welsh in readiness for his investiture as the Prince of Wales. 

In 1967, King Charles III attended Trinity College in Cambridge after private schooling at Buckingham Palace. He later proceeded to take a bachelor’s degree and became the first in his heirs to the British crown to earn said degree when he graduated with honours from Cambridge University in June 1970. 

In 1970, 21-year-old Prince Charles gave his first speech on climate change, warning of the dangerous effects of plastics. Over the years, he has been very vocal on soil, ocean, forest, and biodiversity conservation and pushed organisations to invest in nature-preserving programs. King Charles III is concerned about protecting the environment and has a history of campaigning for better climate change, conservation, and tackling climate change. This can be depicted even at his Clarence House residence, where he has planted trees, organic fruits and vegetables, and flowers at his Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. 

In 1971, he served the military Royal Navy and was later promoted to acting Lieutenant. While in the Military, he also served as a helicopter pilot for Naval Air Squadron. 

In 1976, he started the Prince’s Trust to help vulnerable 11 to 30-year-olds get their lives back on track. The trust is the leading UK charity, with over 950,000 benefiting from it. In addition, he has established more than fourteen charities, a patron, president, or member of more than 400 other charities and organisations. All these charities form the largest charity project in the United Kingdom, raising over a hundred million pounds yearly. The charities cover many areas including youth education, environmental sustainability, and responsible business. King Charles showed interest in alternative medicines, where he advocated for other general practitioners to offer herbal and other alternative treatments to NHS patients.

In 1993, he founded Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, promoting complementary and alternative medicines and lobbied for its inclusion in the NHS. Although he received opposition from the medical communities over his advocacy, the organisation still champions the course. In 1984, he expressed his views on modern housing in a speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects criticising modern architecture and calling for old traditional architecture. 

In 2008 as Prince, he was described as the hardest working member of the Royal Family since he carried out 560 official engagements that year, 600 in 2011 and 499 in 2010. Some of his engagements included issues regarding environmental conservation. The media has tagged King Charles III with different titles on their headlines, some like E&E News headlines read, ‘A king for the climate takes the throne in England’, The Guardian ‘As Green as King Charles III’, VOA news ‘The Green King’. 

In 2021 when the COP26 climate summit was held in Scotland and attended by world leaders, King Charles urged world leaders to increase their efforts to confront global warming since time is running out. He not only delivered speeches but also worked with actors from the private and public sectors. Also, in 2010, he established International Sustainability to address issues like protecting the rainforest and marine ecosystems.

King Charles III will have the daunting challenge of maintaining continuity of service since the United Kingdom has never known a world without Queen Elizabeth II. Therefore, the citizens expect King Charles to not only reframe the Royal Family’s role but also tackle climate change issues and energy crises and maintain good international relations with other states.

Header Image Credit: Dan Marsh

Author

John Muchiri

John Muchiri Trainee

John is a Trainee Journalist at Voice and has produced research papers and film documentaries on food security and early childhood pregnancies. John has BA in Journalism and Mass Communication, MA in International Relations, and MA in International Development. He is passionate about politics, food security, and immigration issues. John loves to travel and experience different cultures.

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