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Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born November 14, 1948), is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II.

Charles was born in Buckingham Palace on November 14, 1948, during the reign of his maternal grandfather King George VI, as the first child of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was baptised there by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, on December 15, 1948.

The death of his grandfather and the accession of his mother as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 made Charles the heir apparent. As the monarch’s eldest son, he automatically inherited the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Charles attended his mother’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester by his mother on July 26, 1958. His investiture was not held until July 1, 1969, when he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle.

The Prince of Wales is both the oldest and the longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is the oldest Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales. He surpassed the record held by Edward VII on September 9, 2017. If he becomes monarch, he will be the oldest person to do so, the current record holder being King William IV, who was 64 when he became king in 1830. Upon the death of his father, Prince Philip, on April 9, 2021, Charles also inherited the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

The Prince of Wales took his seat in the House of Lords in 1970, and he made his maiden speech in June 1974, the first royal to speak from the floor since the future Edward VII in 1884. He spoke again in 1975. Charles began to take on more public duties, founding The Prince’s Trust in 1976, and travelling to the United States in 1981.

He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun schools, both of which his father attended as a child. He later 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, with whom he had two sons: William and Henry, the current Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Susex respectively.

In 1996, the couple divorced following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Diana died as the result of a car crash in Paris the following year. In 2005, Charles married his long-term partner Camilla Parker Bowles. Although legally she is the Princess of Wales out of respect for the late Diana, Princess of Wales she is known as the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales has five grandchildren. The children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The Children of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are Archie and Lillibet Mountbatten-Windsor.

As the Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes official duties on behalf of the Queen. He founded The Prince’s Trust in 1976, sponsors The Prince’s Charities, and is a patron, president, or a member of over 400 other charities and organisations.

As a self-described environmentalist, Charles has spoken publicly about issues such as organic farming and climate change, which has earned him awards and recognition from environmental groups. His support for alternative medicine, including homeopathy, has been the subject of criticism.

His views on the role of architecture in society and the conservation of historic buildings have received significant attention from British architects and design critics. Since 1993, Charles has worked on the creation of Poundbury, an experimental new town based on his architectural tastes. He is also an author or co-author of a number of books.