In honor of the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales I will give some limited biographical information along with sharing some of my own thoughts.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was born Prince Charles Philip Arthur George; born on this day November 14, 1948. At the time of his birth he was the eldest son and eldest child to HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh (Princess Elizabeth) and her husband HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark). Prince Charles was born second in line to the throne and was the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He was baptised in the palace’s Music Room by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, on 15 December 1948.
The death of his grandfather and the accession of his mother as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 made Charles her heir apparent. As the monarch’s eldest son, he automatically took 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 2 June 1953. He is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.
Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, though his investiture was not held until 1 July 1969, when he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle. He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1970, and he made his maiden speech at a debate in June 1974, becoming the first royal to speak in the Lords since his great-great-grandfather, later Edward VII, also speaking as Prince of Wales, in 1884. Charles began to take on more public duties, founding The Prince’s Trust in 1976, and travelling to the United States in 1981.
In 1981, he married Lady Diana Spencer and they had two sons: Prince William (b. 1982)—later to become Duke of Cambridge—and Prince Henry (b. 1984)—later to become Duke of Sussex. In 1996, the couple divorced following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris the following year. In 2005, Charles married long-time friend Camilla Parker Bowles. Instead of assuming her rightful title of HRH Princess of Wales, Camilla has assumed the title Duchess of Cornwall.
Yesterday I watched the BBC special on the Prince of Wales 70th Birthday. It is an excellent program that highlights his life without being biographical. One of the issues he put to rest was if he’ll continue with his charities and other issues he is passionate about. He said he would not and that he understands the differences between the role he is in now and the role he will someday take on. This puts to rest the question, the rumor, that the Prince would reign differently than his mother when he becomes king. The fear has been that if the Prince of Wales continues with his charities and causes he may overstep his constitutional bounds as king and meddle in affairs of State. I for one am glad to hear he will not for it will maintain the tradition of the Crown being above Party Politics.
I have a great admiration for the Prince of Wales. He is an intelligent, articulate man with warmth and charm and a sense of humor and very personable. He has a passionate care and concern for the environment and the wellbeing of people in general. Though he has been in training for his ultimate role of king for years he has carved out his own meaningful life and identity and developed qualities that will serve him well as king. Though I hope it will be many more years before the Prince of Wales assumes the august role for which he was born, in his own time I believe the personal qualities he possesses will enable the Prince to become an excellent king and a noble servant to his nation. God bless the Prince of Wales.