What you need to know about King Charles III, Britain’s new monarch

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London – Of Death of Queen Elizabeth II, her first son Charles ascended the throne to officially become King Charles III. The new king, who is 73, has been the Prince of Wales — the title reserved for future British kings in anticipation — longer than anyone in the history of the United Kingdom’s monarchy.

“There’s no way around it, he’s not in the first flood of youth,” said Julian Payne, CBS News’ royal associate, who previously served as press secretary for then-Prince Charles. “What we will see instead is more than 50 years of experience on the world stage.”

He believes that Charles will approach his role as king in the same way that his mother would approach his role as queen.

“He, like his mother, believes this is about duty and service,” Payne said. “You do your duty. You render the service to the nation when asked to do it. You don’t seek it out, you don’t try to get it, but when it comes to you, you take on that role, and you try to do it the best you can.”

King Charles III issued a statement on Thursday in which he expressed his grief over the death of his mother.

“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” he said.

“We deeply mourn the passing of a dear Sovereign and a much-beloved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the wealthy and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.”

In many ways, Charles was the first modern heir to the British throne: he was sent to school rather than privately tutored at the palace, then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cambridge.

The young prince went on to serve with both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and was deployed on several warships throughout the 1970s.

But as CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports, Prince Charles’ role until now has been largely an exercise in waiting and in playing a meaningful role while he did.

Charles’ rocky, mission-critical love life

Charles’s life in the public eye has been shaped in many ways by the women with whom he has shared it. From an early age, the main task of the boy-who would become king was to find a wife and produce future heirs.

Lady Diana Spencer seemed to be the perfect partner, although from the start there were hints of the troubles to come. He was 32, she 20, and their marriage was a worldwide media spectacle.

Two sons, Prince William and then Harry, dutifully followed.

Diana and Charles in Germany
The Princess of Wales stands next to her husband, Charles the Prince of Wales, at a function in their honor held on February 11, 1987 in Bonn, Germany.

Getty


But it became clear to the world that the royal couple was not happy together. As more and more pictures showed that they seemed far away, the tabloids called them “The Glums.”

In their very public divorce drama, Prince Charles often unwittingly played the part of a villain for a voracious tabloid press.

Asked after the split if she thought Charles’ longtime confidante and love interest Camilla Parker Bowles had been a factor in her relationship’s breakdown, Diana said, “We were three in this marriage, so it was a bit busy.”


Princess Diana’s Revolution

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When Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997Charles’ public image was so tarnished that many wondered if he could ever become king. It was years before he was seen as the devoted father of his two grieving sons before the prince came out from under the cloud.

But he did emerge, and he even married Camilla in 2005 in the first-ever non-religious civil ceremony for a British royal family in England.

In early 2022, Queen Elizabeth II herself, clearly wishing there was no doubt about her intentions, said that when Charles became king, it was her “sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort while continuing her own faithful service” to Britain.

Charles said in a statement that he and Camilla were “very aware of the honor my mother’s wish represents.”

The “bonkers” activities of a prince

Once his life partner and future heirs were established, Prince Charles focused his efforts on the various charities and other causes he supported — not all of them hugely popular initiatives in their day.

“I suppose I spent most of my life trying to imagine and initiate things that very few people could see the point of or, frankly, thought were just crazy,” he said in 2016. “Maybe Are some of them now beginning to recognize a bit of pioneering in all this seeming madness?”

The joke of the man likely to become known as King Charles III was both a demonstration of his trademark wry sense of humor and a demonstrably permissible humility by a royal ahead of many in embracing concepts such as organic farming, conservation and the urgency to tackle climate change.

Prince Charles
Britain’s Prince Charles looks around a new eco center at the environmental and educational charity Roots and Shoots in South London, June 12, 2007.

AP


He has remained a passionate advocate through his charitable work for everything from environmental conservation to community empowerment. The Prince of Wales has been the patron or president of over 400 charitable organizations.

“I find that I was born in this particular position,” he once told an interviewer. “I’m determined to make the most of it and do what I can to help and, I hope, leave things a little better than I found them.”

The Prince and the Presidents

Prince Charles is no stranger to the corridors of power across the Atlantic. He has been to Washington at least twenty times and has met every US president since Jimmy Carter.

He met President Biden in November 2021 at the COP26 climate conference in Scotland. Mr Biden commended the prince for his leadership on environmental issues, telling him, “We need you badly…and I’m not just saying that,” crediting Charles for “getting the whole thing started.” brought”.

During former President Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom in 2019, Charles was supposed to sit down with the American leader for about 15 minutes, but they ended up talking for an hour and a half.

Trump later said the prince “did most of the talking”, but described the heir to the British throne as “a very good person” who “really loved climate change”.

“What moved me is his passion for future generations,” Trump said. “He wants to make sure that future generations have a climate that is a good climate, rather than a disaster, and I agree with that.”

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US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, British Prince Charles (2ndL) and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, await a meeting at the Oval Office of the White House on March 19, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

BRENDA SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty


In 2015, Charles met then-President Barack Obama for the second time during a three-day visit to the US. love them far more than their own politicians.”

“I don’t believe so,” replied the royal.



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