Happy Birthday to King Charles III! 15 facts about His Majesty

The Monarch marks his 74th birthday and first as King

Today is The King’s Birthday! To mark the occasion, we’re sharing our favourite facts about the Monarch, who succeeded to the throne less than two months ago, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

1 – Charles was the longest-serving heir to the throne, with his mother acceding to the throne when he was three.

The King turns 74 today. (Royal Family)

2 – During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018, Commonwealth Leaders decided The Prince of Wales would succeed the Queen as the next Head of the Commonwealth. The Head of the Commonwealth was new to George VI and not determined to be a hereditary position in line with the British Monarch.

3 – The King was invested as the Prince of Wales on 1st July 1969 during a televised ceremony at Caernarvon Castle. It was broadcast to nine European countries, the Commonwealth and the United States.

Prince Charles hugs Prince Louis is a private photo. (Clarence House)

4 – His Majesty has two children (Prince William and Prince Harry) and five grandchildren (George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet).

5 – Whilst studying at the University of Cambridge, the then-Prince of Wales played the cello, performing in a symphony concert by the Trinity College Orchestra on 4th December 1967. He had previously learnt to the play the piano, trumpet and cello, whilst at Gordonstoun.

6 – Charles has been an advocate for tackling environmental and climate issues for over five decades. In 2020, Charles launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative – a programme designed for the private sector to help create a greener future.

Prince Charles lays a wreath for The Queen and on behalf of the nation (@RoyalFamily)

7 – The King had an extensive career in the Royal Navy. He trained at at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon, to qualify as a helicopter pilot in 1974. He went on to serve alongside Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, where he completed military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies, serving alongside a detachment of Royal Marines – of which he is now Captain General.

8 – Charles first laid the nation’s wreath on behalf of the Queen during the Remembrance Day Service in 2017 at the Cenotaph.

9 – The Prince has a frog named after him: Hyloscirtus Princecherlesi or Prince Charles Magnificent Tree Frog.

10 – Charles obtained his RAF wings as Flight Lieutenant Wales in August 1971. He was the first member of The Royal Family to do so.

11 – The then-Prince Charles bought Highgrove in 1980, just a couple of miles from Tetbury in the Cotswolds. He transformed the gardens into an organic haven, which he had previously described as ‘a form of worship’.

12 – The first formal photograph of The King was taken by Cecil Beaton in December 1948. Beaton was known for taking photographs of the Royal Family.

Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William at the State Opening of Parliament. Queen Elizabeth II missed the ceremony for the first time in 59 years because of mobility issues

13 – The then-Prince’s first official visit abroad was to Malta, when he was five years old.

14 – In 1970, Charles brought an Aston Martin DB6 Mark 2 Volante, which he converted to run on E85 bioethanol – made from by-products of the wine and cheese industries in 2008!

15 – Charles acted as the Queen’s Counsellor of State for the first time during this year’s State Opening of Parliament. Charles was one of the two Counsellors of State, along with the then-Duke of Cambridge, chosen for the occasion of the four available.

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