King Charles III reigns
King Charles III now sits on the British throne, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022, at age 96. Now that Charles is king, some royal family titles have changed (for instance, Camilla Parker Bowles is now Queen Consort, and Prince William is now Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge), and the former Prince of Wales’s responsibilities have changed too – he is the Head of State now, after all.
With this much change in the British monarchy, it’s only natural for people to be curious about the new king. We’ve seen key moments of his public life over the years, but even the most loyal royal followers may not know these details about King Charles.
He was bullied in school
Even royalty isn’t immune to the taunting of schoolchildren. King Charles went to boarding school at Gordonstoun in Scotland, and he didn’t have the best experience. His classmates picked on him, which would drive him to isolation. When a classmate would talk to him, bullies would start making slurping sounds to imply his peers were “sucking up,” according to Robert Jobson in Charles at Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams.
The teenager kept a stiff upper lip in school, but he didn’t hide his pain from his family. “The people in my dormitory are foul,” he wrote in a 1963 letter. “Goodness, they are horrid. I don’t know how anybody could be so foul.”
He’s a huge fan of leftovers
Piling leftovers into Tupperware seems undeniably un-royal, but King Charles’s disdain for food waste trumps any desire for fresher grub. “If we made roasted lamb and there were leftovers, we’d probably go and make Shepherd’s pie the next night,” former royal chef Carolyn Robb told a biographer. “The prince was very economical and very much believed that nothing should go to waste. If there were leftovers, they’d be used one way or another. If not for him, then rehashed and used for a meal the following day.”
King Charles would even pack up leftovers from tea time and reuse them day after day until they were gone, his former private secretary Clive Alderton added.
He’s a proponent of organic eating
For more than 30 years, King Charles managed the Duchy Home Farm, where he raised cattle, pigs and sheep using organic farming methods. He’s been vocal about the need for a shift in agriculture, announcing during a Soil Association event that “the very future of humanity may depend to a very large extent on a mainstream transition to more sustainable farming practices, based of course on organic principles.”
And the King of England reportedly practises what he preaches. He’ll always bring a pile of organic food to the royal family’s Christmas celebrations, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady.
He’s a workaholic
When he was Prince of Wales, Charles worked seven days a week, generally starting after breakfast and often working past midnight, according to the BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70.
“He does need to slow down,” Prince Harry said of his father in the documentary. “This is a man who has dinner ridiculously late at night and then goes to his desk later that night and will fall asleep on his notes to the point where he’ll wake up with a piece of paper stuck to his face.” Wife Camilla Parker Bowles blames his sometimes over-zealous work ethic on the fact that “he would like to change the world.”
He’s supported hundreds of good causes
Now that Charles is king, he’ll likely have to step back from his charitable duties to focus on the throne. As Prince of Wales, he was patron or president of more than 400 organisations. He supported everything from horticulture and hospices to rugby clubs and orchestras.
He wrote a children’s book
King Charles wrote the 1980 instant classic The Old Man of Lochnagar, based on a story about a Scottish man that he told his younger brothers, Andrew and Edward, when they were little. The picture book has since been adapted into an animated film, a musical and a ballet, with proceeds benefitting The Prince’s Trust, Charles’s charity for at-risk kids and young adults.
He’d fallen for Camilla before meeting Diana
When Charles was 23, one of his friends from university introduced him to Camilla Shand, hoping the two would hit it off, according to Charles at Seventy. The two became fast friends, and Charles fell hard for Camilla. Unfortunately for the king, his love interest was still in love with her own former flame, Andrew Parker Bowles.
When Parker Bowles’s Army duties sent him to Germany, Charles seemed to have a chance with the girl of his dreams – that is, until Charles himself left for an eight-month Navy duty in 1973. By the time he came back, he’d missed his chance. Camilla was engaged to Parker Bowles.
He didn’t really want to marry Diana
How could the fairytale romance between King Charles and Princess Diana go so wrong? Blame the affairs, blame the terror of the paparazzi – or just accept that their romance wasn’t what it seemed. The two had only met a dozen times before they married, and even after they were engaged, Charles started regretting the proposal. He told his friends at the time that he wanted to get out of the wedding because he hadn’t really gotten to know his fiancé, according to Charles at Seventy.
So why get married, if not for true love? “Things were very different in those days,” Charles later told close friends. “The power and influence of the media driving matters towards an engagement were unstoppable.”
He has performed in Shakespeare plays
King Charles is a supporter of the arts, especially when it comes to classic Shakespeare works. He even made an appearance in a skit for BBC’s Shakespeare Live in 2016, and in a 1991 speech he referred to the Bard as “the world’s greatest playwright – perhaps the world’s greatest poet.” His soft spot for Shakespeare might go back to his teenage years, when he stole the show playing Exeter in his school’s play of Henry V and later landed the lead part in Macbe
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