Who is King Charles III of the United Kingdom? After more than 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s steady reign over the United Kingdom, Prince Charles ascended the throne upon her death and is now King Charles III.
The first-born son of the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles was next in line for the throne from the time he was 3 years old, making him the longest serving, and the most prepared, heir to the throne in British history.
Elizabeth was the reigning monarch from February 1952, when she was 25, up until her death at 96 last week.
Now that Charles has become king, people (especially Americans) are asking questions about who he is, his role in the royal family and what he is expected to do during his reign.
Here’s everything to know about King Charles III.
Now begins the reign of King Charles III:What kind of sovereign will he be? Not like his mother
Who is King Charles III of the United Kingdom?
Born, Nov. 14, 1948, Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband, Prince Philip.
Upon the death of the queen on Sept. 8, 2022, Charles, formerly known as Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, became king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
King Charles is known for his previous marriage to the late Princess Diana. The couple had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry.
Legally, Charles became king from the moment of the queen’s death, meaning he is head of state for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a dozen other countries.
He’s also the titular head of the Church of England, head of the military and the judiciary, and carries a host of other royal titles and duties.
The name he chose as his regnal, or reign, name is his own first name, Charles, and it is followed by the Roman numeral III because he is the third king Charles in British history.
In the days following the queen’s death, Charles was formally proclaimed as monarch in an accession ceremony and gave his first formal address as king.
Charles will likely be crowned within the year; the ancient ritual of the coronation requires advance planning, although a lot of that has already been done.
But there hasn’t been a coronation since June 1953 when the late queen was crowned.
Is King Charles married?
Charles is married to the former Camilla Parker Bowles, who was known as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. She is now the Queen Consort.
Legally, Camilla was the Princess of Wales when she married Charles in 2005 but it was decided at the time she would assume one of the Charles’ lesser titles instead.
Diana long blamed Camilla for the breakup of her marriage to Charles and public fury remained when Camilla and Charles married eight years after Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris.
When did Charles marry Camilla?
Charles married Camilla in 2005 in two ceremonies in Windsor.
Right after the reception for 800 guests at Windsor Castle, the couple left for a honeymoon in Scotland.
Few Brits thought the wedding would actually happen. A future king had never married a divorced woman.
Plus, Camilla was once the most despised woman in Britain, the alleged home-wrecker who broke up the marriage of Charles and Diana.
But by the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary, public perception of Camilla began to change as the royal family, including the queen, embraced her.
Charles once said she would never be called Queen Camilla when he assumed the throne.
His wishes on that later changed, and the late queen made if official in February 2022 when she announced she wanted her heir’s second wife to be known as Queen Consort.
When were Prince Charles and Princess Diana married?
Charles was first married to Lady Diana Spencer, later known as the beloved Princess Diana.
They were married for 15 years from 1981 to 1996. Diana was 20 and Charles was 32 at the time of their nuptials.
The wedding was billed as a fairy tale, but their married life was not.
As the public would learn later, Charles had always been in love with Camilla, a woman he’d met over a decade prior in 1970. During the marriage of Charles and Diana, there were affairs on both sides.
The royal couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
What will Camilla be called now?
People could call her just Queen Camilla, but her official title is Queen Consort Camilla, or Camilla, the Queen Consort.
The vexing question of what to call her once Charles assumed the throne was resolved when the late queen announced during festivities marking her seven decades on the throne that the then-Duchess of Cornwall should be known as Queen Consort, as opposed to Princess Consort, when Charles became king.
“Queen Consort” is the fancy name for the wife of a reigning king.
In general, a queen consort’s job is to support the king in any way she can.
As with the first lady of the United States, there’s no job description, no official duties and no salary.
But there’s high visibility, high pressure and high expectations from the public whose taxes pay for the monarchy.
If King Charles dies, will Camilla be queen?
While we call her Queen Camilla, she will never be the reigning queen. Only members of the royal family who are born in the direct line of succession can become the monarch.
With Prince William and his son Prince George, 9, the next two in line for the throne after King Charles, a reigning queen is unlikely to come anytime soon.
(There have only been six reigning queens in British history since 1066.)
Who are King Charles’ siblings?
King Charles has three siblings: From oldest to youngest, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, 72, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, 62, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, 58.
They are all children of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Charles’ only sister, Princess Anne, is a full-time working royal, currently 16th in line for the throne.
She appears in line after her younger brothers because she was born before the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, which ended the system of male primogeniture.
What is King Charles III known for?
Beyond his role in the royal family as William and Harry’s father, the queen’s son and the new king, Charles is known for his long and steady service as the Prince of Wales, as he carried out his official and ceremonial duties and established more than 20 charities, including The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation and The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund.
As Queen Elizabeth’s mobility waned in the months before her death, Charles stepped in for the monarch, including standing in for her for the first time at the state opening of Parliament this year, when he delivered what has long been called “the Queen’s Speech.” Now it will be called “the King’s Speech.”
What are King Charles’ interests? Did he serve in the military?
King Charles has shown keen interest in environmental causes including organic farming, architecture and urban planning, and fighting climate change.
He served in the military, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy in the 1970s, and will no doubt be on hand for many military parades and events during his reign.
As king, Charles is expected to “slim down” the monarchy – reduce the number of working senior royals supported by taxpayers – and reduce the overall multimillion-pound annual cost of the royal show.