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30 Photos of King Charles III When He Was Young

The monarch reached many milestones in life before his ascension to the throne at age 73.

By Adrienne Donica and Editors
charles, prince of wales as a lieutenant in the royal navy, poses beside a photograph of his queen elizabeth the queen mother in his cabin aboard hms bronington
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Despite taking the throne much later than expected, King Charles III spent his entire life preparing for the day he would become king. That moment came on September 8, 2022, when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch, died. Charles is the oldest person to assume the British throne, at age 73, and now is putting a lifetime of learning and shadowing his mother to the test.

But long before he became king, Charles has lived a princely life full of travel, ceremonies, education, family, and even some relatable hobbies. Here are 30 photos of a young King Charles, before he reached age 50.

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One Month Old

princess elizabeth sits in a chair and holds prince charles as an infant, she is smiling at the camera and wearing an ornate hat and long coat, he is sleeping and wearing a long christening gown
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Born Charles Philip Arthur George on November 14, 1948, in London, Charles is the first child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. In this photo, then-Princess Elizabeth holds Prince Charles on the day of his christening, December 15, 1948.

Age 1

princess elizabeth waves while holding princess anne as an infant, a young prince charles also waves while sitting on a womans lap, all four people are riding inside the backseat of a car
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Princess Elizabeth waves while holding Princess Anne. A 22-month-old Prince Charles also waves from nurse Lightbody’s lap as the royal family leaves Clarence House for King’s Cross Station on September 17, 1950.

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Age 2

prince charles, elizabeth the queen mother, princess margaret, prince philip, king george vi, princess elizabeth, and princess anne pose for a photo next to a fountain outside
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The royal family visited Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in August 1951. A young Charles stands in front of his grandmother Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who is next to Princess Margaret, Prince Philip, King George VI, and Princess Elizabeth. Princess Anne sits in the baby carriage in front of the future queen.

Age 3

princess elizabeth stands and watches her 3 year old son prince charles who is sitting in a toy car that is green and holding a white ball of fluff
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Elizabeth watches her 3-year-old son play in a toy car while at Balmoral Castle in September 1952. That February, Charles became heir apparent to the British throne and received the title of Duke of Cornwall, after his grandfather King George VI died, and his mother became queen.

Age 4

elizabeth the queen mother, prince charles, and princess margaret watch queen elizabeth ii’s coronation, the two women are wearing ornate gowns, sashes, crowns and jewelry, charles is wearing a fancy long sleeve shirt
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Prince Charles watches his mother’s coronation on June 2, 1953, while sitting in between his grandmother Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and his aunt Princess Margaret.

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Age 5

elizabeth the queen mother sits outside on a patio and looks off into the distance, she has one hand on a dog and one hand around prince charles who is standing and smiling at the camera
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Elizabeth, the Queen Mother sits outside with her grandson Prince Charles and Pippin the dog in this circa April 1954 photo.

Almost Age 7

prince charles walks while wearing a kilt, he looks at the camera with a solemn expression
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Wearing a kilt of Balmoral tartan only for the royal family, Prince Charles poses for a photo just before his seventh birthday in November 1955. The next year, he attended the Hill House School in London before heading off to boarding school in 1957.

Age 8

prince charles stands on a step outside a building next to queen elizabeth ii and prince philip, charles is looking at cheam school headmaster peter beck who stands to their right, everyone is smiling
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Prince Charles arrives at the boarding school Cheam in Berkshire, England, on September 23, 1957, and meets Headmaster Peter Beck with his parents.

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Age 11

prince charles walks down the dressage ring as spectators look on, he is wearing a school uniform and carries a book and a jacket over his arm
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Charles walks down the dressage ring as he attends the first day of the Badminton Horse Trials on April 21, 1960, at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England. By this time, the 11-year-old had already begun taking on more responsibilities after being named the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester at age 9.

Age 14

prince charles, princess anne, and prince andrew walk at a train station, charles is walking a corgi and andrew is holding the hand of a nanny, behind them are other stationgoers
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Prince Charles walks a corgi next to his sister, Princess Anne, and brother Prince Andrew at Euston Station in London on August 8, 1963. Mabel Anderson, their nanny, walks on the other side of Andrew.

Age 16

princess anne, queen elizabeth ii, prince charles, prince andrew, and prince philip stand around a stroller that prince edward sits inside, everyone is smiling
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A family portrait from April 20, 1965, shows Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, and Prince Philip, with Prince Edward sitting in a stroller. By this time, 16-year-old Charles was attending Gordonstoun, a boarding school in Scotland.

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Age 17

prince charles waves and smiles, he is wearing a tweed suit jacket, white collared shirt and dark tie
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Prince Charles waves to well-wishers as he is driven away from Crathie Kirk after attending Divine Service with his parents in Braemar, Scotland, on August 23, 1966. The royal family were on holiday at Balmoral Castle.

Age 18

prince charles stands in a courtyard on a set of steps while wearing academic robes and a suit, he is smiling at the camera
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Charles studied archaeology, anthropology, and history at Trinity College from 1967 to 1970. After receiving his degree in 1970—the first royal heir apparent to do so—Charles embarked on a career in the military.

Age 19

prince charles sits in the pilot seat of a red and black propeller plane and looks over his shoulder
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Prince Charles sits in the cockpit of an RAF Chipmunk trainer plane during a flying lesson at RAF Tangmere on August 1, 1968. He later trained as a jet pilot and served as a helicopter pilot for the 845 Naval Air Squadron.

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Age 20

prince charles kneels before queen elizabeth ii who is standing in front of him and passing him a golden staff, charles is wearing a decorated military uniform and crown, elizabeth is wearing a yellow outfit and short tan heels
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Prince Charles kneels before Queen Elizabeth II as she crowns him the Prince of Wales at the Investiture at Caernarvon Castle on July 1, 1969, in Wales.

Age 21

prince charles stands in front of and talks to a group of schoolgirls wearing uniforms, charles is wearing a suit
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Prince Charles visited New Zealand in March 1970 with other members of the royal family. Here, he talks to a group of schoolgirls. The family also visited Australia during the tour.

Age 21

prince charles stands in front of microphones at a lectern and brushes a hand behind his right ear, president richard nixon stands beside and smiles at him
Car and Driver

Prince Charles speaks in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 1970, as U.S. President Richard Nixon watches. Charles was on an official visit to America.

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Age 27

prince charles stands on a ship and talks into a machine, behind him is open water, he wears a military uniform
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Charles served in the Royal Navy for several years in the 1970s. In this photo from October 28, 1976, the prince is captaining the HMS Bronington and giving orders during a mine counter measure exercise in the Firth of Forth, Scotland.

Age 29

prince charles learns a dance and moves with his hands raised while spectators look on, he wears a dark suit
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Prince Charles learns a soul dance routine from 16-year-old Pearl Willie, right, and other members of St George’s Secondary School in London on June 27, 1978. After his military service ended in 1976, the prince turned his attention to serving the public through a charity he founded, among other endeavors.

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Adrienne Donica
Deputy Editor

Adrienne directs the daily news operation and content production for She joined the staff in October 2022 and most recently worked as an editor for Popular Mechanics, Runner’s World, and Bicycling. Adrienne has served as editor-in-chief of two regional print magazines, and her work has won several awards, including the Best Explanatory Journalism award from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Her current working theory is that people are the point of life, and she’s fascinated by everyone who (and every system that) creates our societal norms. When she’s not behind the news desk, find her hiking, working on her latest cocktail project, or eating mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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