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.
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.
Coronation Coverage: The Decades-Long Planning of King Charles’ Coronation • 17 Books to Read to Prepare for King Charles’ Coronation
One Month Old
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.
Around 6 Months Old
In this circa 1949 photo, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Elizabeth pose with Charles. The prince would later have three siblings: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother sits outside with her grandson Prince Charles and Pippin the dog in this circa April 1954 photo.
Almost Age 7
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.
Prince Charles arrives at the boarding school Cheam in Berkshire, England, on September 23, 1957, and meets Headmaster Peter Beck with his parents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adrienne directs the daily news operation and content production for Biography.com. 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.
The Biography.com staff is a team of people-obsessed and news-hungry editors with decades of collective experience. We have worked as daily newspaper reporters, major national magazine editors, and as editors-in-chief of regional media publications. Among our ranks are book authors and award-winning journalists. Our staff also works with freelance writers, researchers, and other contributors to produce the smart, compelling profiles and articles you see on our site. To meet the team, visit our About Us page: https://www.biography.com/about/a43602329/about-us
These Royal Family Feuds Are Full of Drama
Camilla’s Coronation Crown Courts Controversy
King Charles III