Prince Charles, the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II, is the heir apparent to the British throne. With his mother being the longest-reigning British monarch, her son has become the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. During this time, he has been able to render a historically long term service as the Prince of Wales, having been bestowed with the title in 1958, more than six decades ago.
As Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes several official duties on behalf of the Queen. In addition to these duties, he lends his time to numerous charitable organizations and societies of which he serves as either patron or president. The Prince is also an advocate of environmentalism and as such, the work he has done to protect the natural world has received special recognition and accolades.
What Exactly Does Prince Charles Do?
Since the end of the 17th century when the British royal family had its political powers whittled down, the royals have assumed a different kind of role. Still immensely respected, the Queen remains the Head of State and is mainly a focus of national identity, pride, and unity. With her advancing age, Prince Charles (though himself no spring chicken) has become more important in the royal schedule.
According to the official page of the Prince of Wales, his major responsibility is to support the Queen, represent the Queen by welcoming dignitaries into the UK, and represent the Queen abroad on official engagements, among many other things. While his official duties vary, they include primarily the following:
By virtue of his position as heir apparent, the Prince of Wales plays a prominent role in setting up special ceremonies for the Queen. These include her birthday ceremonies, military-related events, religious ceremonies, and celebrations marking certain holidays like Christmas.
The Prince of Wales is big on charities, having founded 13 of them himself. He is personally involved in over 400 charities and his interests span across architecture/conservation of historic buildings, organic farming, education, environmental sustainability, and alternative medicine. One of the charities in which he is a Patron of is the International Rescue Committee – a global humanitarian and relief organization committed to helping areas ravaged by war, disaster, and political persecution.
All of Charles’ charities, which form a loose alliance called The Prince’s Charities, is the largest charity enterprise in the UK with a record of raising over $100 million every year.
Representing The Queen Abroad
One of Prince Charles’ most important roles is representing the Queen overseas. The British monarch’s foreign trips have been scaled down in recent years due to her age. This means that her son has had to fill the void. As a result of all the work he has done in this regard, British Daily newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, has in the past described him as the “hardest-working member of the royal family.”
Throughout British history, receiving a knighthood from the Royal family is viewed by many as the pinnacle of social recognition. The Queen isn’t the only one who can do the honors. In a calendar year, there can be as many as 25 knighting ceremonies and those duties are shared between the Queen, Prince Charles, and his son, Prince William.
Receiving Gifts and Dignitaries
There is a constant stream of dignitaries at the palace, such that it would be impossible for the Queen to attend to all. As a senior member of the Royal House, Prince Charles and his wife Camila are always preoccupied with receiving guests and their gifts at the palace.
Promoting British Culture and Values
While the Queen is the titular head of the Church of England, the Prince of Wales plays a vital role in promoting cordial relationships between the different faiths that reside in the United Kingdom. He also lives to promote British values, tolerance, upholding tradition, and generally promoting the image of the Kingdom.
Prince Charles’ Marriage to Camilla Parker Would Always Be a Source of Royal Folklore
For many years, even while he was married to Lady Diana Spencer, the name Camilla Parker constantly popped up in the background as an intruding third party in a relationship that looked doomed to fail from the onset.
Charles met Camilla in 1971 after they were introduced by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the Chilean ambassador to the United Kingdom. For the next 18 months, the young Prince and Camilla hit it off and they exchanged love letters and phone calls for a long time. Charles would, however, move on to marry someone else as Camilla had done so earlier.
Camilla married British Army captain Andrew Parker Bowles on July 4, 1973, while the Prince moved on to marry Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981. This union produced two sons; Prince William and Prince Harry but the pair later proceeded for the annulment of their marriage in 1996. Sadly, in the following year, Diana tragically passed away in a car accident.
After the tragedy that befell Dianna, a lot of pundits continued to speculate about the role Charles ex-lover played in his life. Part of the issues that led to his separation from Diana was the fact that he and Camilla maintained a relationship during their marriage. This was confirmed in the infamous 1989 tapes where a passionate bugged telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla was made public by the British press.
In 1995, Camilla who had reportedly been living apart from her husband officially filed for divorce. About ten years later, the longtime lovers announced their engagement in February 2005. On the 9th of April of the same year, 34 years after their first meeting, the couple solemnized their union and Camilla Parker Bowles became the Duchess of Cornwall. They wed at a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. While the Queen and Prince Philip were conspicuously absent as a result of her bring the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Prince William served as his father’s best man.
The Queen subsequently attended the service of blessing which was presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. It was attended by around 800 guests, including other family and friends and VIPs that included prime minister Tony Blair.