Lonely childhood, scandalous divorce and conversations with plants: the most interesting thing about the life of Prince Charles

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Lonely childhood, scandalous divorce and conversations with plants: the most interesting thing about the life of Prince Charles

Prince Charles

71-year-old Prince Charles is both a popular and controversial figure. The heir to the throne has been the focus of public attention all his life, and the attitude of the British towards him has changed over and over again. And now, while some praise the son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, others openly declare that they do not want to see Charles as king.

Prince Charles

Lonely prince

The son of Princess Elizabeth of York and her husband Philip Mountbatten was born almost exactly a year after their wedding – November 14, 1948. The child was born in Buckingham Palace, and 41 artillery volleys thundered in honor of his birth, and the bells of Westminster Abbey rang as many as five thousand times.

Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Philip and Charles
Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Philip and Charles

A month later, the Archbishop of Canterbury baptized a child, his aunt, Princess Margaret, became the godmother.

Elizabeth breast-fed her son for two months, then stopped because she got measles. Since then, the baby often began to remain without a mother for a long time, who, after giving birth, quickly returned to her usual duties as a princess.

Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Philip and Charles
Queen Elizabeth II, Princes Philip and Charles

For the first couple of years her husband Philip took little part in raising his son: he was sent to serve in Malta, so his father did not have time to “get to know” the child. True, when the prince returned to England, and the baby grew a little, a warm relationship was established between them: Philip taught his son to fish and hunt, taught him to swim in the palace pool.

Biographers write that already in adulthood, Charles admitted: there was always a distance between him and his father, because Philip considered his son too soft. He tried to raise the child in severity to make him more decisive and courageous.

Princes Philip and Charles
Princes Philip and Charles

In addition, Philip is known for his sharp, sometimes even insulting jokes, and they say that children often became their object. But if the younger sister of Charles Anna, who was self-confident and open since childhood, easily responded to her father’s wit, then Charles himself became even more isolated.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II with children, Charles and Anna
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II with children, Charles and Anna

The relationship of the growing prince with his mother can also not be called ideal: in the royal environment they say that Elizabeth often showed "if not indifference, then a certain detachment." Having ascended the royal throne, she began to spend even more time in separation from children, who, according to biographers, lacked even just tactile contact with her mother.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles

They say how, after returning from a six-month tour, the Queen and Prince Philip welcomed five-year-old Charles and three-year-old Anna with dry handshakes. Former Elizabeth’s personal secretary, Martin Charteris, once said that Charles “probably had no idea what a normal relationship between a mother and son should be like.”

But the little prince was close with his grandmother Elizabeth: the queen mother often took the child to her residence while her parents were on their next trip. She did not regret the grandson of time, instilled in him a love of art and, unlike the imperious father, did not try to "temper" his soft character.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Margaret
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Margaret

School problems

From the age of five, Charles received a private education under the guidance of his governess Catherine Peebles. Then the boy was sent to one of the best schools in London. He made progress in reading and writing, but mathematics was difficult for him. He was also interested in objects related to art – music, painting.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles

Then the child was transferred to another school, he had to move to study in Hampshire. Charles was then nine years old, and his parents considered it important that the prince grow up among his peers and feel like an ordinary schoolboy.

However, Charles found it difficult to join the peer society. The children didn’t care that their classmate came from the royal family: the boy was teased because of protruding ears and a closed character. The prince was very homesick and loved solitude.

He was often sick, in sports he did not achieve much success. Although riding a horse, for example, his mother taught Charles from the age of four, even his younger sister, Anna, was better off riding in the saddle. But the boy lacked courage and confidence.

Prince Charles

Oddly enough, the shy child found that he feels comfortable on stage: he enthusiastically rehearsed roles for school productions, listening to recordings of performances with professional actors. Subsequently, these “training” came in handy for Charles when he had to speak to a large audience.

After school, the 14-year-old prince was sent to Scotland, Gordstone's Boys' School, which Prince Philip had once graduated from. According to biographers, Charles called the five-year training there almost “imprisonment” and “absolute hell”. Although in public the matured prince later said that Gordstone gave him a lot, because "they demanded more from each student than in other schools – both physically and mentally."

Prince Charles

The conditions can really be called harsh: at any time of the year the windows were open in the rooms, and the students walked in short trousers. Every day began with a jog before breakfast, after which the students took an ice shower. By the way, Charles retained the habit of starting the day with a cold shower in adulthood.

Relations with peers at the prince and in this educational institution did not develop very smoothly: his former classmates talk about the real bullying to which the queen's son was subjected. Many of the boys did not want to be friends with the prince simply because they were afraid to earn a sneaky reputation. According to classmates, Charles preferred to ignore the offenders, did not get involved in fights and did not complain. He poured out his feelings only to relatives and friends who remained in the UK in letters.

Prince Charles at Gordstone
Prince Charles at Gordstone

Love

Over the years, Charles could not achieve great success in sports, but strove for them: they say that in his teenage years he really wanted to be like his father, even adopted his manner of behavior. And after Philip became interested in playing polo.

In the second half of the 60s, he began to take part in competitions, like his dad. Unfortunately, Charles often suffered injuries on the field, once he even had to stitch his cheek.

Prince Charles

But just one of the polo matches was a turning point in his life: at the game in Windsor, 22-year-old Charles first saw the 23-year-old Camilla Shand and fell in love. The press wrote that the girl allegedly approached the prince first with the words:

My great-great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. It looks like we have a lot in common.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

According to other information, it is true that they were introduced to a common friend – the former girlfriend of Charles.

One of the books about the royal family says:

Charles liked the way Camilla smiled, both with her eyes and lips. She laughed at all sorts of stupid things that made him laugh. He was fascinated and immediately after meeting began to look for a new meeting with her.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

A romance broke out between them, but a year later the prince went to serve in the navy, and when he returned eight months later, the girl was already engaged to the British army lieutenant Andrew Parker-Bowles. Camilla, before engagement, was at odds with each other, then converged for six years. Interestingly, before Camille, the young man met with Charles's sister, Princess Anne.

Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles
Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles

In 1973, Andrew and Camilla got married. The bride was very pleased with this marriage. Camilla's former classmate, actress Lynn Redgrave, said:

Finding a rich husband was her main goal. Camilla wanted to enjoy life, and she believed that marrying a rich man was the greatest pleasure.

Camilla herself, although brought up in high society, was not an aristocrat. In addition, she gained a reputation as a fickle person: the girl has already managed to change several boyfriends.

Camilla Parker Bowles with father Bruce Shand
Camilla Parker Bowles with father Bruce Shand

How did Charles react to the wedding of his sweetheart? According to biographers, this only inflamed his feelings for her. He continued to communicate with Camilla in a friendly manner: at least a couple of years after the wedding with Andrew, she appeared with Charles at a polo match.

At that time, the British press declared Marie Astrid, Princess of Luxembourg, the likely candidate for the wife of the prince. The Daily Express newspaper came out with a loud headline on the front page that read: "Charles will marry Astrid." The article claimed that in the near future the palace will announce their engagement. But the information about the imminent wedding was just a rumor.

In general, the press often wrote about Charles’s love affairs, however, as The New Yorker wrote a couple of years ago, it was nothing more than an image:

When the prince was 20 with something, in the eyes of the public he looked like a real playboy. But this reputation, it seems, was mostly created by the press and his assistants, trying to make the weird, emotionally immature young man more attractive to the British.

Charles himself, the newspaper writes, did not like this image: according to the prince, he was not taken seriously enough anyway.

Prince Charles

Bride

In 1977, the prince met 16-year-old Diana Spencer, who belonged to one of the oldest families of British aristocrats. It is interesting that at that time Charles met with Diana's sister Sarah, she introduced the young people to each other. The prince recalled that he immediately liked Diana with her cheerful disposition.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana

But the affair did not begin immediately, but only after three years. By that time, Charles had managed to make a marriage proposal to his second cousin Amanda Nutcull.

Relatives advised the prince to marry her: in their opinion, the 17-year-old Amanda was an ideal candidate for the role of the wife of the heir to the throne – "an attractive and pleasant girl in communication." Charles listened, began to often visit the home of Amanda's parents and travel with her family. During one of his travels, he raised the issue of marriage. Suddenly, the girl refused, reporters suggest that in Charles she saw her brother more likely.

In February 1981, the prince made an offer to Diana Spencer, and she accepted it. There is information in the press that the conversation took place in the garden of the house of Camille Parker-Bowles and her husband Andrew. It's no secret that the former lover of the prince was still present in his close circle, even when Charles had a bride.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles

The wedding took place on July 29 of the same year, approximately 750 million spectators watched it. The already mentioned article by The New Yorker says:

He was so afraid to marry Lady Diana Spencer – a woman 12 years younger than him, whom he did not like and did not even know well enough that on the eve of the wedding he wept bitterly. But nevertheless he fulfilled his intention – as the prince wrote in the letter, he considered that he “needed to do this for the sake of his country and family.”

Years later, Diana told the royal biographer Andrew Morton that she had been plagued by jealousy from the very beginning, as Camilla was always with her husband. Charles did not hide from his young wife that "part of his time will always belong to Camille."

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Diana and Charles managed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their wedding, but already in 1992 a scandal broke out: frank telephone conversations of the prince and Camilla were made public. The notes left no doubt that the couple had a passionate affair again. Journalists speculated that it began five years after the prince got married.

Numerous admirers of Princess Diana took up arms against her unfaithful husband, and the mockery of the same intimate revelations over the telephone rained down on the prince.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana with children: Princes William and Harry
Prince Charles and Princess Diana with children: Princes William and Harry

A month later it was announced: Charles and Diana are getting a divorce. Prince William was then ten years old; Prince Harry was eight.

For the first time Charles spoke of his breakup with Diana in 1994, when he gave a large television interview. According to the prince, he was faithful to his wife until he felt that "the relationship was irrevocably destroyed." When asked about Camille, the heir to the throne answered:

Mrs. Parker Bowles is a very good friend of mine. I have many friends, I was incredibly lucky in this … I have been friends with her for many years, as well as with my other comrades, and this friendship will last for many years.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Camilla divorced her husband in 1995, the divorce of Charles from Diana was officially formalized only in August 1996. Exactly one year later, the princess died tragically in a car accident in Paris.

New marriage

In 1998, as the British press notes, "an unobtrusive campaign began to present Camilla to the public." The Guardian reported that the prince introduced Mrs. Parker Bowles to his sons.

At the beginning of next year, Charles and Camilla first came to a social event as a couple: the prince organized a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sister Parker Bowles in London's Ritz. The prince and his girlfriend arrived at the event separately, but they left the party together, which the photographers captured.

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles
Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles

In the following months, lovers began to officially appear at events together.

In 2000, Camilla stood next to the Prince of Wales and the Queen at a celebration in honor of the 60th anniversary of the King of Greece. The public took this as a sign that Charles's mistress was accepted into the family. They say that earlier Elizabeth II refused any communication with her.

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles

Three years later, it was announced that Camilla had settled with Charles at his residence. The royal family reassured the public, saying: Parker Bowles will not receive funds from the state treasury for the repair and refurbishment of the house.

The public quite calmly accepted the engagement, to which everything had been going for a long time, and in April 2005 Charles and Camilla were married by law. The wife of the prince received the title of Duchess of Cornwall. When Charles ascends the throne, she will have the title of Princess Consort.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Surrounded by the prince, they say that he found happiness in marriage.

Camilla had a wonderful effect on him: they travel the world together, and he is now happier, more relaxed, more confident than ever before,

– The royal biographer Penny Junor told reporters in an interview four years ago.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Pictures and garden

What are Charles’s responsibilities now and what does he do every day? A significant part of his time is spent on work related to charity. The Prince of Wales heads 14 charitable foundations – that's not counting the four hundred organizations that are under his patronage. The areas of charitable activities are very different – from a free art school for gifted children and a fund for the restoration of historic buildings to helping the people of India, Pakistan and other countries.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Official visits and all kinds of meetings are also among the prince's primary responsibilities. For a year in Britain alone, he and Camilla visit dozens of cities.

В свободное время Чарльз иногда берется за кисть и рисует акварелью, продолжая таким образом традицию британских монархов: к примеру, рисовать очень любила королева Виктория. При его загородной резиденции Хайгроув даже есть магазин, где можно купить копию работы принца, правда, обойдется она довольно дорого — примерно в 2 500 фунтов стерлингов.

Принц Чарльз

Несколько лет назад 130 работ Чарльза представили на суд публики в онлайн-галерее. Общественность признала, что у принца есть способности, хотя критики были строги: один из них, например, назвал картины "настолько любительскими, что это даже смешно".

Пробовал себя принц и в роли писателя: под его именем вышло несколько книг, посвященных проблемам экологии. Мало кто знает, что в 1980 году он выпустил еще и детскую книгу на основе сказки, которую когда-то рассказывал своим младшим братьям Эндрю и Эдварду. Она называлась "Старик из Лохнагара" и повествовала о старце, живущем в таинственной пещере в горах. По книге был снят мультфильм и поставлен музыкальный спектакль. В середине 80-х Чарльз однажды сам прочел свою историю в эфире детской передачи на канале BBC.

Хорошо известно, что принц — увлеченный садовод. Он интересуется ландшафтным дизайном и с удовольствием собственноручно ухаживает за растениями в поместье Хайгроув.

Мне захотелось самому позаботиться об этом месте и в конце концов оставить его в куда лучшем состоянии, чем когда я его приобрел,

— говорил Чарльз. Он, кстати, однажды обмолвился в интервью, что считает важным "разговаривать с растениями", чтобы они лучше росли и были экологически чистыми.

Принц Чарльз

Как рассказывали СМИ, принц обустроил на территории поместья детскую площадку для внуков и отремонтировал домик на дереве, в котором когда-то играли его сыновья.

Принцы Уильям, Чарльз и Гарри
Принцы Уильям, Чарльз и Гарри

Говорят, Чарльз вообще любит проводить время с внуками и уделяет им много внимания — возможно, вспоминая собственное детство, когда он часто ощущал себя одиноким и покинутым родными.

Верхний ряд: Кейт Миддлтон с принцем Луи, принц Уильям, принц Гарри, Меган Маркл. Нижний ряд: принцы Чарльз и Джордж, Камилла Корнуолльская и принцесса Шарлотта
Верхний ряд: Кейт Миддлтон с принцем Луи, принц Уильям, принц Гарри, Меган Маркл. Нижний ряд: принцы Чарльз и Джордж, Камилла Корнуолльская и принцесса Шарлотта



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