Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British Crown, Charles Philip Arthur George, turns 67 Saturday, celebrating several decades as one of the most important members of the British royal family. The prince often keeps a low public profile and spends much of his time working in his garden and advocating on behalf of causes he cares about.
Charles is the eldest son of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II. Born in Buckingham Palace Nov. 14 1948, Charles grew up in the spotlight. His mother became queen in 1951, making Charles the heir apparent at only three years-old.
Charles married Princess Diana, a woman 13 years his junior, in a lavish ceremony in 1981 that was broadcast and watched by millions of people worldwide. Diana, dubbed the "people's princess," for her down-to-earth attitude and likable personality, was seen as a counterpoint to the conservative Charles, who many people found awkward and reserved.
While still married to Diana, Charles allegedly rekindled his romance with former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles. Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, one year before her fatal car crash in 1997, and Charles married Bowles in 2005. “Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?” the cheeky royal famously said in 1994 when news of his infidelity broke.
The crown prince’s two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have arguably overshadowed their father when it comes to media attention in the past decade. Charles has continued to perform his duties as a dignitary while promoting certain causes close to his heart, including global sustainability and youth education.
Prince Charles’ wit and astute commentary have often earned him a place amid the news of the day, in his comments on everything from fast food to Islam. Speaking on an issue he advocates fervently for, education, Charles once commented on the understated value of learning.
“We live in a materialistic world which does not always fully appreciate the intrinsic importance of education - the balance between the heart and the mind; between, in other words, the ‘efficient,’ ‘useful,’ ‘relevant’ things and those now seen as ‘inefficient’” Charles once said during a speech in 2004, as quoted by the Guardian.