A to Z of Britain's King Charles

17 Sep 2022 10:57pm
King Charles III. - AFP pic
King Charles III. - AFP pic
LONDON - Here is an A to Z of the new King Charles III:

- A for action man - Charles earned the nickname in his daredevil youth, jumping out of planes, escaping from submarines, windsurfing, playing polo and waterskiing.

- B for black spider - Before becoming king, he bombarded government ministers with letters, dubbed the "black spider memos" for his messy annotations.

- C for Camilla - Charles was devastated when, while away on naval service, she wed Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. Charles turned to Camilla after his marriage to Diana collapsed. They married in 2005.

- D for Diana - A badly-matched couple, their "fairytale" marriage fell apart in explosive fashion. They separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, a year before her shock death in a car crash.

- E for environment - A fervent environmentalist, Charles is driven by environmental preservation and organic farming. He was outspoken on climate change long before it became mainstream.

- F for faith - The new head of the Church of England sees his role as defending the free practice of all faiths. Charles has studied Judaism and Islam and tries to encourage inter-faith dialogue.

- G for Gordonstoun - Charles hated his years at the stark Scottish boarding school, describing his years there as a lonely "prison sentence". Toughing it out for duty's sake formed part of his character.

- H for homeopathy - Charles is convinced by alternative medicine and even uses it on his farm animals. His outspoken views have often infuriated some in the scientific community.
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- I for income - Before his accession, Charles's money came from the Duchy of Cornwall, the heir to the throne's private land and property portfolio. The surplus funded his family's public, charitable and private activities and he voluntarily paid income tax.

- J for jubilee speeches - His moving, rousing addresses closing Queen Elizabeth II's 2002, 2012 and 2022 jubilee celebrations, in which he referred to her as "Mummy", helped endear him to the nation.

- K for Knatchbull - The one that got away. Encouraged by Lord Mountbatten, Charles proposed to Amanda Knatchbull, his second cousin and Mountbatten's grand-daughter, in 1979, but she declined.

- L for lengthy wait - Charles was the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, since the age of three in 1952, and the longest-serving prince of Wales, since the age of nine in 1958.

- M for Mountbatten - The prince's great uncle Louis Mountbatten was his mentor and closest confidant, guiding his early life. His assassination by Irish republican paramilitaries in 1979 left Charles distraught.

- N for Navy - Charles served on the ships from 1971 to 1976, taking command of a coastal minehunter for his last 10 months. He served in the Caribbean and around the Pacific and learned to fly helicopters.

- O for offspring - Charles was a more hands-on parent to Princes William and Harry than his own parents had been. However, he has grown estranged from Harry after he quit royal duties and moved to California, sniping at Charles on the way.

- P for Prince's Trust - Charles launched the Prince's Trust with his £7,500 navy severance pay and the charity had helped more than a million disadvantaged youngsters by the time of his accession to the throne.

- Q for Queen Mother - Charles adored his "darling grandmother", queen Elizabeth, the queen mother. "For me, she meant everything", he said in a moving tribute after her death in 2002.

- R for residences - Charles will now be expected to move into Buckingham Palace, giving up his Clarence House official London residence. He also inherits the Sandringham estate in eastern England and Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands.

- S for style - Old-fashioned for some, impeccably suave for others, Charles's sartorial style is unwavering, perhaps because his outfits are the same: shoes from 1968, a coat from 1985 and immaculate double-breasted suits.

- T for Transylvania - The king, who claims descent from Vlad the Impaler, bought and restored several properties in Romania to help preserve its stunning nature and unique rural traditions.

- U for university - He went to Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, becoming the first heir to the throne to take a degree, graduating in 1970 with a 2:2. He switched from anthropology and archaeology to study history.

- V for Vision of Britain - Charles's 1989 book outlines his cherished architectural principles, calling for proportionate, aesthetic development in keeping with local tradition. He put his theories into practice, building Poundbury, a model suburb.

- W for Wales - Queen Elizabeth II made Charles the prince of Wales aged nine, and he learnt Welsh before his inauguration ceremony in 1969.

- X for X-Rated - A secretly-recorded 1989 phonecall with Camilla, published in 1993, was deeply embarrassing after tabloid newspapers got a hold of it and published transcripts.

- Y for youth - Charles thinks Britain could emulate Germany's national community or military service, as part of his drive to unlock latent talent in the nation's youngsters.

- Z for Zaza - Also known as a gin and Dubonnet. The royals' preferred cocktail before lunch. Former prime minister Tony Blair referred to them as "true rocket fuel".

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