The Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, is heir to the throne of Great Britain. He was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, and was christened Charles Philip Arthur George. When his mother became Queen in 1952, Prince Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall. He also became, in the Scottish Peerage, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in 1958; investiture of these titles was held in 1969.

The Prince was educated at Cheam School and at Gordonstoun, Scotland, and spent part of the school year in 1966 as an exchange student at the Geelong Church of England Grammar School, Melbourne, Australia. Between 1967 and 1970 he read archaeology, anthropology and history at the University of Cambridge, and took an active part in undergraduate life. He graduated from Cambridge with a BA (Honours) degree in 1970 and took his seat in the House of Lords in the same year.

Meanwhile, the Prince was starting to fulfil his military duties, and took up his first Service appointment in 1969 as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales. In 1971 he spent six months at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell learning to fly jet aircraft and obtaining his RAF wings, and in the same year he entered the Royal Navy. Following service on a guided-missile destroyer and two frigates, he qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974. In early 1976 he took command of the coastal mine hunter HMS Bronington. The Prince became Colonel of the Welsh Guards in 1975 and left the Royal Navy at the end of 1976. He now holds the rank of Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy, Lieutenant-General in the Army and Air Marshal in the Royal Air Force.

On 29 July 1981 the Prince married Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral. Their two children, Prince William and Prince Henry, are second and third in line of succession to the throne. The marriage of The Prince and Princess of Wales was dissolved on 28 August 1996, and the Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash on 31 August 1997 in Paris. The Prince of Wales married his long-time companion, Camilla Parker-Bowles, in a civil ceremony on 9 April 2005.

The Prince is keenly interested in the environment, heritage and architecture, and is an organic farmer and a skilled amateur artist.

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