Britain's King Charles III waves as he walks into Buckingham Palace after greeting the crowd and looking at floral tributes, in London, on September 9, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

London: Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland on Thursday, the United Kingdom is swiftly readjusting to the accession of her eldest son, Charles. According to Buckingham Palace, he will take the sovereign title King Charles III, and his wife, Camilla, will be known as the queen consort.

Here’s what to know about the new king:

How old is Britain’s new king Charles?

Charles was born to Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, on November 14, 1948.

He was born in Buckingham Palace in London at 9:14pm. Just over a month later, he was christened Charles Philip Arthur George by England’s archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior member of the Church of England. The young prince attended a school rather than undergo tutoring at the palace; like his father, he attended Gordonstoun, a boarding school in eastern Scotland. He later attended Cambridge University in 1967 to study history.

Now, at 73, Charles will become the oldest British monarch to be crowned, and he has endured the longest wait to ascend the throne of any heir in British history. In recent years, as his mother’s health flagged, he took on more of her public ceremonial roles, however.

His mother became Queen Elizabeth II at 25 in February 1952. On her accession to the throne, Prince Charles, then 3, became heir apparent.

What is Charles’s new title as king?

According to Buckingham Palace, Charles will be known as King Charles III. He will not be King Charles of Wales. There had been media speculation that he could have opted for another name, such as Arthur or George. He will inherit other titles, such as head of the Church of England and of the Commonwealth.

Before his mother’s death, he held the title of Prince of Wales.

Saturday, September 10
10am: Charles meets at St. James’s Palace with senior officials known as the Accession Council and is officially proclaimed king.
11am: An official reads the proclamation aloud from a balcony at St. James’s Palace. It is also read out in other locations across the UK
1pm: Parliament holds a second day of tributes to the queen.

Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales at age 20 by the queen on July 1, 1969, in a ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in Wales. Ahead of the event, he spent time learning to speak Welsh and in 2019, he celebrated 50 years since his investiture alongside the queen with events for Welsh charities and organizations he supports.

Before Charles took the throne, his son William was known as the Duke of Cambridge. Now that William has become the heir apparent, he assumes the title of Duke of Cornwall. The title, created under a charter of King Edward III in 1337 and reserved for the eldest son of the reigning monarch, was previously held by Charles.

What title will Charles’s wife, Camilla, take?

Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. He divorced his first wife, Princess Diana, in 1996, and she died a year later in a car crash in Paris that stunned the world.

When Charles and Camilla married, it was announced that Camilla would not be known as queen when he became monarch, but as “princess consort” - at a time when British public sentiment toward her was more frosty.

But in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne during her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth II announced that she wanted Camilla to be known as “queen consort” when Charles became king.

Camilla, previously known as the Duchess of Cornwall, was referred to as the queen consort by Buckingham Palace in a statement following Elizabeth’s death on Thursday.

What are Charles’s interests and causes?

Charles has been known to champion a wide range of social and charitable causes as heir to the throne. He is patron or president of more than 400 organizations including golf, opera and military groups.

Nature and the preservation of the environment have been a major concern of his, even before the climate was more frequently in the news. Charles has driven electric vehicles and, like his mother, has promoted the planting of trees. He has backed large financial prizes for technology and science that can curb carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change. He also runs an organic farm, and his produce is available for sale in British stores.

The new king is also known for supporting youth charities. His Prince’s Trust charity offers skills training to thousands of young British people and was set up amid an unemployment crisis. Charles is also known to be passionate about architecture, Middle Eastern art and alternative medicines. He is also known to be a prolific letter writer, sending “black spider memos” (so dubbed due to his handwriting) to hundreds of staff and officials.

In the past, he has been criticized for being outspoken on such topics, where traditionally the monarch is more guarded about opinions. He has previously said he was aware that he could be perceived as “meddling” but added he had often “been challenging the accepted wisdom.”

What happens next?

On Saturday, Charles will be “proclaimed” as king after a meeting of the royal accession council at St. James’s Palace in London.