Like all members of the royal family, Prince Charles has a carefully cultivated image. The heir to the throne keeps his personal life private… most of the time. Nonetheless, things still leak out from the palace that reveal what kind of person he actually is. And even the biggest fan of the British monarchy probably won’t know these 40 things about the Prince of Wales.
40. He loves squirrels
Prince Charles is very fond indeed of fluffy-tailed creatures. “He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the estate in Scotland – to the extent that he’s given them names and is allowing them into the house,” Prince William told Country Life magazine in November 2018. Awww.
39. He has 32 godchildren
Godparenting is serious business among the royal family – among all royal families, it would seem. Prince Charles has 32 godchildren, among them Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark, and Kumar Padmanabh Singh, Crown Prince of Jaipur. He was also made a godfather to Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla Parker Bowles’ son – which probably came in handy when he married her.
38. He’s a very picky eater
Prince Charles’ cooks seemingly have a lot to deal with. According to unconfirmed reports, the prince requires his eggs to be boiled for seven minutes, no more, no less. He also wants his vegetables steamed in mineral water and his gin made from Highgrove fruits. And in 2017 he and Camilla put an advert out for a new chef – but applicants needed to have a “working knowledge of organic food,” according to the Easy Bay Times.
37. He allegedly had a crush on Barbara Streisand
Prince Charles and Barbara Streisand met a few times, but according to the 2016 book Game of Crowns there was much more to it. Christopher Andersen, the author, claimed that Charles had her poster on his wall at university, loved her movies… and even had an affair with Streisand. What’s more, Diana was apparently aware of the fling! You can be the judge of whether that’s true, of course.
36. He was once named the best-dressed man in the world
When on camera, Prince Charles is almost always seen wearing stylish double-breasted suits or impressive uniforms. That’s probably what saw him named the “world’s best-dressed man” by Esquire magazine in 2009. He even beat out Barack Obama, in fact. “The prince keeps his wardrobe in appropriate style; we’re told he has a room laid out like a tailor’s shop,” the publication noted.
35. His parents didn’t visit his sickbed
When Charles was a boy, he sometimes fell ill, as children do. For instance, in 1957 he had both the flu and a tonsillectomy, although his parents didn’t come to visit him when he was suffering with the former. A few years afterwards, he contracted the measles, but once again his parents were absent. It wasn’t for fear of infection – the royals were inoculated – but they were simply too busy with royal duties. That must have been tough for Charles.
34. He apparently dreaded his wedding to Diana
Of course, the whole world knows that the Charles-Diana relationship ended unhappily. But it seems that Charles sensed even before the wedding how it would turn out. According to royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, Charles dreaded the prospect of marrying Diana so much that he wept on the evening prior to the ceremony.
33. He has a frog named after him
Prince Charles’s love of nature is well documented. And to honor his work protecting rainforests, a newfound frog was named after him in 2012. The creature is called Hyloscirtus princecharlesi, to be precise. A spokesman for Amphibian Ark, the organization that bestowed the name, told ITV, “It’s fairly unusual to name a new species after someone, but this is seen as something special in honor of the Prince.”
32. He can’t stand the press
There’s always been tension between the royal family and the media that reports on them. This was made clear in 2005 when, during a ski trip to Switzerland with his sons, Prince Charles was overheard uttering the following of reporter Nicholas Witchell: “Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. He’s so awful, he really is.” Oops.
31. He’s dived down to a famous shipwreck
Charles was among the final divers to reach the wreck of the Mary Rose, the famous Tudor-era warship. His dive took place in 1982, and in 2014 he reflected upon the experience during a visit to the museum where the wreck is now on display. “It was like swimming in a kind of lentil soup,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “You couldn’t see anything, or so I thought, until it was under your nose.”
30. He dated Diana’s sister first
Before Diana, Charles apparently first had a fling with Lady Sarah Spencer, her sister. But Sarah seemingly bore him no ill will, proudly telling the media that she was the one who’d introduced the future king to his new wife. Marriage didn’t seem to be her agenda – in 1978, she infamously told Women’s Own that she wouldn’t marry Charles “whether he were the dustman or the King of England.”
29. He was the first heir to attend his mother’s coronation
Prince Charles was the first British royal child to see his mother being crowned queen. He was four years old at the time and was seated between his aunt and grandmother at the ceremony. Charles has re-watched footage of the event since then and reminisced about how his mother rehearsed wearing the crown in advance of the big day.
28. He’s descended from one of history’s greatest villains
Believe it or not, Prince Charles is distantly related to the 15th-century ruler Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, who of course was the inspiration for Dracula. In 2011 Charles spoke proudly of this link in a documentary titled Wild Carpathia. “The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country,” he joked.
27. His parents gifted him an Aston Martin
Most people get something special on their 21st birthdays. But Charles, being a prince and all, received an Aston Martin DB6 MKII car. The company now holds Charles’ Royal Warrant, and the car itself is still in use. Charles lent it to William and Kate Middleton for their wedding, in fact. But, alas, the young prince managed to leave the handbrake on while driving it.
26. He tried to lobby politicians
One of the main rules of being a British royal is that you don’t try to interfere with the actual running of the country. But Prince Charles broke that rule! In 2015 the infamous “black spider memos” were leaked to The Guardian and revealed that the prince had been lobbying politicians about military and primarily environmental environmental issues.
25. He’s part of the Magic Circle
The Magic Circle is a prestigious society of magicians, one that’s been around since 1905. And Prince Charles himself is a member! In 1975 he auditioned for them by performing a “cup and balls” magic trick – and got in. Well, they were hardly going to tell him no, were they? Now, the cup and balls in question can be seen at the organization’s London museum.
24. He had a strained relationship with his father
Even Prince Philip has admitted that relations between him and Charles have been far from perfect. For instance, Philip discussed the issue with royal biographer Gyles Brandreth in 2016. “[Charles is] a romantic, and I’m a pragmatist,” Philip said. “That means we do see things differently. And because I don’t see things as a romantic would, I’m unfeeling.” But they have apparently grown closer in the years since.
23. He wrote and presented a documentary
Prince Charles has strong opinions about a lot of things, and one of those issues is architecture. He scripted and helmed a BBC documentary in 1988 called A Vision of Britain, in which he slammed some well-known buildings. Of One Canada Square in London’s Canary Wharf, he said, “I personally would go mad if I had to work in a place like that.” Nonetheless, the skyscraper in question is still there.
22. He almost married another woman
Prior to his relationship with Diana, Prince Charles allegedly came very close to marrying another woman. This was Lady Amanda Knatchbull (now Amanda Ellingworth), daughter of Lord Mountbatten. He reportedly proposed to her in 1979 but, according to unconfirmed sources, she turned him down. That was possibly for the best, however, since she was his cousin, after all.
21. He was caught drinking while underage
At the age of only 14, Charles and some friends went to the Crown Hotel pub on Scotland’s Isle of Lewes and bought alcoholic drinks. Charles himself had a cherry brandy. That probably doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but in 1963 it was scandalous. Buckingham Palace initially refuted the claims but later acknowledged that they were true. There was at least one silver lining: the incident made the Crown Hotel famous.
20. He reads Harry Potter to his grandchildren
According to Camilla, Prince Charles doesn’t just narrate the Harry Potter books to his young grandkids, he goes the extra mile. “He does all the voices, because he is a brilliant mimic,” she told the Daily Mail in 2017. “He’s extremely good with children. They love it.”
19. His transport is eco-friendly
Charles is so devoted to the environment that in 2018 he switched his precious Aston Martin, the birthday present from his parents, to wine fuel rather than gas. No, really! It runs very well, according to Charles. And that isn’t the only environmentally friendly modification that he’s made to royal travel arrangements. Now, the Queen’s train is apparently fueled by used cooking oil as well.
18. He can ice skate
Prince Charles has not only tried the difficult sport of ice skating, but he’s also apparently pretty good at it. When he was 13, he took lessons at the Richmond Ice Rink in London and ended up with a certificate of merit. One of his tutors was Betty Callaway, who taught the famous Olympic ice-dancing champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.
17. He apparently travels with some important items
According to an unofficial biography published in 2018, Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne likes to travel with his own toilet paper, toilet seat, mattress and paintings of the Scottish countryside. Charles angrily disputed the toilet seat claim, but as for the rest of the items, it’s anybody’s guess.
16. He’s invented a new dish
When Charles co-edited Country Life magazine to mark his birthday in 2018, he talked enthusiastically about food. He’d come up with a new meat-based dish, in fact, which he called “moussaka with grouse.” Moussaka is a Greek meal made with aubergines, potatoes and lamb, but Charles replaced the lamb with grouse. “It doesn’t always have to be lamb, in other words groussaka!” he wrote.
15. He’s trained as a helicopter pilot
The royals seemingly just love to be in the sky. Prince Charles became a certified helicopter pilot in 1974, after which he signed up with the 845 Naval Air Squadron. And it’s something he appears to have passed down to his children, because Prince William went on to be a helicopter pilot as well.
14. He’s founded a lot of charities
Prince Charles puts plenty of time into charitable giving all over the world. And it appears to be effective, with his charities collectively bringing in over $100 million a year. Among them are From Babies with Love, which helps abandoned and orphaned kids; the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which works on historic buildings; and the UK Historical Preservation Trust, the name of which speaks for itself.
13. He partook in a dirty phone call
Scandal hit the royals once more in 1992. That was the year that the contents of a very explicit telephone call between Charles and Camilla were leaked via a phone tap. It was reported across the globe and was extremely embarrassing for the prince. The incident was subsequently called “Camilla-gate,” and Charles would probably not appreciate anyone bringing it up in his presence.
12. He once sent Harry to rehab
When Charles found out that his youngest son Harry had been taking drugs and drinking excessively, he immediately packed Harry off to a rehab center for the day. It was a short, sharp shock, and it apparently worked like a charm. Charles was praised by the press for being so quick to react and for turning the incident into a learning experience.
11. He has his own food company
Prince Charles decided to establish his own food company in 1990. It’s called Duchy Originals, and its main purpose is to sell organic food. The media predicted it would be a total failure and wouldn’t last long – but they couldn’t have been more incorrect. The firm is still going strong today, in fact, with all the proceeds being donated to charity.
10. He might change his name
Upon ascending to the throne, royals have the option of adopting a “regnal name” instead of their given name. Whether or not Prince Charles will take one is a matter of debate. The last two historic kings of England named Charles weren’t especially popular, however, and one even ended up being executed. So Charles might decide to be King Charles III… or he could err on the side of caution.
9. He’s a fan of homeopathy
Prince Charles is a supporter of the highly controversial “alternative medicine” practice of homeopathy. Among the ideas he lobbied politicians about was the concept of establishing an official register of providers, and he even treats his cows with homeopathic medicine. But this has placed him at odds with scientists, who have accused him of giving out bad medical advice.
8. He was close to his grandmother
Though the young Charles had a distant relationship with his parents, he was close to his grandmother, the Queen Mother. She was the one who stood up for Charles when needed, apparently, and engaged him in activities he actually enjoyed. When she died in 2002, Charles was devastated and said in his tribute that she “meant everything” to him.
7. He talks to plants
Prince Charles has a rather odd habit: he talks to plants. In the 2010 documentary Highgrove: Alan Meets Prince Charles, he explained it. “I happily talk to the plants and the trees, and listen to them. I think it’s absolutely crucial,” Charles said. He really adores his shrubs, it seems. “Every tree has a meaning for me,” he added.
6. He published a children’s book
In his younger days, Prince Charles told the tale of The Old Man of Lochnagar to his younger siblings Edward and Andrew. As an adult, he had the clout to get that book published. It hit shelves in 1980, with proceeds going to one of Charles’ charities, The Prince’s Trust. Later, the story was made into an animated short, with Robbie Coltrane voicing the title character.
5. He won’t interfere when he’s king
Being a monarch comes with all sorts of responsibilities, including that of reining yourself in. In 2018 while filming a documentary to celebrate Charles’ 70th birthday, he spoke frankly about this issue. When asked if he would continue his lobbying, he answered. “I’m not that stupid. I do realize that it is a separate exercise being sovereign.”
4. He’s a painter
Who knows how he finds the time for it, but Prince Charles is also a painter. He likes watercolors most of all, and has actually created many artworks over the years. Though critics turn their noses up at them, it seems not everyone feels the same. Indeed, thanks to sales of the paintings, millions of dollars have gone to charity.
3. He hunts for sport
Despite his devotion to the environment and his love of (some) animals, Prince Charles still strongly believes that fox hunting should be deemed a sport. In 2002 he sent a letter to then-prime minister Tony Blair begging him not to outlaw the practice, calling hunting “genuinely environmentally friendly” and “completely natural,” according to the Daily Mirror. Animal rights activists were not impressed at all. And, yes, fox hunting was subsequently banned.
2. He’s the longest-serving heir to the throne
Prince Charles has waited to be king longer than anybody else in the history of the United Kingdom. But some people think that he should give up his claim to the throne entirely and pass the crown to his son William instead when the time comes. Nonetheless, when the Queen dies, Charles will almost certainly end up king.
1. He sleeps in the nude
Exactly how this is known remains unrecorded, but apparently Prince Charles forgoes nightwear and sleeps naked. He might have inherited this from his father, Prince Philip, who reportedly does the exact same thing. Indeed, this alleged trait was faithfully reenacted in the TV show The Crown. And no, no photos exist of either of them doing this!