Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms.
Charles was born in Buckingham Palace during the reign of his maternal grandfather, George VI, and was three years old when his mother, Elizabeth II, acceded to the throne in 1952, making him the heir apparent. He was made Prince of Wales in 1958 and his investiture was held in 1969. He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun schools and later spent six months at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge, Charles served in the Royal Air Force and Navy for five years, from 1971 to 1976. In 1981, he married Lady Diana Spencer, with whom he has two sons: William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The couple divorced in 1996, after they had each engaged in well-publicized extramarital affairs. Diana died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash the following year. In 2005, Charles married his long-term partner, Camilla Parker Bowles.
As heir apparent, Charles undertook official duties and engagements on behalf of his mother. He founded The Prince's Trust in 1976, sponsors The Prince's Charities, and is a patron, president, or member of over 800 other charities and organizations. He has advocated for the conservation of historic buildings and the importance of architecture in society. In that vein, he generated the experimental new town of Poundbury. An environmentalist, Charles supported organic farming and action to prevent climate change during his time as the manager of the Duchy of Cornwall estates, earning him awards and recognition as well as criticism over his opposition towards genetically modified food. He also supports homeopathy and other alternative medicines. He has authored or co-authored 17 books.
Charles became king upon his mother's death on 8 September 2022. At the age of 73, he became the oldest person to accede to the British throne, after having been the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales in British history. His coronation is scheduled to take place on 6 May 2023.
The British monarch is ex officio the head of Commonwealth. There are 54 Commonwealth nations. Thus King Charles III is a symbol of unity within the Commonwealth countries.
I was actively involved with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council which was earlier known as Commonwealth Business Council, for a few years and I have seen how neatly the Commonwealth officials work. The Commonwealth can play significant roles in resolving critical issues like geopolitical conflicts and refuge crisis around the world. At the same time the Commonwealth can promote human rights, freedom of press and make strong efforts for ending the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War. I attended two Commonwealth Summits and had conversations with a number of top leaders of the Commonwealth member countries.
Britain is making its final preparations for a ceremony and celebration that have been decades in the planning and re-planning: the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday.A ritual both ancient and made-for-television, the coronation service and its surrounding events will summon the world’s gaze on behalf of a royal family that has undergone a sometimes uneasy transition from imperial power to global celebrity.
King Charles III will arrive at his coronation on Saturday after nearly three quarters of a century in the public eye. Born in the final years of his grandfather’s reign, he became heir apparent to the British throne at age 3, a prince in an era when Britain’s mass media was growing and its culture of deference was fading alongside the vestiges of its empire. Cameras have shadowed him from the start. Often they were invited and tightly controlled, though sometimes with undesirable results nonetheless. And sometimes they were entirely unwelcome: Tabloids feasted on the drawn-out implosion of his first marriage, to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, has arrived in London to attend the coronation at the invitation of Akshata Murthy, the wife of the British prime minister. Britain has been a steadfast supporter of Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, offering both military and financial support.
Ms. Zelenska offered thanks to Britain for organizing the Eurovision Song Contest, which Ukraine won last year but will not take up the requisite duties as host of this year because of the war. The English city of Liverpool is hosting it this month instead.
“The inability of the winning country to host this competition should be another reminder to the world of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” she said.
The coronation will mark the formal ascension of King Charles III as the British head of state and Defender of the Faith. But it is also a triumph of image transformation, with his wife, Camilla — who was vilified for years in the British news media — crowned as queen.
While Charles’s crowning has long seemed inevitable, the public’s acceptance of Camilla — let alone her holding the title of queen — once seemed extremely unlikely. Some historians and public image consultants say the speed of her metamorphosis is staggering.
Visitors, hoping to get a good spot to watch the coronation procession, are lining the Mall. Royal fans are bringing tents, chairs and supplies so they can remain in their spots until Saturday afternoon.
FILE - Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and first lady Jill Biden laugh during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, during the G7 summit in England, June 11, 2021. The first lady will be back in London for another royal engagement. President Joe Biden sent his wife to represent the United States at Saturday's coronation of King Charles III. Jill Biden has celebrated the athleticism of wounded service members with Prince Harry, discussed the value of early childhood education with Princess Kate and sipped tea poured by Queen Elizabeth II.
Now the first lady is back in London for another royal engagement. President Joe Biden has dispatched his wife to represent the United States at Saturday’s coronation of King Charles III, the late queen’s eldest son. No American president has ever attended a British coronation.
“Headed to the U.K. for the Coronation of King Charles III – the first in 70 years!,” Jill Biden tweeted before her flight Thursday to London. “It’s an honor to represent the United States for this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries.”
Jill Biden was just 2 years old when Elizabeth was crowned in June 1953. She held the throne for seven decades until her death last September at age 96.
While in London, Jill Biden will engage in some soft diplomacy before the big event. She is traveling with Finnegan Biden, one of her granddaughters.
The first lady will spend part of Friday at No. 10 Downing St., the prime minister’s official residence, to meet for the first time with Akshata Murty, the wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Afterward, the women will meet with veterans and their families participating in a health and wellness program.
They will later visit a school that is hosting an event about the coronation. The first lady will also stop by the U.S. Embassy to greet staff and their families before ending her day at a reception King Charles III is hosting at Buckingham Palace.
On Saturday, Jill Biden will represent the United States at the coronation at Westminster Abbey, seated among several hundred heads of state, royals from other nations and other guests who were invited to watch Charles and his wife, Camilla, be crowned king and queen. Afterward, she will attend a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.
Jill Biden will also mingle at a Sunday luncheon hosted by Sunak and Murty at their Downing Street residence before her flight back to Washington.
President Biden has received some criticism for skipping the coronation, but the White House has cited precedent for his decision. Dwight Eisenhower, who was president in 1953, did not attend Elizabeth’s coronation.
Let’s look forward to prosperous and peaceful days to come under the reign of King Charles III in the throne of Britain.
Shoeb Chowdhury is a diplomat,
entrepreneur, author, poet, sports
organizer and Chairman, Editorial
Board of The Asian Age.