Charles III of the United Kingdom
|Reign||7 July, 1951 - 15 January, 1997|
|Coronation||20 September, 1951|
|Born||Charles Frederick William Louis|
15 January 1917
Haga Palace, Sweden
|Died||2 March 2011 (aged 94)|
Edinburgh Palace, Scotland
|Burial||5 March 2011|
Lauren Bacall (m. 1946)
|Mother||Victoria Louise of Prussia|
|Branch/service||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1942-1945 (active service)|
|Unit||6th Air Intelligence Squadron|
Charles III (Charles Frederick William Louis; 15 January, 1917 - 3 March, 2011) was King of the United Kingdom from 1951 to 1997. Known for his controversial marriage to the Jewish American actress Lauren Bacall, Charles was also known for his somewhat outspoken support for decolonisation, political and social liberalism, and his personal opposition against what he termed as American neocolonialism. His reign, which spanned throughout most of the second half of the 20th century saw a series of wide-ranging and dramatic reforms that effectively transformed Britain's political and social climate, all of which were either personally directed and orchestrated by Charles himself or his wife. Prior to and during the Second World War, Charles respectively worked first as an actor in Hollywood before subsequently enlisting in the United States Air Force for the Pacific War.
A prolific tennis player, Charles competed several times in the Wimbledon championships, mostly alongside his adoptive sister, Princess Ingrid, with whom he won the championships several times in the year 1934, 1936, 1946, and the year 1947.
On January 15, 1997, following his 80th birthday, Charles formally abdicated his throne in favour of his son, William VI on the grounds of "ill health" and "personal issues", becoming the first British monarch to do so. With both government and public approval, Charles was allowed to retain his title of King which lasted until his death in 2011. Following his death, he was posthumously given the epithet the Great, the second and first monarch in both English and British histories to be bestowed with the epithet, after his 9th century predecessor, Alfred the Great.
At the time of his death, aged 94 years old, Charles is the longest-lived British monarch, and was also the oldest living former sovereign monarch. Upon his death, the designation passed to the former and last Sultan of Zanzibar, Jamshid bin Abdullah. On 1 June 2021, he was surpassed by the former Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican City.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Prince of Wales
- 3 King of the United Kingdom
- 4 Abdication
- 5 Marriage
- 6 Personal Information
- 7 Titles & Honours
- 8 Honours
- 9 Ancestry
Charles was born on January 15th 1917 to the then Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia. A member of the ruling House of Hanover of the United Kingdom, Charles was also closely related to the German royal family due to his mother's standing as the daughter of a German Emperor. However, following the implementation of the Royal Titles Revocation Act 1924 in the aftermath of the First World War, Charles's Prussian titles, which included that of Prince of Prussia were accordingly deprived by his father as to placate British nationalists whom had been critical of the royal family's heavily Germanised background. Although his given name had been of his father's choice, his middle names and surname had been that of his mother's whom, with her husband's approval, had named the young Charles after his Prussian ancestors, German Emperors Frederick III, and Wilhelm I.
In 1913, approximately four years prior to his birth, Charles's parents, whom had then been recently married were forced to return to Sweden, prolonging their initial exile to the country due to the rising political and social tensions in Europe. Thus, unlike his predecessors, Charles was born instead in the Swedish royal residence of Haga Palace in Stockholm. His birth, when informed towards the British government of Prime Minister David Lloyd George initially became a subject of controversy as it had taken place within a foreign territory, prompting assumptions regarding Charles's potential inability to succeed to the throne as the heir apparent to his father, the then Prince of Wales. Ultimately, Charles's eligibility to succeed to the throne remained unaffected due to Sweden's application of the jus sanguinis principle, which did not automatically confirmed Charles as a Swedish citizen, though he was instead given a British citizenship by virtue of his father's undisputed nationality, thereby allowing him to naturally succeed to the throne.
For the first couple of years, Charles and his family lived under the protection of King Gustaf V and members of the Swedish royal family. In particular, his godparents, King Gustaf V and Queen Victoria of Sweden doted greatly on the infant Charles. At the same time, as a relatively young infant, Charles was occasionally looked after by the King's own granddaughter, Princess Ingrid, the daughter of the later King Gustaf VI Adolf and Princess Margaret of Connaught.
Prince of Wales
At the age of six, the death of Charles's grandfather, King George V led him to be subsequently created Prince of Wales as heir apparent to his father, the new King Edward VII. Upon their return to the United Kingdom, despite being mostly confined to the interiors of Buckingham Palace alongside his brother William and his adopted sister Ingrid, Charles's development as a young prince was relatively undeterred, with Ingrid in particular being a major figure behind his childhood development. While the young prince excelled in his academic subjects, Charles also proved to be adept in horseback riding, and was considerably versed in the arts of hunting, having at times accompanied his father on private hunting trips in both the United Kingdom and Canada on several occasions.
Concurrently, an adolescent Charles took great interest aswell in the arts of music, an interest that was immediately fulfilled when an exquisitely made piano was gifted to him by his parents for his seventh birthday. For the next several years, with the guidance of a personal tutor, Charles was said to had regularly played the piano, during which he would often attempt to replicate songs composed by the likes of the famous German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, notable 17th century English composer, Henry Purcell, and with the additional intent of charming his adopted sister Ingrid, the Swedish composer, Dieterich Buxtehude. Despite an initially indifferent performance, Charles was able to gradually better himself overtime, eventually becoming a skilled pianist at the age of twelve.
Upon reaching the age of majority, Charles chose to pursue a career in the British Army, much to the subtle disapproval of his pacifist-minded father. However, Britain's financial situation at the time dimmed prospects of the prince in ever seeing military action. Nevertheless, he was made a Counsellor of State and was subsequently tasked with several state visits to the Commonwealth realms and British-allied countries. In the following July, Charles performed his first state visit to Iran under Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty. Having said to had enjoyed a warm friendship with the Shah, he soon followed up with a visit to Kabul in Afghanistan, where he met the young Afghan monarch, Mohammed Zahir Shah, with whom Charles once competed against in bird hunting, an ancient Afghan sport.
At the same time, as Charles began to mature significantly in terms of appearance, his apparent likeness to the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II earned him mixed response from his contemporaries, as some praised his "good looking, and captivating" appearance, while others, particularly those among nationalists circles, largely used his likeness to the former Russian monarch as means of ridicule which, at one point led the then Prince of Wales to be called Bloody Charles, mirroring his own lookalike whom was infamously nicknamed Bloody Nicholas himself. Thus, just prior to his later departure for the United States, Charles secretly had his iconic beard cut off as to not jeopardise his disguise while living in his new country.
Additionally, Charles's heavily German background, compounded by his familial ties to the German Hohenzollern royal family also made him a frequent target of occasional anti-German jibes by his overwhelmingly British-born aristocratic peers. Consequently, like his father, King Edward VII, he would at times be referred to as Kaiser Charles, or alternatively, Tsar Charles aswell by some of his contemporary critics, with the nicknames alluding to first his German background, and the similarity of his appearance to the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.
Nevertheless, along with his father, King Edward VII, the young Charles quickly became an outspoken opponent of Nazism, an ideology founded and popularised by the Nazi Party in neighbouring Germany. However, in contrast to his father whom was slightly more passive in his opposition, Charles, upon reaching the age of eighteen was said to had travelled back and forth to the German-majority state of Hanover on multiple occasions where in the presence of the German majority public there, he would then make fiery speeches condemning Nazism while emphasising the need for unity between the largely German state with the rest of the United Kingdom, during which the prince's various speeches, noted for its fiery and passionate tone was popularly compared to that of the Nazi leader's own speeches himself. Consequently, Charles was rumoured to had been a high-priority target by the Abwehr, the German military intelligence unit of the Nazi Party, though it was unclear regarding the Abwehr's actual intentions towards the prince, with suggestions claiming that the agency had been ordered to initially coerce the prince into secrecy, before ultimately engineering a fatal accident as a last resort, while others suggest that the Prince of Wales was to be coerced into silence by one of his own German uncles, Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, whom was a member of the NSDAP himself.
Beginning from the age of five, Charles's interest in sports began to cultivate, primarily from the influence of his sports enthusiastic sister, Princess Ingrid, and subsequently, his own father, with the latter being an initially avid hockey player after having been exposed to it while residing in Canada, where the sport is immensely popular. Furthermore, in addition to hockey, Charles also grew up playing other types of sports such as horse riding, polo, and tennis, with Ingrid being his principal coaching figure and at times, his competitor in their friendly matches.
Eventually, having initially deliberated over pursuing a career in either tennis or hockey, a sixteen year old Charles opted for the former when in 1933, he, alongside Ingrid competed at Wimbledon for the first time in the mixed doubles tournament, in which the pair came out as runner-ups following a loss to the victorious German pair, Gottfried von Cramm and Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling. A year later, the two competed together again, and this time, they were able to successfully become champions in that year's tournament although in the subsequent year, Charles himself competed alone as Ingrid opted to first settle into her new marriage, in which he narrowly won the runner up spot against his German rival, Gottfried von Cramm, but lost against fellow British tennis player, Fred Perry for the champion spot. In 1936, the two reunited once more to successfully win that year's championships.
However, following the 1936 championships, neither Charles nor Ingrid participated in the subsequent Wimbledon championships as the former in particular, chose to concentrate more on his princely duties, although for a brief moment in the year 1939, while living in the United States, Charles competed in the US Open championships, which he won alongside the American actress, Katharine Hepburn. Nevertheless, in what would be both their last two participations in Wimbledon, the two paired up together once more to successively win the 1946 and 1947 championships, before subsequently declaring their simultaneous retirement from professional tennis.
Life in the United States
In mid-1938, hoping to escape the distressing anti-German sentiment back home, Charles voluntarily withdrew incognito to the United States, which he entered via Canada alongside a few trusted escorts of his own. Though the situation, in terms of anti-German sentiment proved somewhat indifferent, Charles, whom had been travelling under the alias of Robert Clarke chose to acquire a residence of his own in the north-eastern state of New York. At the same time, he chose to take up acting instead as a means of making additional money. To that end, he took lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he considerably excelled in his lessons despite his distinctive accent, before gradually establishing himself as a rising actor in the Hollywood scene. As an actor, he was recognised for his distinguished upper-class persona and his unique Anglo-German accent.
Second World War: The Pacific
On May 1941, Charles received the news of the death of his brother, the Duke of Edinburgh whom had been killed in service during a naval confrontation at the Denmark Strait. The revelation of his brother's death initially prompted Charles to abstain from ever enlisting for the Second World War, as it was deemed necessary for him to live in order to properly succeed his father, King Edward VII. Nevertheless, Charles himself remained heavily involved in the Allied war effort, as he would often address both the American and British public over NBC, whilst holding almost daily discussions with the then United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and several other Allied leaders whom had taken refuge in the United States.
Ultimately, on March 1942, despite having initially abstained from enlisting for the Second World War, Charles nevertheless enlisted as an officer in the United States Air Force, a decision that reportedly arose from the prince's own personal desire to fly both civilian and military aircrafts in his own lifetime. Subsequently, for the next two years, due to the overwhelming concerns surrounding his likelihood of survival when in direct combat, Charles was intentionally diverted from ever participating in the major battles in the Pacific, namely the battles of Midway and others, and was instead relegated to a defensive post in northern Australia, albeit after a much bitter compromise, where he partook in the defence of Australia alongside fellow Allied servicemen against Japanese air raids. Before being ultimately recalled back to the United States in February 1944, Charles was promoted to the rank of Colonel for his wartime efforts by his superiors before being subsequently promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant General and Air commodore in the British Army and Royal Air Force respectively.
Prior to his military service, having built both a relatively modest acting career of his own, the prince had came into contact with a new and upcoming actress, by the name of Lauren Bacall. Due to the glaring difference in their respective social standings, and the subsequent amount of controversy surrounding it, the two intially began a private off-screen relationship, with the prince serving as Bacall's private acting tutor, before it gradually developed and was subsequently formalised into a marriage in the year 1947 when Charles's father granted his consent for the union amidst much controversy and mixed reactions from Parliament MP's, with even Bacall herself expressing initial skepticism and concern, primarily over her future duties and responsibilities as a future queen consort.
King of the United Kingdom
Despite Charles's return to the United Kingdom in the year 1949, it was at first deemed unlikely for Charles to succeed his father in the vicinity though at times, he would occasionally serve as a stand-in for the latter at public events. However, following a hunting incident which, despite leaving the King with only minor and non-worrisome injuries, Charles himself began to take up his role as Prince of Wales in a more frequent manner, as he then notably spearheaded efforts in further strengthening the Commonwealth of Nations, through several visits to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Caribbean states including Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas respectively. Exactly two months before his ascension to the throne, Charles and his wife went on a visit to India where they exchanged brief, but friendly dialogues with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whom Charles greatly admired and somewhat sympathised with.
On July 7th 1951, King Edward VII died in his sleep. The princely couple, whom were then in the midst of a hunting trip at the Scottish Highlands was consequently informed of the king's death, leading them to immediately abort the hunting trip, followed by a return back to Edinburgh Palace before subsequently departing for London onboard the Royal Train. When questioned by his private secretary, Lord Davies regarding his regnal name, Charles immediately declared that he would be using his own given name, thereby becoming Charles the Third. When this was subsequently relayed to the government and ultimately to the public, it incurred a degree of controversy, largely due to the name's negative associations with its two previous respective holders. In response, just a few hours after his arrival in Buckingham Palace, Charles notably declared in a televised speech, his right to choose his own regnal name and his own starkly contrasting image to the two previous Charles's, during which he famously proclaimed, "I am neither an enemy to my own country like the first, and neither I am a philanderer like the second".
On October 25th 1951, Charles's coronation was held at the traditional site of Westminster Abbey. The ceremony, which saw the expected amount of various foreign dignitaries of multiple backgrounds was also the first to be televised by Charles's strict insistence though with the exception of the anointing and the communion processes. Prior to the coronation, upon discovering from the list of attendees that his mother-in-law, Natalie Bacall was to be excluded from the list as to not upstage the other attendees whom were mostly of nobility and royalty background led a reportedly outraged Charles to successfully pressure the then Duke of Norfolk, whom simultaneously holds the position of Earl Marshal, into whitelisting Bacall's mother instead. Ultimately, the older Bacall attended the coronation ceremony, where she was accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of Clarence and Avondale. She was later granted her own apartment in Buckingham Palace, where she primarily resided in until her own death in 1972, and was also made a marchioness by Charles himself. Later on, following the death of his mother-in-law, Charles himself personally oversaw the former's funeral arrangements during which, amidst much initial controversy, he was able to successfully have the older Bacall be buried in Westminster Abbey despite her own Jewish, as to not separate mother and daughter, for later on, Charles and Bacall themselves were also buried alongside the older Bacall in Westminster Abbey upon their respective deaths in the year 2011 and 2014.
With his ascension as King of the United Kingdom, Charles was simultaneously the ceremonial head of the United Kingdom and various other member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, which had arose from the gradual decolonisation process undertook by the British government. In 1952, Charles resumed his Commonwealth-oriented tour by hosting state visits to Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria, and several other African countries with the likes of Sudan and Tanganyika. He also paid brief visits to Malaya, the island city of Singapore, and Brunei, becoming the second British monarch to do so after his great-grandfather, King William V whom had first visited the peninsula in 1875 by the invitation of the Sultan of Johor. During his visit to the peninsula, he held several exclusive, private dialogue sessions with local nationalist leaders, and purportedly escaped at least two assassination attempts by radical dissenters.
In light of the revolution which overthrew the Egyptian King Farouk, Charles, on the advice of the then Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had initially offered asylum to the former Egyptian monarch in Buckingham Palace, under the premise of a possible restoration of the latter to the Egyptian throne. However, despite this decision, the king himself was said to had been personally skeptical towards such an initiative, as he was primarily concerned by the former Egyptian king's known promiscuity, a stark contrast towards his own chaste character. Eventually, despite an initially warm acceptance of the former King Farouk upon his arrival in the United Kingdom, the former Egyptian monarch was ultimately evicted from Buckingham Palace just three days later by the insistence of Queen Lauren whom reportedly found the former king a "strikingly repulsive, dangerous and unruly" person. When Farouk himself later passed away almost a decade later in the year 1965 while staying at his new residence in England, both Charles and his wife immediately abstained from attending the former king's funeral, with Bacall herself having reportedly said, "he [King Farouk] deserves no rights to our sympathy".
In the year 1956, a tripartite invasion by Britain, France and Israel sought to topple popular Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser under the pretext of Nasser's seizure of the Suez Canal held by the British and French governments. Despite Eden's claim that the King had been "considerably" in favour of the invasion, it was later revealed that the latter had instead been somewhat critical of the decision due to his own prior lack of knowledge regarding the invasion itself and his own opposition to what he saw as a "preservation of imperialism", though Charles himself reportedly chose to concede as to not cause a dangerous division between the monarchy and government.
Relations with left-wing leaders
As King of the United Kingdom, one of Charles's main obligations was hosting various state visits from foreign leaders and at the same time, Charles himself would undertake his own series of state visits to other countries aswell, with the most notable ones being that of his Commonwealth tour. Despite this, Charles would occasionally face intense scrutiny following his mostly private meetings with foreign leaders, particularly those of the left-wing political spectrum, with one particular example being that of his private meeting with Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in Canada, which took place shortly after the latter had assumed power in Cuba. Reportedly, while Charles had commended Castro's anti-imperialist rhetoric, he urged however for the Cuban strongman to democratise his approach in the fallout of his successful coup, though this was never realised. Nevertheless, the two maintained some degree of communication through occasional, and highly private exchange of telephone calls well into their lives though the degree of their communication was said to had gradually decreased following the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which Castro himself did not objected against.
Moreover, his working relationship with the ideologically socialist Prime Minister Harold Wilson, whom Charles once referred to as "my greatest right hand man" brought much ire and skepticism, mostly from Conservative politicians egged on by the then ongoing Cold War conflict. Despite this, Charles himself was said to have had cordial relationships with foreign leaders of the right-wing political spectrum, such as United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and the General Secretary of China, Hu Yaobang.
Charles & Hollywood
In addition to his relations with various political leaders around the world, Charles himself maintained a sizable degree of connections within the Hollywood industry, as a consequence of him and his wife's prior acting careers. For instance, Charles was generally close to the likes of former actresses, Hedy Lamarr and Grace Kelly, both of whom had married into European royalty. However, Charles was generally known for his particularly close friendship with the American singer and actor, Frank Sinatra, the latter having been initially employed as one of the main musicians at Charles's wedding before being invited to perform both publicly and privately in London by Charles's own behest on several occassions. Furthermore, the two were said to had frequented various private resorts alongside their respective wives, and were also reported to had particularly enjoyed a game of golf at every opportunity. Notably enough, upon the birth of Charles's firstborn son, the later King William VI in the year 1950, Charles himself personally included Sinatra's own first name and middle name in the naming of his firstborn son.
Among other names include actors Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, Elvis Presley, and actresses Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, the famed Marilyn Monroe (whom Charles was briefly associated with through generally malicious rumours at the time), and others.
By the late 1990's, Charles, despite already being almost eighty years of age, was said to had never initially contemplated on the idea of abdication as despite his old age, the King himself was described as being in a generally healthy condition for his own age. Nevertheless, on January 15th 1997, on the very day of his 80th birthday, Charles formally announced his abdication from his residence of Buckingham Palace.
While the primary reason for his abdication remained a point of contention, it was somewhat believed however that the King's abdication was primarily orchestrated by none other than his own wife, the then Queen Lauren whom reputedly coerced her husband into abdicating on his 80th birthday out of concern and need to prolong the latter's livelihood, which was done so through relieving the latter of his royal duties, which were judged to had been hazardous to his health in his later years.
On June 2014, three years after his death, Charles's abdication briefly became a subject of comparison alongside the then recent abdication of the Spanish monarch, King Juan Carlos I of Spain as the latter's abdication from the throne, in a manner similar to that of Charles's own abdication almost two decades earlier also left the country with two kings, with one of them being the former while the other as the currently reigning monarch, as the subsequent ascension of King Felipe VI was in turn generally likened to that of his own son, King William VI's. However, at the same time, it was later noted that unlike the former Spanish monarch, Charles's own post abdication life generally remained spotless with minimal controversies, with the former British monarch himself being consistently regarded as a highly celebrated figure well after his own death.
Soon after his abdication, after consulting with the then Prime Minister, John Major, alongside his eldest son and immediate successor, the new King William VI, then followed by a historic public referendum among the general British public, Charles, instead of being bestowed upon with a dukedom, was ultimately allowed to retain his title of King of the United Kingdom, thereby establishing the period between the years 1997 to 2011 as the only period in British history where there were two legally recognised kings at the same time.
Charles & Ingrid
In contrast to his father, King Edward VII, following the death of his great-grandfather, King William V, Charles's future marital prospects were left entirely to his own parents by his grandfather, King George V whom, due to the complications surrounding the aftermath of the First World War desired for the young Charles to be married off to a Scandinavian princess instead as to exhibit a more neutral image surrounding the future king. Initially, such prospects were deemed likely following rumours of a possible engagement between Charles and the much older Princess Ingrid whom, following the death of her mother, Princess Margaret when she was only ten years old was adopted by the princely couple through a private arrangement with Ingrid's father, Prince Gustaf Adolf and was entrusted in looking after the young Charles and his brother William whom were in turn taught with a strong sense of self-discipline and various household skills by Ingrid herself. Consequently, Charles proved quick to grow fond of the Swedish princess whom he generally came to saw as his principal sister figure, as he would often spend much of his daily time with the latter while occasionally seeking assistance from the much older Ingrid regarding household chores and at times, his daily loads of homework given to him by his private tutors. Genealogy-wise, through the paternal line, Ingrid is the prince's fourth cousin via a shared third great grandfather, King George III, while the latter is in turn, Charles's third cousin via a common great great grandfather, the German Emperor, Wilhelm I.
In the year 1919, as Charles and his parents were about to depart back for the United Kingdom due to his grandfather, King George V's worsening condition, an "emotionally devastated" two year old Charles was immediately overjoyed upon learning that Ingrid whom, with her grandfather's permission was allowed to accompany him and his family back to their home country, a decision supported by Charles's own parents whom had already valued the princess as a vital companion to the young Charles. Thus, for the next sixteen years, both Charles and Ingrid continued to grow up together at the royal family's primary residence of Buckingham Palace. When Ingrid herself turned eighteen years old, an adolescent Charles was often seen accompanying the princess on her usual drive around London, where the two would occasionally stop at the local shops to run their respective errands. On a near daily basis, Charles and Ingrid would compete against each other in various sports, with tennis in particular being a favourite of the two, so much so that the two would go on to compete several times in the Wimbledon championships together, accumulating general success in their decade long career together.
Reportedly, around a year prior to Ingrid's marriage to Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, both Charles and Ingrid were said to had unanimously brushed off proposals of a marriage between them, stating that the two felt "more like a brother and a sister, rather than a husband and a wife". During the latter's subsequent marriage to Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, Charles himself served as one of the crown prince's groomsmen, by Ingrid's own personal behest.
Ultimately, for reasons most likely due to Ingrid's own departure, aside from the rampant Germanophobia at the time, compelled a twenty-one year old Charles to secrelty exile himself to the United States alongside a small, personal entourage, after having decided against initially exiling himself to Denmark instead as to not burden his adoptive sister. Nevertheless, in early 1939, just a few months prior to the Second World War, Charles was reunited with Ingrid during the latter's visit to the United States, during which she was reunited with the prince at his New York residence, where she later chose to reside at for her month-long tour, discarding the usual tradition of residing at the Blair House as a foreign visitor to the country.
During the Second World War, with Denmark under Nazi occupation, Charles, whom was personally concerned of his now captive adopted sister's life, once reportedly proposed to the British government for a covert military operation to specifically rescue the Crown Princess of Denmark whom, alongside members of the Danish royal family had been left relatively unharmed by the occupying Germans. The operation, codenamed Operation Maroon, had envisaged a small group of Royal Marines servicemen being deployed approximately 3km from the city of Copenhagen where from there, at exactly night time, the soldiers, posed as ordinary Danish soldiers would enter the Danish royal residence of Amalienborg in the capital city before promptly evacuating the crown princess, firstly by land to a remote coastal area, before subsequently evacuating the former back to the United Kingdom by boat. However, the plan itself was ultimately struck down out of fear of jeopardising Denmark's warm relations with Nazi Germany, and thus, its people's security, and later on, by the crown princess's own refusal to leave her own people behind.
Prior to his own self-exile to the United States, Charles, despite being somewhat socially ostracised due to his family's German connections, was said to had nevertheless enjoyed some degree of attraction from the women of the upper-class gentry. For instance, at the age of eighteen, Charles's first romantic relationship came about when he was introduced to a similarly aged Jessica Mitford, the fifth eldest of the infamous Mitford sisters. Reportedly, despite strong reservations held by Charles's parents as a result of Mitford's older sisters' affiliations with the British Union of Fascists and Nazi Party respectively, the two were said to had been somewhat cordial in their relationship, though it was described as being "rather generally chaste and innocent, yet flirtatious at times". Nevertheless, the couple separated in early 1938 when Mitford unexpectedly chose to elope with her second cousin, Esmond Romilly, whom had prior served in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republicans. Almost immediately, word of their separation caused great controversy among the upper British elite, whom began to perceive the Prince of Wales as a communist sympathiser due to his past affiliation with Mitford.
Nevertheless, Charles himself was quick to find himself a new romantic partner soon after the abrupt separation, an effort that proved successful when he was then introduced to the eighteen year old Sarah Baring, whose lack of affliation with politics that was prevalent in Charles's previous romantic partner proved much reassuring for Charles's parents whom, sensing the two's closeness and mutual affection towards one another, began to encourage their relationship. However, despite the generally positive nature of their relationship, at the same time, Baring was rumoured to had also been in a relationship with Charles's younger brother William, whom was two years his junior, though this did not seemingly materialise prior to Charles's departure for the United States, in which Baring herself was unable to follow suit due to her own parents' restrictions, thereby effectively ending their relationship. However, around the end of the Second World War, Baring was briefly suggested, to which she herself enthusiastically supported, to be the alternative wife for Charles, replacing his new romantic interest, and later wife, the American actress, Lauren Bacall. Ultimately, despite Charles's own refusal to reciprocate Baring's affections, which was subsequently followed by Charles and Bacall's own wedding ceremony on March 1946, the two were said to had remained friends throughout their respective lives. In particular, from the year 1952 to 1960, Baring herself notably served as the later Queen Lauren's first Mistress of the Robes.
Katharine Hepburn & Lauren Bacall
Following his retreat to the United States, Charles did not initially chose on immediately seeking a new love interest of his own, having opted instead towards building an acting career under the guise of his pseudonym. However, on March 3rd, while dining at a local restaurant in New York City, the prince first met the aspiring American actress, Katharine Hepburn, whom Charles instantly befriended whilst remaining under his pseudonym. Soon after, the two reportedly began seeing one another at various different places in private where aside from having conversations surrounding their shared liberal values, the two would often play against each other in sports such as tennis, golf, horse-riding, and swimming. Some time later, Hepburn reportedly became the very first person whose actual identity was revealed to by the prince himself. Concurrently, after some initial reservations, Charles (whilst remaining under his pseudonym), along with Hepburn herself competed together in that year's US Open's mixed doubles championships, which they decisively won.
Later on, Hepburn herself would serve as the sole bridesmaid to Charles's wife, Lauren Bacall, whom the former also closely befriended, at their royal wedding, and reportedly went on to become an influential advisor to the king on women's issues in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Hepburn herself was said to had been the namesake, and subsequent godmother for Charles's eldest daughter, Crown Princess Catherine of Norway, and the later Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Albany.
While posing as a British-American actor under the alias of Robert Clarke, he was first introduced to the then newly debuted actress, Lauren Bacall whom prior to their eventual relationship, had starred together with the prince in several films of considerable success, some of which were directed by Charles himself under his pseudonym. The two's off-screen relationship, which was said to had evolved from an initially professional mentorlike relationship to a romantic one overtime gradually amassed attention from the American media at the time and was later consistently compared to that of Charles's own cousin's relationship with fellow Jewish American actress, Hedy Lamarr that developed just a couple of years later. At the same time, just prior to his deployment for the Pacific War, Bacall herself, alongside her own mother moved in together with the prince at the latter's estate in New York City, which had been built years prior with financing from both of Charles's earnings in the United States and royal funds shipped from London.
In April 1945, Charles personally telegraphed his father Edward for the latter's permission to marry Bacall, in which he wrote, "For Ingrid is my beloved sister, and Lauren is my dearest wife". While both the King and Queen chose not to oppose their son's decision out of fear of upsetting the latter, prospects of the prince's marriage with an American commoner however became the subject of a heated debate among Parliament members, with some arguing that such a marriage would be "wholly unacceptable to the British public", then compounded by anti-British riots led by Zionist militias in Mandatory Palestine. Nevertheless, since moving in together a few years prior, the couple made their first formal public appearance together at a state dinner on April 20th that year, hosted by the then newly inaugurated President, Harry Truman.
Just a month later, a private emissary was sent to New York by the British Foreign Secretary in order to convince the couple to abandon any pretext of a marriage, while citing "irreconcilable differences" as a cover-up for their separation. However, neither side were able to reach a common agreement, with Charles himself adamantly refusing to give up his romantic interest and concede to the proposed alternatives. In an immediate follow-up, over the course of around two months long, Charles and Bacall then promptly embarked on an international trip to the four Dominion countries, namely Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where the approval of their respective Prime Ministers' were fundamental in securing legitimacy for Charles's proposed marriage. Ultimately, all four of the Prime Ministers that the royal couple personally sought for agreed to support their marriage, with the New Zealand Prime Minister, Peter Fraser being the last to do so due to his country being the most distant from the United Kingdom.
Following Churchill's electoral defeat in July 1945, the succeeding Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, promptly declared his support for the marriage whilst arguing that Bacall's lack of status as a divorcee would present no conflict with the Church's teachings, although he admitted that the latter's Jewish belief was "politically compromising". At one point, rumours of Bacall allegedly serving as a spy for Zionist militant groups in Mandatory Palestine, then followed by anonymous claims regarding her alleged infidelity during Charles's absence for the war briefly circulated among both the British public and government, though these were promptly rebuked by Charles himself before being subsequently discredited by government officials. Later on, a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the following month at the Isle of Man secured the Church's ultimate approval of the union, which soon led to an engagement on September 25th. Nevertheless, the couple was advised to wait for at least a year to make way for preparations surrounding the wedding ceremony.
During the months leading up to their marriage, by King Edward VII's advice, the couple embarked on a series of international tours meant to better their image among both the British and global populace. Beginning with a state visit to Turkey where the couple briefly discussed with Turkish President İsmet İnönü regarding the Soviet threat, the couple then furthered their tour to the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq before going further south to Saudi Arabia, where they were hosted by the Saudi King Abdulaziz, better known as Ibn Saud. Approximately a week later, the couple departed from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a five months long tour comprising Australia, New Zealand, and the Oceanian island countries, where they generally enjoyed immense popularity among the locals, particularly in Tonga where the couple struck a cordial friendship with the Tongan ruler, Queen Sālote Tupou III. Before returning back to the United States, the couple briefly met with Charles's family at their residence in Buckingham Palace though the meeting itself was initially discouraged due to public disaffection against the Princess of Wales in particular. In a follow-up to the tense meeting, the couple also paid an unscheduled visit to Denmark, which was done so by Charles's own insistence in surprising his longtime adopted sister, the now Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark.
On March 1946, the two were married in an Anglican ceremony in Bacall's native state of New York. The ceremony saw the attendance of members of the United States government led by President Truman, alongside members of foreign royalties, including the British royal family, led by Queen Louise, Charles's own mother. The then incumbent Prime Minister, Clement Attlee whom had been unable to attend the event was instead represented by Ernest Bevin, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whom attended the event alongside some of Attlee's cabinet members. The newlywed couple was then treated to a statewide tour, in which they were joined by President Truman and the First Lady. Upon concluding a follow-up state dinner at the White House, the royal couple was initially coerced into returning back to Britain as to accustom themselves, particularly that of Bacall's to their future life in the country. Nevertheless, the couple chose to remain at their New York residence until January 1949, though this was mixed with periodical visits to the United Kingdom.
For their honeymoon tour, the couple embarked on a notably four months long visit to the island countries of Seychelles and Tonga, which were reportedly preferred due to their remote nature and beautiful scenery. Beginning with a flight from New York, the couple momentarily stopped in Egypt before proceeding further south to South Africa where from there, Charles and Bacall arrived in Seychelles via a ship, where they were subsequently received by the then Governor of Seychelles, Sir Percy Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke. After about a two months long stay, the couple returned back to South Africa before proceeding further east to a stop in India, then Singapore, and subsequently Australia and New Zealand, from which the couple departed for Tonga.
While residing in the island country for approximately two months long, similar to that of the length of their stay in Seychelles, the royal couple engaged in a multitude of activities alongside the Tongan community, whilst being mostly unguarded by their accompanying entourage. Subsequently, their general openness and closeness with the local Tongan further reinforced their solid popularity among the local people, that had arose from their visit to the country just a year prior.
Despite their newfound status as a royal couple, both Charles and Bacall were able to generally balance their state responsibilities alongside those of their previous acting career, with the couple undertaking occasional state visits on behalf of the United Kingdom whilst also furthering their respective acting careers in several more moderately successful films before their final retirement, sometime in late 1950.
Titles & Honours
- 15 January 1917 - 5 January 1923 His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Cambridge
- 5 January 1923 - 20 January 1923 His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall
- 20 January 1923 - 7 July 1951 His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
- 7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011 His Majesty The King
National & Commonwealth
13 February 1935 - 30 January 1936: Officer Cadet, British Army
30 January 1936 - 11 November 1936: Second Lieutenant, British Army
11 November 1936 - 5 March 1937: Lieutenant, British Army
5 March 1937 - 11 December 1937 : Major, British Army
11 December 1937 - 22 January 1940: Colonel, British Army
22 January 1940 - 17 May 1944: Brigadier, British Army
17 May 1944 - 16 March 1947: Lieutenant General, British Army
16 March 1947 - 7 July 1951: Field Marshal, British Army
7 July 1951 - 15 January 1997: Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces
15 January 1997 - 3 March 2011: Field Marshal, British Army
5 March 1936 - 11 December 1936: Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy
11 December 1936 - 2 January 1938: Captain, Royal Navy
2 January 1938 - 13 July 1943: Commodore, Royal Navy
13 July 1943 - 16 March 1947: Commodore, Royal Navy
16 March 1947 - 7 July 1951: Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy
7 July 1951 - 15 January 1997: Lord High Admiral, Royal Navy
15 January 1997 - 3 March 2011: Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy
17 May 1944 - 15 March 1947: Air commodore, Royal Air Force
15 March 1947 - 7 July 1951: Air Marshal, Royal Air Force
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Marshal of the Royal Air Force
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Army
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Navy
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Air Force
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Army
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the New Zealand Army
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy
7 July 1951 - 3 March 2011: Commander-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
22 March 1941 - 4 March 1942: Officer Cadet, United States Air Force
4 March 1942 - 11 December 1942: Second Lieutenant, United States Air Force
11 December 1942 - 4 March 1943: Captain, United States Air Force
4 March 1943 - 17 May 1944: Colonel, United States Air Force
|Ancestors of Charles III of the United Kingdom|