Britain's Prince Charles tours the Taiaroa Heads Nature Reserve, near Dunedin, New Zealand. Prince Charles is in New Zealand for a five day visit and spent the afternoon viewing a colony of Northern Royal Albatross' at Taiaroa Heads. Britain's Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, holds her son, Prince Charles, at Buckingham Palace, following his christening. Seated at right is her grandmother Queen Mary, the mother of her father, King George VI, background. The Commonwealth of the U.K. was formed as Britain's former colonies gained their independence, and its first head was the queen's father, King George VI. In this 1969 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince Of Wales, poses for a photo dressed in his investiture regalia. On Friday, April 20, 2018, the 69-year-old heir to the British throne was approved as the next head of the Commonwealth made up of the U.K. and the countries that once were its colonies. Britain's Prince Charles enters the Harvard Club to receive the Global Environment Award from the Harvard Medical School in New York. Britain's Prince Charles, center, and his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, hands seen behind, take part in a Hindu ritual at Parmarth Niketan Ashram on the banks of the River Ganges in Rishikesh, India. Charles and Camilla are on a nine day visit to India. Britain's Prince Charles wears a traditional Saudi uniform as he attends a performance of the dance "Arda" during the Janadriya culture festival in Riyadh. Charles arrived in Saudi Arabia on a private visit. Elder Gordon Oakes, left, presents Britain's Prince Charles with a blanket during a naming ceremony at Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Charles was given the Cree name "The sun watches over him in a good way." (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit an iron ore mine near Carajas, Brazil. On Friday, April 20, 2018, the 69-year-old heir to the British throne was approved as the next head of the Commonwealth made up of the U.K. and the countries that once were its colonies. Gov. Chris Patten, left, along with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, lean on the railing of the royal yacht Britannia while watching the Beating of the Retreat with Britain's Prince Charles, center, Robin Cook's wife, Margaret and Tung Chee-Hwa in Hong Kong. Britain's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles are greeted by a Park Ranger as they view the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Britain's Prince Charles wears a feather headdress while visiting the Iwokrama Forest conservation area in central Guyana. The Prince is finishing up his four-day visit to Guyana. and travels to Jamaica Sunday night. Britain's Prince Charles, right, greets Bill Karaitiana Jnr from the Korako Karetai Trust with a "hongi," part of a traditional Maori welcome, at the Taiaroa Heads Nature Reserve near Dunedin, New Zealand. Prince Charles is in New Zealand for a five day visit and spent the afternoon viewing a colony of Northern Royal Albatross' at Taiaroa Heads. Britain's Prince Charles poses for photo in front of a wedgetail eagle during a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park in Alice Springs, Australia. He is in Australia for five days visiting Perth, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Britain's Prince Charles talks with children from the Malolo District School on Fiji's Castaway Island. Prince Charles is on the last leg of his South Pacific visit after stops in Australia and New Zealand. Britain's Prince Charles, center, inspects an honor guard upon his arrival at Victoria Pier in Kingston, Jamaica. Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are on a trip touring five Caribbean islands. Britain's Prince Charles takes a beverage from a waiter as he arrives at a reception at the British High Commission in New Delhi. Prince Charles is in India to attend the opening of the Commonwealth Games Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. Britain's Prince Charles, left, dances with residents during his visit to Tolesar Charan village near Jodhpur, India. Prince Charles is in India on a four-day trip, where he jointly inaugurated the Commonwealth Games with Indian President Pratibha Patil. Britain's Prince Charles looks through a telescope as he visits Bu Tinah Island, at the center of the UNESCO Marawah Protected Marine Area on the Persian Gulf, about 105 miles, (170 km) west of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Prince Charles looks at a canoeist and a kayaker at the West River in Bonshaw Provincial Park near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Prince Charles and Camilla are on a four-day tour of Canada. Britain's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall look out to sea, during a visit to North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The royal couple's visit, during a ten-day tour of South America, was timed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of British scientist Charles Darwin. It was in the Galapagos Islands that Darwin made some of his earliest discoveries seeing how some species had adapted to their strange, demanding environment, inspiring his ideas on evolution.
April 20, 2018
Charles, at age 69, is the oldest heir to the British throne in more than 300 years thanks to his mother's record as the country's longest-serving monarch. Since his divorce from Princess Diana, her 1997 death and Charles' remarriage to ex-mistress Camilla Parker Bowles, the Prince of Wales has been behind his and Diana's sons — Prince William and Prince Harry — in inspiring public affection.
Yet during his decades of waiting to be king, Charles has had multiple public images: jug-eared target of bullies; polo-playing playboy; open-minded — or eccentric, depending on the observer — student of alternative beliefs; champion of environmental causes.
His biographers often start his story with the allegedly distant and disapproving relationship Charles had with his parents. The prince's pick as head of the Commonwealth, which is made up mostly of former British colonies, suggests a happier conclusion. The queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, lobbied for him in person.
"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day, the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work," she said.