Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and heir apparent for more than seventy years, became King on 8 September 2022. On 6 May 2023, the world watched as he was crowned at Westminster Abbey in an historic ceremony full of ritual and pageantry.
Wise Words From King Charles III looks at the personality behind the pomp. Though more guarded than his famously outspoken father, Charles is not averse to sparking controversy with his views on subjects close to his heart. During his years as king-in-waiting, there has been plenty of time for his interests and personality to develop. Passionate about the environment and natural world, he was a conservationist, speaking out about climate change before it became the norm to do so. ‘I don’t want my grandchildren or yours to come along and say to me, “Why the hell didn’t you do something; you knew what the problem was.”’
A skilled horticulturalist, he embraced his eccentric image and relished his reputation for talking to plants, ‘Only the other day I was inquiring of an entire bed of old-fashioned roses, forced to listen to my ramblings on the meaning of the universe as I sat cross-legged in the lotus position in front of them.’
He is also a keen sportsman and music lover, interested in the arts and architecture. His views on modern buildings have prompted some of his most colourful comments. He called the proposed extension to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square ‘a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’ and compared London’s evolving skyline to ‘an absurdist picnic table’ … ‘We already have a giant gherkin, now it looks as if we are going to have an enormous salt cellar.’
If he hadn’t been destined to rule, he may have liked to be a comedian. ‘I love imitating and mimicking… I enjoy making people laugh if I can.’ He acknowledges, ‘So much of what one does requires acting ability in one way or another and it’s extremely useful if you enjoy it.’
Taking on a new role at an age when most people would be retiring, King Charles brings a lifetime’s knowledge and experience to the job. This book focuses on the wisdom the monarch has acquired during his long apprenticeship, told through the wise – and sometimes not so wise – words of the man himself.