Despite now serving a largely ceremonial role, the British Royal Family is as popular as ever. Fans still go crazy for Queen Elizabeth, and they’ve gladly welcomed Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle into the fold, too. However, we often neglect the most interesting member of the family.
Nope, we’re not talking about Prince Harry! Prince Charles has spent his entire life in the public eye, and as a result has become quite the character. Between strange quirks and complicated personal relationships, he leads a fascinating life that we cannot stop watching.
1. Believe it or not, Charles has a soft spot for the common squirrel. Prince William has admitted that his father has named many of the critters around their Scottish estate, and that Charles even lets his favorites into their home.
2. Although reporters called Charles and Diana’s marriage “The Wedding of the Century,” he didn’t quite agree. Some reports say he wept the night before the ceremony! Whatever lingering doubts the couple had eventually caused them to separate in 1992.
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3. Charles’ prize possession is an Aston Martin DB6 MKII, which he got as a 21st birthday present. In 2018, he added an interesting upgrade. Charles made the car more eco-friendly in that it no longer runs on gasoline, but on wine.
4. Whether he’s presiding over a formal event or lounging in the countryside, the Prince of Wales always dresses to the nines. His fashion sense is so admired that Esquire magazine dubbed him the “World’s Best-Dressed Man” in 2009.
5. It’s fortunate that Charles has a personal chef at his disposal because he’s quite the picky eater. For example, he’ll only eat eggs that have been boiled for exactly seven minutes. When he visits friends, he’ll often bring his own food rather than accept their hospitality.
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6. Charles has a fondness for the queen in Buckingham Palace and the ones in a deck of cards! A decently skilled magician, he passed an official examination to join the Magic Circle — a social organization of magicians — in 1975.
7. Many nobles are patrons of the arts, but Charles cuts out the middleman and does his own paintings! Critics haven’t treated his work with much warmth, but he does sell them for a good cause. He donates all the proceeds to charity.
8. While at university, Charles developed a huge crush on Barbra Streisand. Being a prince and all, he naturally had the chance to meet her a few times over the years. Rumors of an affair between the two bounced around, but there is no official proof.
9. An adamant lover of nature, Charles doesn’t just cultivate plants — he also talks to them! Charles has explained that he believes the odd habit helps his garden flourish. He’ll even threaten to toss plants on the compost heap if they don’t flower!
10. Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch in 2015, so it makes sense that Charles is also the longest-serving heir to the throne. He’s been waiting since 1953, and he wants it as badly as ever in his old age.
11. Before Charles fell for Diana, he actually dated her sister Sarah for a short time. Their relationship ended when Sarah expressed she had absolutely zero interest in marrying the Prince of Wales.
12. Like any sensible Briton, Charles is a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. He regularly reads the J.K. Rowling books to his grandchildren, and he even gives a different voice to each character! Now that’s an audiobook that we’d like to hear.
13. You probably know that it’s not unusual for members of various royal families to find out they’re related. However, Charles has one surprising royal relation. It turns out he’s descended from Vlad the Impaler, a medieval ruler who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
14. Charles’ outspoken support for homeopathic medicine has generated a fair amount of controversy. Doctors in the United Kingdom bristle whenever he encourages their health system to embrace more alternative treatments, like herbal products, that have no proven benefits.
15. Years ago, Charles discovered that Prince Harry was drinking and smoking marijuana at school. To stop him from going down the wrong path, Charles sent his son to rehab for a day. The shocking experience made him drop his bad habits for good.
16. Charles has a contentious relationship with his father. Prince Philip pressured him into many big life events, including his attendance of Gordonstoun boarding school and his marriage to Diana Spencer. While Charles is a bleeding-heart romantic, Philip is a proud pragmatist.
17. Despite his struggles with his father, Charles was extremely close to his grandmother, the Queen Mother. While Philip often criticized Charles’ decisions, she took a supportive stance. When she passed away in 2002, Charles remarked that she meant everything to him.
18. Charles is a royal, but he’s no Marie Antoinette. He works tirelessly to help the less fortunate and preserve his nation’s history. His myriad of charity efforts raise over $100 million each year.
19. Did you know that Charles is also a published author? In 1984, he came out with a children’s book entitled, The Old Man of Lochnagar. The story centers around an elderly man who lives in a cave near the royal estate in Balmoral, Scotland.
20. Perhaps because of his picky eating habits, Charles started his own organic food company. Duchy Originals first hit the shelves in 1990 and has been going strong ever since. Of course, Charles donates a lion’s share of the profits to charity.
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