12 November 2023

In Pictures: The King’s life year by year as he prepares for 75th birthday

12 November 2023

The King’s life – from newborn baby prince in his mother’s arms to a crowned monarch sitting on his throne – has been celebrated with a collection of photos from every one of his 75 years.

Charles, who reaches his milestone three-quarter century birthday on Tuesday, is pictured being held in the air as an eight-month old by his proud father the Duke of Edinburgh in 1949.

Childhood portraits show the young future King striding along in a kilt just before his seventh birthday in 1955, and spending time with his family at Windsor Castle in 1959.

Charles, the nation’s longest-serving heir apparent, acceded to the throne on September 8 2022 following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

His 75th birthday comes 14 months after his accession, and will be celebrated with public gun salutes and a private dinner in London.

In the collection of images compiled by the PA news agency, the then-Prince of Wales, on the brink of adulthood in 1966, smiles broadly as he stands behind a chair in a library, wearing Balmoral tartan, in a portrait commissioned ahead of his 18th birthday.

Other more unusual shots capture Charles in scuba gear diving under the Arctic ice at Resolute Bay, Canada in 1975 during a half-hour mission in freezing conditions.

In 1976, he sports a new look, appearing with a full beard while riding a horse as he attends the Badminton Horse Trials.

In the 1980s, he married Lady Diana Spencer, and the pair are pictured together on a royal tour to Canada.

In 1988, he put any inhibitions aside and took to the dancefloor to have a go at breakdancing in front of a crowd of young people in Middleton-on-Sea in West Sussex during a Youth Meets Industry course for 300 unemployed people, organised by his Prince’s Trust, now renamed the King’s Trust.

Almost a decade later he was surrounded by the Spice Girls as the pop stars posed with the then-heir to throne at a royal gala in Manchester in 1997.

In 2006, Charles is shown in happier family times with his sons Prince William and Prince Harry at the Sovereign’s Parade, marking the completion of Harry’s officer training.

Charles and the then-Duchess of Cornwall, now Queen Camilla and his wife of 18 years, were snapped playfully wearing carnival masks at an Elephant Family charity event at Clarence House in 2013.

In 2022, the King’s life changed immeasurably on the death of his beloved mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and he acceded to the throne.

Charles led the nation in grieving for its longest-reigning monarch as he stepped up to the role for which he been groomed since birth.

And in 2023, the year of his 75th birthday, he was anointed and crowned with all the traditional splendour of a coronation.

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