The Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is Heir Apparent to the throne.
The Prince was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948, and was christened Charles Philip Arthur George.
When, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1952, he became heir apparent, Prince Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall under a charter of King Edward III dating back to 1337, which gave that title to the Sovereign's eldest son. He also became in the Scottish Peerage, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
The Prince was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, becoming the first Prince of Wales since 1936. Although investitures of Princes of Wales were traditionally held in front of Parliament, and not all Princes of Wales have been invested, the investiture of the present Prince of Wales (like that of his predecessor Prince Edward, later Edward VIII, in 1911) was a State occasion.
It took place in a Welsh setting before the Welsh people, at Caernarfon Castle on 1 July 1969. The Welsh regalia (Crown Jewels associated with the Princes of Wales) used at the investitures in 1911 and 1969 are on loan to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
On 29 July 1981, The Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral who became HRH The Princess of Wales.
The Princess was born on 1 July 1961, at Park House on The Queen's estate at Sandringham, Norfolk. She lived there until the death in 1975 of her grandfather, the 7th Earl, when the family moved to the Spencer family seat at Althorp House in Northamptonshire.
Lady Diana's father, then Viscount Althorp and later the eighth Earl Spencer, had been an equerry to both George VI and The Queen. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a close friend and lady in waiting to The Queen Mother.
The Prince and Princess of Wales had two sons: Prince William, born on 21 June 1982; and Prince Harry, born on 15 September 1984.
From the time of their marriage, The Prince and Princess of Wales went on overseas tours and carried out many engagements together in the UK.
On 9 December 1992, the Prime Minister, John Major, announced to the House of Commons that The Prince and Princess of Wales had agreed to separate.
The marriage was dissolved on 28 August, 1996. The Princess was still regarded as a member of the Royal Family. She continued to live at Kensington Palace and to carry out her public work for a number of charities.
When The Princess was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, The Prince of Wales flew to Paris with her two sisters to bring her body back to London. The Princess lay in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace until the night before the funeral.
On the day of the funeral, The Prince of Wales accompanied his two sons, aged 15 and 12 at the time, as they walked behind the coffin from The Mall to Westminster Abbey. With them were The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess's brother, Earl Spencer. Click here to find out more about the life and work of Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Prince of Wales asked the media to respect his sons' privacy, to allow them to lead a normal school life. In the following years, Princes William and Harry, who are second and third in line to the throne, accompanied their father on a limited number of official engagements in the UK and abroad.
The Prince of Wales married Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles on 9 April 2005 at a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor, followed by a service of prayer and dedication in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
After the wedding, Mrs Parker Bowles became known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. When The Prince of Wales accedes to the throne, she will be known as HRH The Princess Consort.
The official website of The Prince of Wales - www.princeofwales.gov.uk