At 70 years old, Prince Charles is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history—a distinction that hasn't always helped his already-strained public persona. For years, the Prince of Wales was seen as stuffy and impatient to inherit the throne. Thanks in large part to the scandal surrounding his divorce from Princess Diana and the huge impact her untimely death had on the public, Charles spent a long time as one of the less popular members of the royal family. A new profile on the king-to-be might go a long way toward changing that for good (although it's worth noting that public opinion about Charles has been shifting for the better on its own for years).
Royal photographer Chris Jackson was granted immense access to Charles over the last year, culminating in a photo series and profile for the Sunday Times. Here are some of the best pictures and biggest revelations about the Prince of Wales from the new profile.
He's the busiest working royal.
We might hear more about Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle's royal engagements and duties, but Prince Charles actually clocks more on-duty hours as a royal every year than anyone else in the Windsor fam.
According to the Sunday Times profile, Charles completes more than 600 official engagements a year. Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, described him as a "workaholic" and Harry confirms that it's not a new condition; Charles has been working late into the night for the royal family for years.
"The man never stops,” Harry said. "When we were kids, there were bags and bags and bags of work that the office just sent to him. We could barely even get to his desk to say goodnight."
He's a proponent of self-care.
Charles might be insanely busy, but he's also not afraid to take the me-time required to maintain that kind of pace. According to Jackson, Charles "disappears off" for a solo afternoon walk pretty much every day.
His nickname at home is "Grandpa Wales."
As busy as he is with royal duties, it's clear from the new profile that Charles' favorite gig is as grandpa. Will and Kate's kids call him "Grandpa Wales" and he's obsessed with them.
“It was lovely chaos with the children,” Jackson said of the mood at Charles' 70th birthday portrait shoot. "He is a very hands-on grandfather. He was holding hands with George and Charlotte, and bouncing Louis up and down for a long time. George was very happy on the prince’s knee. They have a great relationship that’s a little more established, as George is a bit older."
In one particularly adorable outtake from the photoshoot, which the Sunday Times shared on Instagram, Prince Louis can be seen reaching down to grab Charles' face, "ruining" (/actually perfecting) the photo. The look of joy on Charles' face in the candid moment is peak grandpa.
He and Elizabeth get along great, tyvm.
In spite of longstanding rumors that Elizabeth and Charles aren't always on the best of terms, Jackson says the relationship he observed between the mother and son was amazing.
"My impression of mother and son is that I see two people who have a great relationship," he said. "We don’t see them together on a regular basis, but you look at those pictures from the Highland Games every year, and when two people are laughing in that way, that’s not something you can fake."
Charles' main hobby is feeding his chickens.
Here's a fun fact: The Prince of Wales is super into raising chickens. How's that for a hobby? According to Jackson, Charles starts every day at Highgrove (his favorite home) in his "wellies, collecting eggs and feeding his prized (and prizewinning) Burford brown and Marans chickens."
He has a much better sense of humor than you might expect.
According to Camilla, "[The public] see him as a very serious person, which he is, but I would like a lot of people to see the lighter side of him."
And yeah, he's definitely going to be king.
In case there's any doubt, Charles will be king. In April, Charles and his closest family members met with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen relayed her "sincere wish" that Charles would succeed her as the next head of the Commonwealth (he wouldn't have just inherited the position). The Heads of Government voted unanimously the next day to elect Charles as Elizabeth's successor, so it's just a matter of when, not if, Charles will be king.
[H/T: Sunday Times]