On September 8, 2022, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth realms. For the first time in most of their lives, the British found themselves ruled over by a king, with even the words of their national anthem changed — after 70 years of “God Save the Queen” — to reflect the new male monarch. The actual coronation of King Charles III is set to take place on May 6, 2023, with all the pomp and circumstance associated with the British royal family.
Despite being new to the throne, Charles III is a very familiar figure among the British people; now approaching his mid-70s, Charles has been in the public eye for a long time. He is known for having strong opinions on subjects ranging from gardening to architecture to food, and, most importantly, the climate crisis — an issue he began championing long before it became a mainstream subject. His outspoken nature has sometimes ruffled feathers. For example, he called climate skeptics “the headless chicken brigade,” and compared a new extension on the National Gallery to “a carbuncle on the face of an old and valued friend.”
Charles’ position, his well-documented and ultimately tragic marriage to Princess Diana, his sense of humor, and his eccentricities (he famously talks to plants) have made him a divisive figure, loved and lambasted in equal measure. Whether he becomes a popular king — no easy thing following the impressive reign of Elizabeth II — is yet to be seen. But Charles has much in common with his late mother, including her intelligence, fortitude, and essential sense of humor. Here are some of the new king’s most famous quotes from the last few decades, touching on everything from the nature of royalty to the global climate crisis and, of course, vegetables.
I find myself born into this particular position. I'm determined to make the most of it. And to do whatever I can to help.
We are told constantly that we have to live in "the real world," but the real world is within us.
We no more want to live in anonymous concrete blocks that are just like anywhere else in the world than we want to eat anonymous junk food that can be bought anywhere.
To get the best results, you must talk to your vegetables.
As human beings, we suffer from an innate tendency to jump to conclusions; to judge people too quickly, and to pronounce them failures or heroes without due consideration of the actual facts and ideals of the period.
I hope you receive this [letter] before some frightful undercover agent stabs me in the left buttock with a poisoned umbrella!
I happen to believe passionately that everyone has a particular God-given ability… In my view it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor.
I happily talk to the plants and trees, and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial… Every tree has a meaning for me.
As soon as the word “holistic” is out of my mouth, I am aware that many people are overcome by a desire to tiptoe to the door and head to the bar to recover.
On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats, but none is greater than climate change. It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence.
I feel more than anything else it's my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can.
As you may possibly have noticed from time to time, I have tended to make a habit of sticking my head above the parapet and generally getting it shot off for pointing out what has always been blindingly obvious to me.
I would suggest that the whole imposing edifice of modern medicine, for all its breathtaking successes is, like the celebrated Tower of Pisa — slightly off balance.
Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won't have it.
We live in an age of unprecedented — and sometimes terrifying — technological advance where the speed of advance so often outstrips the necessary ethical considerations.
To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavor to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love, as I have throughout my life.
Photo credit: Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images