Queen Elizabeth II died at age 96. The royal family gathered at her bedside in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has been planning for her succession for some time. Members of the royal family, including Charles, the longest-serving heir in British history, have increased their responsibilities as the queen’s health declined.
Charles, as the queen’s eldest son, inherits the sovereign title and job as head of the Commonwealth, along with other assets such as land and property.
In the past, the queen expressed the desire for Charles to take over the Commonwealth. “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said in 2018 after he was unanimously voted to be the next head.
Charles, 73, has waited decades to become king and is the longest-serving heir in British history. He is the eldest of four children born to the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip. When his mother assumed the throne at age 25, he became Britain’s heir apparent at age 3. Charles’s titles include Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay and Earl of Carrick.
Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981, and the couple became known as the Prince and Princess of Wales. They had two children, Princes William and Harry. Charles and Diana separated in 1992. Following Diana’s death in 1997, Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, now known as the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.
Charles has long campaigned for a better environment, championing global sustainability in speeches over the years. His work includes expanding education and opportunities for young people in the United Kingdom.
His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he could select any of those as his regnal title. This means that Britain’s next monarch might not go by the name of Charles, or he could decide he wants to be referred to as King Philip or King Arthur.