King Charles’ Most Memorable Quotes | History Hit

King Charles’ Most Memorable Quotes

Amy Irvine

05 May 2023
Charles as Prince of Wales during a visit to St Bartholomew's Hospital in the City of London, 11 May 2021.
Image Credit: Alamy / PA Images

King Charles III became king upon his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s death on 8 September 2022. Aged 73, he became the oldest person to accede to the British throne, having been the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales in British history.

Charles became heir apparent aged 3 when his mother, Elizabeth II, acceded to the throne in 1952. He was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun schools and later attended the University of Cambridge. After serving in the Royal Air Force and Navy for five years, he married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and they had two sons, Princes William and Harry. They divorced in 1996, and Charles married his long-term partner, Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005.

As heir apparent, Charles undertook official duties and founded The Prince’s Trust, sponsored The Prince’s Charities, and was involved with over 800 other charities and organisations. He famously supports organic farming, the prevention of climate change, and architectural conservation, and has authored and co-authored multiple books.

After decades of public speaking and being in the media spotlight, inevitably there are a wealth of Charles’ statements, comments and quips on a wide range of subjects (…as well as some more infamous ‘private’ quotes that really had not been intended for public consumption). Here are just a few of Charles’ quotes from over the years while Prince.

Being the heir:

Queen Elizabeth II formally investing her son Prince Charles with the Coronet of the Prince of Wales during an investiture ceremony at Caernarfon castle, 1 July 1969

Image Credit: Alamy / PA Images

“I think it’s something that dawns on you with the most ghastly, inexorable sense. I didn’t suddenly wake up in my pram one day and say ‘Yippee'”

(On realising he would be king, BBC Radio interview, 1969)

“I learned the way a monkey learns: by watching its parents.”

(On his introduction to official royal life)

“Colditz in kilts”

(On his experiences at school at Gordonstoun)

“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. And I hope I leave things behind a little bit better than I found them.”

(Interview with 60 Minutes, 2005)


Left: Princess Diana & Prince Charles leaving St. Paul’s Cathedral, 29 July 1981. Right: Prince Charles and Camilla leaving St George’s Chapel, Windsor, following the blessing of their wedding, 9 April 2005.

Image Credit: Left: Flickr / Joe Haupt / Sovereign Series Royal Wedding 1981, No. 27 / Prescott-Pickup Co. Ltd / (CC BY-SA 2.0). Right: Alamy / Alistair Grant / PA Images

Diana: “Of course [we are in love].” Charles: “Whatever ‘in love’ means.”

(The couple’s response when asked if they were in love following their engagement, 24 February 1981)

“Faithful and honourable until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

(Referencing the breakdown of his marriage to Princess Diana on a TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, 1994)

“It’s always nice to have somebody on your side . . . She is an enormous support. The great thing is we laugh a lot because she sees the funny side of life, thank God.”

(On his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, in the run-up to their 10th wedding anniversary in 2015)

“I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort”

(Charles’ first address to the nation as monarch, 2022)

The environment:

Prince Charles smells a ‘Highgrove’ rose, during a visit by members of the royal family to the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London, 28 November 2008

Image Credit: Alamy / PA Images

“The sustainability revolution will, hopefully, be the third major social and economic turning point in human history, following the Neolithic Revolution — moving from hunter-gathering to farming — and the Industrial Revolution.”

(Speech in 2009)

“If you think about your and my grandchildren, this is what really worries me. I don’t want them – if I’m still alive by then – to say, ‘Why didn’t you do something about it?’, when you could have done.”

(BBC interview, 2005)

“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.”

(Paris climate change summit, November 2015)


The then Prince of Wales looks up as he wears a hard hat during a visit to the Royal Arsenal Woolwich housing project in London, 16 June 2005

Image Credit: Alamy / Anwar Hussein

“Why has everything got to be vertical, straight, unbending, only at right angles – and functional?”

(Speech marking the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 30 May 1984)

“You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.”

(Criticising modern office buildings around St Paul’s Cathedral, 11 December 1987)

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“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.”

(Foreword for King George III biography, 1972)

“I personally would rather see it as Defender of Faith, not the Faith, because it means just one particular interpretation of the faith (…) People have fought each other to the death over these things (…) when we’re all actually aiming for the same ultimate goal.”

(Interview outlining his views on the relationship between the monarch as supreme governor of the Church of England and other religious faiths, 1994)

“I believe passionately that everyone has a particular God-given ability.”

(Speech at a conference organised by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, November 2004)

“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.”

(Speech, January 2014)


The then Prince of Wales painting some of the surroundings of Paro in Bhutan whilst on a visit, 9 February 1998

Image Credit: Alamy / PA Images

“I just come and talk to the plants, really – very important to talk to them, they respond, I find.”

(TV interview discussing gardening, 1 September 1986)

 “The garden at Highgrove really does spring from my heart and, strange as it may seem to some, creating it has been rather like a form of worship.”

(An introduction to a book about the Highgrove estate, 1993)

“Painting transports me into another dimension which, quite literally, refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach.”

(Exhibition of Charles’s watercolours at The Garrison Chapel, London, 2022)


Queen Elizabeth II with the Prince of Wales, Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and the Duchess of Cambridge appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, 5 June 2022.

Image Credit: Chris Jackson / PA Images / Alamy

“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.”

(TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, 1994)

“Your Majesty, Mummy.”

(Speech at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, June 2022) 

Becoming King:

Prince Charles at Westport, New Zealand, 7 November 2015

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / New Zealand Defence Force / CC BY 2.0

“Sometimes you daydream about the sort of things you might do … I think you could invest the position with something of your own personality and interest but obviously within the bounds of constitutional propriety.”

(On his future as King, in TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, 1994)

“If you chuck away too many things, you end up discovering there was value in them.”

(On the idea of bypassing his role as the rightful heir to the throne, Time Magazine, 2013)

“The idea, somehow, that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two – the two situations – are completely different”

(On the role of monarch being completely different from his position as Prince of Wales, BBC interview 2018)

Tags: King Charles III

Amy Irvine