Prince Charles has been heir apparent to the throne since he was three years old. Now, at the age of 72, his mother Queen Elizabeth remains healthy and able to carry out her duties as monarch, so Charles' position hasn't changed. But at some stage it will be time for the Prince of Wales to take the crown - and when that happens he can expect some major changes.
There will be the obvious things, like moving from his home in Clarence House to Buckingham Palace, and then of course there will be a change in title. Prince Charles is currently the Prince of Wales, but when he eventually becomes king that title will pass down to his son, Prince William.
So what will Charles go by when he's coronated? You might assume it'll be as simple as 'King Charles,' but there's actually no guarantee of that at all. In fact, it's very common for members of the royal family to change their name when they become monarch.
Queen Elizabeth's father was christened Albert Frederick Arthur George, but when he took to the throne in 1936, he opted to go by the name King George VI, honouring his father, King George V.
Similarly, the Queen's great-grandfather was known officially as King Edward VII, but his real name was Albert Edward. The Queen's great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, also chose a different name for her reign, having been christened Alexandrina Victoria at birth.
The Queen herself broke with this tradition, however, opting to use her own name. Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in April 1926, it's reported that the monarch bluntly replied, "My own of course!" when asked what she wanted to go by as Queen, ahead of her coronation in 1952.
All this means Prince Charles has a number of options available to him. He could, of course, go for the obvious when he becomes king and be known as King Charles III (because there have been two King Charles' in British royal history already). However, both of these former Kings had some controversy attached to them, with one having been executed for treason and the other having ruled during the dark times of the plague and the Great Fire of London. Alternatively, he might just not really fancy the name 'King Charles' because it gives off too many spaniel vibes 🤷♀️.
In that instance, there are a few other options. In typical royal fashion, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip gave their firstborn son Charles several names. The heir-to-the-throne's full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he's got three other decent names to choose from there.
There doesn't appear to have been a King Philip previously in British royal history, so this may serve as a way for Charles to carve an individual name for himself, while also paying tribute to his late father. On the flip side, he may feel uncomfortable assuming his dad's name for his regal duties.
King Arthur may sound familiar, but there's ongoing debate around whether the character and his round table ever actually existed in real life history. So if Prince Charles wanted to pinch one of his middle names for his regnal name, this could also be a good shout. The other option is to go for King George VII, but because his eldest grandson is a future King George, he might not want to take that away from him.
Charles could, of course, go for something totally unrelated to his birth names that has been historically popular for royal kings of the past, such as Henry, James or Edward, but that's probably unlikely seeing as he's got a whole host of options ready and waiting to be chosen from already.
Whatever he goes for, I'm sure he'll look great in a crown.
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