WHEN then Sun Editor Larry Lamb offered me the job of Royal Photographer in the late Seventies, I wasn’t interested.
I reluctantly accepted, because in those days you didn’t say no.
Boy, am I glad I did.
That decision drew me into the orbit of Prince Charles.
It allowed me to photograph this extraordinary individual for more than 40 years and to capture many of the moments that made the man who is now King.
We have never had a monarch more prepared for the role than Charles.
He spent 70 years as heir apparent, thinking deeply about how to improve the world, serving in the military, making hundreds of connections, becoming a loving father and grandfather.
In an extract from The Sun’s revealing book we celebrate these qualities and off-beat moments — and the times they landed him in trouble.
Many of his beliefs that were considered cranky have become mainstream — you can’t move in supermarkets now for organic food.
His sense of duty is matched only by his deep interest in people, in the UK and around the world.
His capacity for hard work is remarkable.
He has an ability to make change happen against the odds, as with his phenomenal charity the Prince’s Trust.
I have been on tours where he has noticed a community needs a school.
He returned home, raised money and got that school built, without fuss or fanfare.
On a visit to The White House, Charles pointed at me and said: “This man has followed me for . . . how long?”
“I said: “Thirty seven years, sir.”
Smiling, President Obama said: “That’s awesome.”
As a Catholic, Prince Charles gave me the greatest gift, arranging for me to meet Pope Francis.
I am regularly at Sandringham on Christmas Day.
Last Christmas I was photographing Charles as King for the first time.
He said: “It’s very kind of you to take time to be here, Arthur.”
“Sir,” I said, “You have done more for me than anyone, I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
I was the last photographer to portray him as a Prince — giving a Sun award at Dumfries House, in East Ayrshire, the night before Her Majesty the Queen died — and the first to photograph him arriving in England as King.
I hope you enjoy some of my favourite photographs of this remarkable man.
In just 35 days, on Saturday, May 6, King Charles will be crowned.
What has shaped the man who has patiently waited longer than any other to become monarch of Britain and the Commonwealth?
As the nation prepares to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III, a new Sun book — King Charles III, 100 Moments From His Journey To The Throne — looks back on the key times in his life that made the man who has become our monarch.
From childhood to crown, we bring you how his character and destiny were shaped.
Charles’s sense of duty is unquestioned, but those close to our King also value his sense of humour, loyalty and intellectual curiosity.
- Taken from: King Charles III, 100 Moments From His Journey To The Throne, by Sam Carlisle (Harper Collins) £14.99, out April 13.
PRINCESS AND A LITTLE PRINCE
November 14, 1948
LIKE a scene from a fairytale, Princess Elizabeth gazes adoringly at her baby son, England’s future king.
Both are destined for greatness as the first and second in line to the throne but, for a moment, this intimate portrait taken by Vogue photographer Cecil Beaton shows them simply as mother and newborn son.
June 2, 1953
YOUNG Prince Charles appears bored at moments in the three-hour service at Westminster Abbey.
Stood between the Queen Mother and his aunt, Princess Margaret, he curls his right fist into a ball and props his cheek on it looking glum.
He perks up when he joins his sister, Anne, two, at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Air Force flypast over The Mall.
He makes British history by becoming the first child treated to the sight of his mother’s coronation in person.
“I’LL HAVE A BRANDY PLEASE, BARMAN”
June 28, 1963
CHARLES described his time at tough Highlands public school Gordonstoun as “like Colditz in kilts”.
Former pupil Prince Philip insisted his son attended despite the Queen Mother arguing “He would be terribly cut off and lonely.”
Charles’s misery was compounded on a trip to the Isle of Lewis with four other students.
They popped into the Crown Hotel for a meal.
Charles slipped into the bar and ordered a cherry brandy, which was illegal to purchase at the age of 14.
INVESTITURE OF PRINCE OF WALES
July 1, 1969
THIS is the moment the Queen proudly invests her “most dear son” as Prince of Wales.
Her Majesty gently fastened a sword around Prince Charles’s waist and a gold ring on his finger.
Each item represents his symbolic power in Wales, his unity with its people and his duty to defend his country.
The pageantry on display at Caernarfon Castle echoes the medieval chivalry of its founder Edward I but is beamed around the world by 20th century television.
Charles addresses his people in Welsh: “It is, indeed, my firm intention to associate myself in word and deed with as much of the life of the Principality as possible – and what a principality!”
WEDDING OF THE CENTURY
July 29, 1981
DESPITE the 750million TV viewers watching them around the globe and the 2,500 in the congregation, for a few moments, Charles and Diana are lost in the solemn pledges they are making.
For them, the world has vanished.
One look at the bridegroom as Diana floats towards him in her Tudor princess gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, told everything about his love for her.
THE SADDEST DAY
September 6, 1997
DEVASTATED Princes William and Harry show their extraordinary courage, escorting Princess Diana’s coffin to Westminster Abbey, braving the tear-stained gaze of the two million people who came to pay their respects.
Charles is the first to show his tears after he laid a wreath for his ex-wife.
Under the gaze of their distraught father, the dignity and strength of the 15-year-old future King and Harry, 12, shine through.
MEET THE MISSUS
April 9, 2005
IT has taken 34 years and decades of hope and heartache but finally Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles could call each other husband and wife.
The Prince of Wales’s marriage to the woman he met in a flat near the Victoria Bus Station, is blessed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Together they will one day become King and Queen.
The register office wedding took place in the Guildhall, Windsor.
The Queen, as head of the Church of England, chose not to attend the marriage of two divorcees.
April 21, 2016
LITTLE Prince George wears a beaming smile as he poses for a picture that is released as a special set of stamps to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday on this day.
The two-year-old scamp grins alongside dad William, grandpa Charles and great-grandmother the Queen for the iconic four generations picture.
But he has to stand on foam blocks to ensure his head was on the same level as the other Royals.
George holds his father’s hand for the photo, taken in Buckingham Palace’s white drawing room in June 2015.
Photographer Ranald Mackechnie said: “Prince George was in good from, very happy and fascinated by the lights and my kit.”