The happy young chap pictured heading off to school in his smart uniform could be any Fifties youngster. In fact the charming black and white image shows the nine-year-old Prince Charles marking a momentous step on the road to his royal destiny.

He had just been created the Prince of Wales by his mother, the Queen - although it was to be another 11 years before his investiture.

The shot is among rarely seen family pictures and souvenirs which will go on public display next May to celebrate the Prince's 60th birthday on November 14. The Windsor Castle Exhibition gives an unprecedented insight into the life of the man born to be king.

It includes his history notebook, with doodles on the cover, and childish drawings of the Battle of Hastings. On show, too, is his geometry set, containing a ruler with P Charles scratched on it.

Photos feature of Charles playing with his little sister Anne under the watchful eye of their mum. There are also later images of him with Diana, and others with Camilla, as well as snaps taken with Harry and William.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The newly created Prince of Wales heads off proudly to his Cheam prep schoolPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The new exhibition to mark Charles' 60th birthday next year includes photos and souvenirs such as his childhood geometry setPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Mementos like this history notebook, complete with childish spelling errors, offer a unique insight into the young Prince's life Photo: © Getty Images