Holding his first grandchild and heir Prince George on his christening day (click to see it), Prince Charles looks every inch the doting grandfather. The rarely seen image of the two future kings sits on top of the piano in the Garden Room at Clarence house, but is now one of dozens of the Prince of Wales's personal family photographs being shared through a new online project. Royal fans will be able to view them and many of the artworks inside the Prince's London home via Google's Arts and Culture platform, which launches on Wednesday to mark his 70th birthday. The collection includes images and footage of Prince Charles playing with his mother the Queen as a toddler, attempting to climb through a window with his little sister Princess Anne at Balmoral and the two young royals meeting David Attenborough and a cockatoo in the 1950s.
Prince Charles and Princess Anne with David Attenborough. The Royal Collection Trust / HM Queen Elizabeth II 2018
Another comical series of photographs show Charles in a kilt out fishing with a young Prince Harry in Scotland. As the little prince attempts to cast his line, he catches the hook on his father's sweater. The project, entitled The Charities of the Prince of Wales, also uses 360 degree Street View imagery to take you inside the ground floor of Clarence House and through the painstakingly restored interiors of Dumfries House - the Scottish mansion saved for the nation by the Prince more than a decade ago.
Princes Charles, Harry and William on the shores of Loch Muick. © Lesley Donald
High-resolution photography also allows users to explore hundreds of artworks from the Royal Collection, including a Philip de László portrait of the Queen as a young child, in minute detail. And they can even take a virtual step into the Prince's celebrated garden at Highgrove and learn all about it from head gardener Debs Goodenough. Crucially the project takes an in-depth look at ten of the charities which Charles is passionate about, including The Prince's Trust, The Prince's Foundation, The Royal Drawing School and Turquoise Mountain, which supports the traditional arts and architecture in Afghanistan.
Prince Charles wears the Balmoral tartan when in residence on the Scottish Estate
There is even a section on the heir to the throne’s status as a sustainable fashion leader, with commentary from Vogue editor Edward Enniful and Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council. A Clarence House spokesman said the project came about after the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall visited YouTube, which is a subsidiary of Google, in May this year. He said: "The Prince was fascinated by the opportunity that Google Arts and Culture provides to connect people to museums, other cultural institutions and provide access which they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have. He was very taken with its potential."
The spokesman said Charles "has had a very close eye on how this project has been developing", adding: "He’s thrilled that he has been able to showcase some of the charities that he feels passionately about." Google Arts and Culture is an online platform which works with some 2,000 museums and other cultural institutions from 80 different countries to give the public access to items from their collections using high-resolution photography. Suhair Khan, who leads on its global initiatives and partnerships, met the Prince and the Duchess during their visit in May.
The Duke of Rothesay at Dumfries House, Scotland
She said: "We fell in love with their dedication to the Arts and heritage and we thought it really was a wonderful project to come online and to document, to be able to share with people around the world in a way that possibly hadn’t been done before." Director Amit Sood said: "Our initiative was developed to share and broaden access to all types of arts and culture. With The Charities of The Prince of Wales initiative we have really uncovered personal stories, archives, wonderful locations and more. To be invited into this world and see the impact of these Charities is an inspiration."
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