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King Charles III throughout the years - from long-serving heir to becoming monarch

The King has led a varied life since being born in 1948

Split image of King Charles as a child, as he is now and as an adult with a baby Prince William
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
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King Charles has had a hectic start to 2024 following the monarch's cancer diagnosis on 5 February. On 21 February, the King resumed in-person meetings as he met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for their weekly audience.

Throughout his life, the King has faced many challenges and memorable moments with the monarch's life often being captured in impressive portraits from his birth, to becoming a father for the first time with his own children.

WATCH: All that is known about the King's cancer diagnosis

Scroll down to see the King's pivotal life moments told in official portraits…

A baby in a basket© Central Press

A King is born – 1948

Born on 14 November 1948, Charles will have had no idea of the future that was destined for him. In his first official photograph, the future King was all bundled up in his basket. What a sweet sight!

A black-and-white photo of King Charles and Princess Anne with the Queen© Bettmann

And then there were two – 1954

Although Princess Anne was born in 1950, we couldn't help but share this sweet photo of the late Queen with Charles and Anne. The snap, which was taken in 1954, showcases the close bond between the growing family.

A black-and-white photograph the Queen and Prince Philip with a corgi and a young Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and King Charles© Bettmann

Andrew makes three – 1960

The future King gained another sibling in 1960, and in this sweet snap at Balmoral the royal could be seen sat with his parents and siblings with a young Prince Andrew on Prince Philip's knee. One of the Queen's beloved corgis even got in on the action!

The Queen sat with a young Prince Edward on a sofa. Behind the sofa from left to right are Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and King Charles© Anwar Hussein

The final sibling – 1960s

Charles's youngest sibling, Prince Edward, was born in 1964, and this family portrait from the decade showcases the close bond between the royal family. Each member looks into another's eyes, with Charles linking up with the late Queen and Philip meeting the gaze of his only daughter. Meanwhile, Andrew keeps an eye on his younger brother.

King Charles a naval commander© Frank Barratt

Military service – 1976

Following his education, Charles entered into active military service, and spent his final year as the commander of HMS Bronington, a coastal minehunter. In this photo taken onboard in 1976, the future King is seen with a photograph of his grandmother, the Queen Mother.

PHOTO: King Charles photographed by Rankin in striking birthday portrait

DISCOVER: Prince George destined to have unique bond with his 'mentor' grandfather King Charles

Princess Diana in blue with King Charles stood behind her© Tim Graham

Happily engaged – 1981

Charles and Princess Diana had been seeing each other for several months before the royal got down on one knee for the future Princess of Wales. The pair looked so happy in this photo, with Diana showing off her sparkling sapphire engagement ring.

King Charles in military uniform stood with Princess Diana in a wedding dress© David Levenson

Charles and Diana's big day – 1981

Five months after proposing to Diana, Charles walked down the aisle with his blushing bride. This official portrait was commissioned following the pair's wedding and captures their love, as well as Diana's impressive wedding dress.

Princess Diana and King Charles with a baby Prince William© Mirrorpix

A royal heir – 1982

Charles and Diana's first son, Prince William, was born in 1982, and he proved to be a breakout star during their royal tour of Australia. In this sweet snap, the family enjoyed some playtime while Down Under.

A young Prince William in the centre of the room surrounded by other members of the royal family© Anwar Hussein

A second Prince – 1984

The couple's second son, Prince Harry, was born in 1984. Despite Harry being the main focus on the day of his christening in this family portrait, it was William who stole the show, entertaining his family with his antics.

Prince William sat with Prince Harry and Princess Diana on the left and King Charles and the Queen on the right© Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library

A special day for Prince William – 1997

Although 1997 would be remembered by Charles and his sons for the death of Princess Diana, it also marked an important moment for William, as the royal was confirmed into the Church of England. The snap didn't capture Charles at his most glamorous with the royal appearing to be mid-blink as he sat with the late Queen, Diana and his sons.

King Charles, Prince William and Prince Philip standing behind the Queen© Anwar Hussein

Honouring the Queen - 2003

The late Queen always had her son's backing in this 2003 portrait marking her 50th anniversary on the throne, she was joined by her two immediate heirs and husbamd.

King Charles in a kilt standing with Queen Camilla in a green outfit© Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library

A second love – 2005

Charles's heart was always with Queen Camilla, and the pair reconciled their romance following his divorce from Princess Diana. In 2005, Charles proposed marriage to his beloved and the pair walked down the aisle later that year.

King Charles kissing the late Queen's hand© LEON NEAL

Diamond Jubilee - 2012

The King was also on hand to celebrate his mother's legacy when she marked her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. In this sweet photo taken ahead of a concert, the future King sweetly kissed his mother's hand.

King Charles and Queen Camilla outside of a cottage© Chris Jackson

The longest heir - 2019

King Charles was the heir to the throne for most of his life, being the longest in British history. In 2019, he marked 50 years of being the Prince of Wales, with the anniversary coinciding with Wales Week.

King Charles walking behind the Queen's coffin© MARCO BERTORELLO

The Queen's funeral – 2022

Charles found himself thrust into the spotlight following the death of his mother in 2022. The new King led the nation in mourning for the late monarch, keeping duty at the forefront of his mind. Charles led the procession at his mother's funeral, following her coffin closely.

King Charles and Queen Camilla waving from a balcony© OLI SCARFF

The coronation – 2023

Charles held his coronation in 2023 and was crowned alongside his wife, Queen Camilla. In this photo, the new King and Queen stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of the assembled crowds.

King Charles in a blue suit next to a Christmas tree© WPA Pool

Christmas message – 2023

Charles has been making changes since he became monarch, and his annual Christmas message in 2023 featured a greener moment, with the King delivering his address while standing next to a Christmas tree that was destined to be re-planted.

LISTEN: What King Charles thought of the late Queen's parenting style

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