He served in the Royal Navy, rising to command H.M.S. Bronington, a small mine-hunter, from February to December 1976.
He was educated at Hill House School in West London, Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, Gordonstoun School in Scotland, Geelong Grammar School in Australia, then Trinity College, Cambridge (where he studied anthropology and archaeology) and finally University College, Aberystwyth (to learn the Welsh language).
Most of Charles's income comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, which he has held since 1952, when he was three years old. This is as the result of a 14th century Royal Charter which gives the Duchy of Cornwall (including its large landed estates) to the monarch's eldest son.
When Charles was baptized, his godparents included King George VI, Queen Mary, and Princess Margaret of England, King Haakon VII of Norway, and Prince George of Greece and Denmark.
When Charles was born in 1948, his mother was not yet Queen, so his name until he was three years old was Prince Charles of Edinburgh - this came from his father's title of Duke of Edinburgh.
As both of his grandfathers died when he was a small child, he adopted his great-uncle, Earl Mountbatten, as an honorary grandfather. Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in 1979 when they planted a bomb in his boat in Donegal Bay, County Sligo, Ireland.
On his father's side, his grandparents were Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
He was born at Buckingham Palace, London.
In Scotland, he is called H.R.H. Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay.
Charles has held the title Prince of Wales since 1958, so he is now the second longest serving Prince of Wales in history.
In 1955, he became the first Prince that attended school, rather than have a private tutor.
Prince Charles's first wife was the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He is now married to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall - previously Camilla Parker Bowles.
His Astrological sign is Scorpio.
Though he is first in line as heir to the throne of England, many citizens hope that he passes the crown on to his first son, Prince William.
Prince Charles retired from polo on November 17, 2005. He has suffered several polo injuries over the years, including breaking his arm in two places in an 1990 match.
Prince Charles: We need to recover the depth, the subtlety, the generosity of imagination, the respect for wisdom that so marked Islam in its great ages.
Prince Charles: What I've been trying to do for twenty years is just gently place the pedestrian at the centre of the design process rather than the car, to automatically create more liveable communities.
Prince Charles: I learned the way a monkey learns - by watching its parents.
Prince Charles: There are now more TV's in British households than there are people - which is a bit of a worry.
Prince Charles: You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings, it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.
Prince Charles: What's wrong with everyone nowadays? What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities? This is all to do with the learning culture in schools. It is a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure and tells people they can be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or even infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary effort or having natural abilities. It's social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially re-engineeered to contradict the lessons of history.
Prince Charles: To get the best results, you must talk to your vegetables.
Prince Charles: I know that my ideas are sometimes portrayed as old-fashioned. Well, they may be, but what I am concerned about are the things that are timeless, regardless of the age that we live in.
Prince Charles: I just come and talk to the plants, really... very important to talk to them, they respond, I find.
Prince Charles: I hope other newspapers will show restraint and not use these pictures.
Prince Charles: (of a planned extension to London's National Gallery) A monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.
Prince Charles: The whole imposing edifice of modern medicine is like the celebrated tower of Pisa - slightly off balance.
Prince Charles: Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?
Prince Charles: Father told me if I ever met a lady in a dress like yours, I must look her straight in the eyes.
Prince Charles: If English is spoken in heaven, God undoubtedly employs Cranmer as his speechwriter. The angels of the lesser ministries probably use the language of the New English Bible and the Alternative Service Book for internal memos.
Prince Charles: I sometimes wonder if two-thirds of the globe is covered in red carpet.