Nearly five years before Queen Elizabeth II assumed the British throne, she and husband Prince Philip welcomed their first child, son King Charles III.
The late queen, who died in 2022 after 70 years as England’s monarch, gave birth to Charles when she was still Princess Elizabeth. Her Majesty assumed the throne in February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. Elizabeth’s coronation was held the following June — with the former Duke of Edinburgh, who died in 2021, Charles and daughter Princess Anne, born in 1950, by her side.
“I shall never forget when we were small, having a bath, and she came in practicing wearing the crown before the coronation,” Charles recalled of his mother during a 2022 interview for the BBC, which aired after her death that September. “All those sorts of marvelous moments, I shall never forget. … She was always there, I could talk to her about this, that, or the other. I think that’s always going to be something that will be very difficult not to have.”
Charles, then 3, became his mother’s heir apparent after she assumed the throne. As His Majesty grew up, he received a number of new titles including Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. Charles, as first in line for the crown, also took on the mantle of Prince of Wales following his 1969 investiture ceremony, in which the queen presided.
“Speaking for myself, as a result of my two-month stay in this country, I have come to see far more in the title I hold than hitherto,” Charles gushed of Wales, a member of the United Kingdom, during his ceremony speech. “I am more than grateful to the people of this Principality for making my brief stay so immensely worthwhile and for giving me such encouragement in the learning of the language.”
Elizabeth — who also shared sons Prince Andrew, born in 1960, and Prince Edward, born in 1964, with Philip — later witnessed Charles start his own family following his 1981 nuptials to Princess Diana. The Trinity College alum and Diana, who died in 1997 after a fatal car crash, went on to welcome sons Prince William and Prince Harry in 1982 and 1984, respectively.
Charles and the late People’s Princess, who died at the age of 36, separated in 1992. Their divorce, which was finalized four years later, ultimately had to be granted by Elizabeth due to royal protocol. Following his divorce, Charles — who went on to marry Queen Consort Camilla in April 2005 — continued to focus on supporting his mother’s reign through the years, which became a source of great pride for Elizabeth.
“It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday,” the long-reigning sovereign said in a November 2018 birthday speech on Charles’ behalf. “It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like — to use an analogy I am certain will find favor — planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.”
She continued at the time: “Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader — a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father. Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.”
Elizabeth died at the age of 96, more than one year after Philip passed away at the age of 99. Charles, who immediately assumed the throne following his mother’s death, paid tribute to her enduring legacy in his first statement as monarch.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” his message read at the time. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Charles and the rest of the royal family — including his siblings, sons and daughters-in-law Princess Kate and Meghan Markle — came together for Elizabeth’s state funeral later that month. His coronation is scheduled for May 2023, eight months after his mother’s memorial.
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Scroll below to revisit Elizabeth and Charles’ sweetest mother-son memories together:
Originally published at www.usmagazine.com