Top insights from industry leaders for International Leadership week 2023
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March 24, 2023

King Charles III’s connections to further education

The coronation of King Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms is one of the most anticipated events of this year. The ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, 6 May 2023, at Westminster Abbey, will mark the formal recognition of Charles as the head of state and the Church of England, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022.

King Charles III, who ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on September 8, 2022, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has a long and distinguished history of involvement with further education. He is not only the first monarch in British history to be educated in a school but also the first to hold a university degree. In this blog post, we will explore how King Charles III’s education shaped his views and actions on various issues related to further education.

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King Charles III was born on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace, London, as the eldest child of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He received his early education at home from private tutors, before attending Hill House School in Knightsbridge, London, for nine months in 1956-1957. He then moved to Cheam Preparatory School in Hampshire, where his father had also been a pupil, and stayed there until 1962. He then transferred to Gordonstoun School in Scotland, a boarding school founded by German educator Kurt Hahn, who emphasised character development and outdoor activities. King Charles III later described his time at Gordonstoun as “a very important part of my education”.

In 1966, King Charles III became the first heir to the British crown to attend university, when he enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge. He studied archaeology and anthropology for two years, before switching to history for his final year. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. During his time at Cambridge, he also spent a term at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he learned Welsh in preparation for his investiture as Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969. He also spent two terms as an exchange student at Geelong Grammar School in Australia, where he attended the Timbertop campus, a remote outpost that offered a rugged and challenging curriculum.

After graduating from Cambridge, King Charles III joined the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, serving as a jet pilot and a helicopter pilot, respectively. He left the military in 1976 and embarked on a career in public service and charitable work. He became involved with various causes and organisations related to further education, such as The Prince’s Trust, which he founded in 1976 to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their potential through education, training and employment; The Prince’s Teaching Institute, which he launched in 2006 to support teachers’ professional development and promote subject-based teaching; The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, which he established in 1986 to advocate for sustainable urban design and architecture; and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which he founded in 2004 to promote the study and practice of traditional arts and crafts.
King Charles III has also been a vocal supporter of lifelong learning and adult education. He has expressed his belief that “education is about drawing out from people what they have within them already” and that “learning is for life”. He has praised the role of community colleges and universities in providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue their interests and passions. He has also advocated for more recognition and support for vocational education and skills training, especially in sectors such as agriculture, engineering and manufacturing.
education is about drawing out from people what they have within them already

King Charles III

As King of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth of Nations, King Charles III continues to champion further education as a means of empowering individuals and communities, fostering social cohesion and economic development, and addressing global challenges such as climate change and poverty. He has visited numerous educational institutions across the world, meeting with students, teachers and researchers, and sharing his views and insights on various topics. He has also conferred honours and awards on outstanding educators and learners, recognising their achievements and contributions to society.
King Charles III’s connection with further education is not only personal but also historical. He is the descendant of several monarchs who were patrons or founders of educational institutions, such as King Henry VI (Eton College), King Henry VIII (Christ Church College), Queen Elizabeth I (Trinity College Dublin), King James I (University of Edinburgh), King George II (British Museum) and Queen Victoria (Royal College of Music). He is also the successor of Queen Elizabeth II, who oversaw a significant expansion and diversification of further education during her reign.
King Charles III’s connection with further education is also visionary and inspirational. He is the leader of a nation that has a rich and diverse educational heritage and culture, as well as a global reputation for excellence and innovation in education. He is also the role model for millions of people who aspire to learn more and achieve more through education.