Prince Charles has spent seven whole decades as heir to the throne. He's the longest-reigning heir apparent ever and for over 70 years, the British public - and people all over the world - called him Charles. But when he ascends the throne, he might not be known as King Charles. In fact, we might have to call him by a completely different name. It's thought the Prince of Wales might not want to keep his name to reign as monarch thanks to negative connotations with former kings bearing the name Charles.
It's not unusual for a royal to change their given name once they're on the throne. When Queen Victoria's son, Prince Albert Edward, became king in 1901 he took the name Edward VII. And in 1936 another Albert, Duke of York - the Queen's father - ascended the throne with the name King George VI. Both used one of their given names, just not their first name.
So Prince Charles could choose Philip, Arthur or George as his 'regnal' name. In 2005 multiple reports circulated that Charles had held private talks with “trusted friends” about the possibility of using his third middle name, George. Should he do this, he would reign as King George VII. Speaking to Studio 10, former royal butler Grant Harrold said, "Normally royal children have two or three names.
"The reason is, if possibly that child was to become a king or queen, they have to have a kind of pool to choose from. "For example, Prince Charles, if and when he becomes king, would be - people assume he would be Charles III. "But he could technically be George VII because George is in his name." A former Buckingham Palace spokesperson, Dickie Arbiter, said this decision would also be a lovely tribute to Charles' grandparents. "It would not just be a tribute to his grandfather [King George VI], but a sort of loving memory to his late grandmother, whom he absolutely adored," he told the BBC.
But Clarence House quickly rubbished the claims, saying no decision had been made and it would be decided at the time Charles became king. Given the lack of two former monarchs named King Charles, it's likely the Prince of Wales won't adopt this when he ascends the throne. Charles I, who became king in 1625, dismissed parliament three times and resolved to rule alone four years later. He reigned without a Parliament for more than a decade, a period which was dubbed 'eleven years' tyranny'.
Following two civil wars, Charles was tried and convicted of being a 'tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy to the good people of the nation' and was beheaded for treason on January 30, 1649. His son, Charles II, lived in exile until he was crowned King of England, Ireland and Scotland in 1661. He was popular and dubbed "the Merry Monarch", changing laws brought in by Oliver Cromwell and allowing people more freedom to enjoy themselves.
But he also lived a controversial lifestyle, fathering at least 14 illegitimate offspring. It is unlikely Prince Charles will want to take on the moniker, unless he wishes to change negative connotations with the name. We will only know if Charles chooses to change his name as and when the time comes that he ascends the throne.