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Since the age of three, Prince Charles has been heir apparent to the British throne. Born in 1948, his mother ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. As heir to the throne, Prince Charles currently holds a number of royal titles.
From the moment he became heir apparent, Charles became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay in Scotland.
In 1958, the Queen also decided to appoint Charles as the next Prince of Wales, a title which has been given to the heir apparent for centuries.
Charles was formally invested as Prince of Wales in 1969, and he has now surpassed previous records to become the longest-serving heir apparent in British royal history.
In other monarchies around Europe, it has become more common for kings and queens to abdicate in favour of their children in recent years.
However the Queen is unlikely to abdicate, and at the age of 94 she is still sovereign.
On her 21st birthday in 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth said her “whole life” would be dedicated to royal service during a speech in South Africa.
She said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
When the Queen dies, the crown is expected to pass to Prince Charles as he is next in line to the throne.
And when he becomes King, he will have the option of choosing a different name to reign under.
It will not be until Charles takes the throne that we will find out what his regnal name will be.
Charles could decide to keep his own name as King, like his mother did, and simply reign as King Charles III.
Or he could choose a different regnal name like his grandfather King George VI, whose first name was actually Albert.
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Alternatively, Charles could also choose from any of the four names he was given at birth.
Charles was born Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, and he could decide to honour his father as King Philip.
Similarly, he could choose to be known as King Arthur, which has connotations of the legendary King Arthur.
But he could also decide to reign as King George VII, in tribute to the Queen’s father.
The Constitution Unit at University College London (UCL) explain on their website: “He is free to choose his own regnal title.
“King Edward VII chose Edward as his regnal title, although hitherto he had been known by his first name of Albert.
“King Edward VIII also chose Edward as his regnal title, although he was known to his family and friends as David.
“Prince Charles’s Christian names are Charles Philip Arthur George.
“Instead of becoming King Charles he might choose to become King George VII, or King Philip, or King Arthur.”
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