Charles III is seen in the documentary talking about his life with a serene and reflective attitude, and the film concludes with a powerful message: “I’m not saying that I’m perfect, but I’m sure I’m trying to be the best person I can be.”
Charles III has had the chance to narrate his life journey in his own words. The BBC’s new documentary, Charles R: The Making of a Monarch, narrated by the venerable king himself, uses unseen archive material and footage to paint a portrait of the seven decades of the royal’s life, from his infancy to his role as a father and grandfather. At the end of the documentary, there are photos of Charles holding the Princess Charlotte in his arms and another of him with the young Prince George. The documentary fundamentally disputes numerous common opinions about Charles and his character. Even though some biographers have previously commented on the king’s difficult childhood, Charles concentrates on the optimistic aspects. “I do have very joyous memories of my childhood,” he avows in front of a home movie of him playing as a child, before adding that, even though his mother was very occupied when he was little, she had a great sense of humour. “We had a lot of fun,” he states. “Sometimes I could make her laugh, she was always very cheerful.” One of the most interesting parts of the film are the footage shot during the making of Royal Family, a 1969 documentary about the Windsors that has not been broadcast for more than 50 years. In some clips, Charles is seen waterskiing, windsurfing and starting a fire during a family camping trip. “I like to think of us as a family rather than a business,” Charles III remarks in an interview from that earlier documentary. “In that way, I’m just beginning to see my parents and the rest of my family as other people, you know what I mean? To consider them as people with distinct and different qualities.” In a section devoted to his hobbies, Charles explains some of the qualities of his personality that have led him to prefer sports such as polo and skiing to the horse races that his mother liked. “I’m one of those incorrigible characters who likes to try all kinds of things because it suits my taste, and I’m one of those people who don’t like to sit and watch what’s happening,” he says. “I don’t like going to races and watching horses running up and down because I’d rather be riding them.” The documentary also includes an interview with Queen Camilla, which highlights the characteristics of the king she admires. “People think of him as a serious person, and he is, but I wish more people could see his lighter side,” she says, before the documentary cuts to an old movie of the king dancing the Hokey Pokey. Charles III also praises his wife. “She’s the best listener in the world,” he says. “She really knows how to handle people.” In addition to focusing on his relationship with Prince William as heir to the throne, the documentary shows many images of the late queen and her father, King George V. “Like a farmer’s son following his father in the farm and picking things up,” he remarks when an interviewer inquires what he wishes to pass on to William, “I hope he does the same, in a way.” The late Princess Diana, Charles’ ex-wife, and his younger son, Prince Harry, appear only briefly in the documentary. The 1981 marriage to Diana is represented by images of the stamps issued for the occasion, while Harry is seen in profile during a walk in Balmoral immediately after his mother’s death in 1997. However, in a segment of the 1994 interview with biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, Charles speaks of the effect media coverage is having on both children. “Now, of course, the problem is that our children are reaching the age where they read newspapers, and it’s really traumatic,” he says. “Over the years I’ve learnt to try and ignore it by simply not reading the papers. Otherwise you go mad. But with the children, what do you do?” The documentary concludes with a powerful message: “I’m not saying that I’m perfect, but I’m sure I’m trying to be the best person I can be.” Charles III is seen in the documentary talking about his life with a tranquil and reflective attitude, and in an interview with Queen Camilla she highlights his lighter side. “People consider him a serious person, and he is, but I wish more people could see his lighter side,” she says, before the documentary cuts to an old movie of the king dancing the Hokey Pokey. “I’m one of those incorrigible characters who likes to try all kinds of things because it suits my taste,” Charles III remarks when speaking of his hobbies.