Charles' biographer details King's harrowing and 'sadistic' school bullying


    In 1962, at the age of 13, King Charles III was sent to Gordonstoun, a private school on the north coast of Scotland where his late father Prince Philip had also studied and wanted his son to go to. The decision to send him to school was a significant departure from the royal norm, and one the young Prince reportedly hated. Charles did not enjoy his time at Gordonstoun, labelling it as “a prison sentence” and calling the school “Colditz in kilts”. Now, a royal biographer has claimed the monarch endured severe bullying while there, claiming one of Charles’ former classmates said it’s a “miracle he survived”. 

    Christopher Anderson, author of ‘The King: The Life of Charles III’, was a guest on this week’s episode of the Royally Us podcast. 

    He spoke to host Christina Garibaldi about his upcoming biography, explaining how he delves into the monarch’s past, focusing on his childhood, school days and relationships with his parents. 

    Mr Anderson said: “He is in many ways, I think the most complicated, paradoxical, enigmatic figure ever to sit on the throne, in contrast with his mother. We felt like we knew the Queen and she had a sense of herself. 

    “Charles is still a work in progress after all this time. And I always go back to the beginning, so much of this starts with childhood and he was a heartbreakingly lonely child.”

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    “And even though they were there, they weren’t present. They did not go to Charles’ childhood birthdays, they did not show up in the hospital when he broke his ankle or had an emergency appendectomy. The Queen wouldn’t leave t​​he Palace.” 

    He continued: “There was always this tension between Charles and the rest of the Royal Family, especially his parents. Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin, said it was never a cosy relationship…but the family is not set up to be cosy.” 

    The King has opened up about his relationship with his parents in the past, describing them as “emotionally distant” in an authorised biography. 

    In 1994, Jonathan Dimbleby authored ‘The Prince of Wales: A Biography’ and, with Charles’s approval, claimed the King’s deepest anger is reserved for the Duke of Edinburgh, who is described as “harsh”, “hectoring” and irked by his son’s sensitive nature. Charles reportedly blamed his father for sending him to Gordonstoun.

    However, in recent decades, as the Queen began to recognize Charles’ considerable charitable contributions, and as he settled into a happy life with Queen Consort Camilla, it seemed the mother-son relationship improved. They shared several interests, including a love of the country, witty comedic timing, and as Dimbleby notes, “a similar sense of the ridiculous.” 

    As the late monarch grew older, she became more expressive about her view of her eldest son and heir. In 2018, she made a toast to Charles at his 70th birthday party, with a speech that showed the love behind her reserved facade. She said: “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. So, this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original.”

    Likewise, the tensions between Charles and his father reportedly decreased in the years before the Duke’s death. While their personalities were dissimilar, they too shared multiple interests: they were both artists, fascinated by nature and the environment, the Navy and the development of young people. 

    During the coronavirus lockdowns, the King gave a touching tribute to his “dear papa” days after he passed. He said: “My family and I miss my father enormously. My dear papa was a very special person, who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and what touching things have been said about him.”


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