The King is celebrating his landmark 75th birthday today (November 14) after a first busy full year as monarch. King Charles Philip Arthur George was born on November 14, 1948 at Buckingham Palace to the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh – later Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
He has led a varied and interesting life and has passed many milestones along the way – from being the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history to being the eldest person to accede to the throne.
As well as this, there are many unique and surprising facts that are not so commonly known, whether it is the reason experts thought he would choose to rule under a different regnal name or the incredible way his car runs on cheese and wine!
Unbelievable way King Charles fuels his car
King Charles has aired his climate change concerns for over five decades and has taken many personal steps to reduce the impact he has on the environment. He had his beloved Aston Martin converted to run on bioethanol made from cheese and wine back in 2008.
Engineers at Aston Martin discovered that their cars could run on surplus English white wine mixed with whey. According to The Telegraph the manufacturers are said to have urged the King not to switch out his fuel.
The King said: "The engineers at Aston said, 'Oh, it’ll ruin the whole thing,' I said, 'Well I won’t drive it then,' so they got on with it and now they admit that it runs better and is more powerful on that fuel than it is on petrol… And also, it smells delicious as you’re driving along."
The car was a gift to the King on his 21st birthday in 1969 and was later loaned to Prince William and Kate as they drove from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House after their 2011 wedding. The back licence plate was swapped out for one that read ‘Just Wed’ and balloons were tied on at the back.
Why experts thought King Charles would change his name
While it would have been confusing, many experts questioned whether the King would choose to change his name at the time of his accession to avoid the bad luck associated with previous Kings with the name Charles.
King Charles I is best remembered for being overthrown by Oliver Cromwell after his defeat at the English Civil War in 1645 and being the first monarch to be beheaded. He also had a bad personal reputation because he was a staunch believer in the Divine Right of Kings, which meant he thought his right to rule came from God and he wasn’t answerable to Parliament.
King Charles II, on the other hand, was very popular after the Restoration but his reign was considered as equally as unlucky because he was unable to have a legitimate heir and both the Great Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 took place during his time on the throne.
Several famous monarchs have previously chosen to take a different regnal name to their real name. Queen Victoria was born as Princess Alexandrina but took the name Victoria as it was thought Alexandrina sounded too foreign to be the name of a British queen.
The late Queen’s father also took a different regnal name. He was born as Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George on December 14, 1895 and ruled as King George VI.
Unique childhood home you've never heard of
King Charles' life changed forever when he was four years old in 1952. Following the sudden death of his grandfather, King George VI, he went from being second in line to the throne who spent some of his earliest years living in Malta, to being the son of the new young Queen..
These years away from the UK were full of happy memories for the young family as they spent time as a normal family living at Villa Guardamangia which is located just outside of the capital city of Valletta between 1949 and 1951.
The 18th century limestone villa was built in the style of a summer palace and was loaned to the newlyweds by Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten and was where they lived while the Duke continued his career in the Royal Navy.
The young family had returned home a few months before King George VI's death due to his worsening health and lived at Clarence House, before later relocating to Buckingham Palace.
Hollywood superstar who joked they'd marry Charles
In 1974, there were reports that the heir to the throne had struck up a bond with US royalty Barbra Streisand and the pair had become firm friends. Both parties have since spoken in public about their bond and revealed just how close they grew.
While the King remembered meeting the Hollywood legend in California while he was serving in the Navy, Barbra Streisand recalled a funny story when the then-Prince sent her flowers.
During an appearance on Lorraine, Streisand revealed: "I walked by [the assistant's] room and I saw this bouquet of flowers and I said, 'Who sent me that?' and she said, 'A fan called Charles.' And I said, 'Really? Let me see the note,'" Streisand recalled. "And there was [Prince Charles's] seal."
Noticing that the flowers looked unique because they were from the gardens, rather than a florist, she added: "They were from his gardens and it's a different look—the flowers—when they are garden flowers."
"She just mistook it for a fan," Streisand said. "It was so funny, I thought. That's Prince Charles! That was before he met Diana. I had a very funny line on stage when he came to see the show. I said, 'You know, if I played my cards right, I could have wound up being the first Jewish princess!'"
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