Charles and Camilla attend Braemar Highland games
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Prince Charles, 73, honoured his mother the Queen’s 70-year reign at the weekend by opening The Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Archway. The future King carried out the ribbon-cutting in the village of Braemar during his visit to the Scottish Highlands. As part of his trip north of the border, the Prince of Wales attended a Sunday church service at Balmoral. However, the Queen was absent from the church of Crathie Kirk due to her ongoing mobility issues.
The 96-year-old monarch, who will one day be succeeded by Charles as Sovereign, once gave her stark view of her heir to the throne.
Her Majesty spoke of her son’s isolation at Cheam School, Hampshire in a letter to then Prime Minister Anthony Eden in 1958.
She wrote: “Charles is just beginning to dread the return to school next week—so much worse for the second term.”
The insight into the Queen’s take on her nine-year-old son’s schooldays was unearthed by US journalist Sally Bedell Smith.
She included it in her 2017 biography of the future King, ‘Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life’.
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In one passage, she wrote: “Charles’s loneliness and unhappiness at Cheam were painfully obvious to his family.”
The author added: “She knew that Cheam was ‘a misery’ to her son, according to a biography of Charles by Dermot Morrah, which was sanctioned by the Royal Family.
“Morrah observed that the Queen thought her son was ‘a slow developer’.”
Charles had initially been home-schooled, but by the age of eight, the Queen and his father Prince Philip, who passed away last year, decided he needed to be around other children.
They sent Charles to Hill House School, in Knightsbridge, a move that broke royal protocol as the Prince became the first heir to the throne not to be home-schooled.
However, after six months, Philip pulled Charles out of the school and sent him to Cheam in the Hampshire village of Headley.
The Duke of Edinburgh had also attended the preparatory boarding school from the age of eight.
But the future King, who was more interested in reading and writing than sports, became very homesick.
He also did not show the same level of sporting prowess at school as his father, according to Ms Bedell Smith.
She wrote: “Physically uncoordinated and slow as well as overweight, Charles had no talent for Rugby, cricket, or soccer—the prestigious schoolboy sports.
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“During vacations he joined local boys who lived near Balmoral for cricket matches.
“‘I would invariably walk boldly out to the crease,’ he recalled, ‘only to return, ignominiously, a few minutes later when I was out for a duck’—that is, having failed to score any runs.
“Elizabeth had taught Charles to ride, starting at age four. He was timorous on horseback, while his sister, Anne, was bold.
“Mostly he feared jumping. Anne’s equine prowess pleased her mother, and Philip saw a kindred spirit in her confidence and fearlessness.”
However, things got even worse for Charles after his five years at Cheam as he was sent to Gordonstoun School.
In 1962 Philip personally flew his son to the rural Scottish institution, which he had also attended, and which Charles deemed a “prison sentence”.
Various profiles of Charles’ childhood have highlighted the Prince’s apparently difficult relationship with his father at times.
But last year, as Charles paid tribute to the late Duke in a BBC One documentary, he noted the fun that Philip had enjoyed with his children during their early years.
Charles said: “He was marvellous at arranging silly games. I mean, the fun of having obviously young parents was… there were lots of chasing around and mad things.”
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