King Charles III: 5 Things to Know About Britain's New Monarch

Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the former Prince Charles ascended to the throne to become King of the United Kingdom

King Charles III has been around for a while now — 73 years, in fact! — and has made a name for himself as more than just a long-waiting heir to the throne. But do you know these facts and tidbits about Britain's newest monarch?

1. He's an environmental advocate — and talks to plants.

One of Charles's favorite causes is environmental advocacy. He's been a proponent of taking action on climate change for years — Monaco's Prince Albert even called him "ahead of the curve" on the topic.

He's active in sustainable practices in his own life too. He's a proponent of organic farming and started a company, Duchy Originals, that sells sustainably made food and products. He changed his vintage Aston Martin car so it could run on bioethanol fuel, made from surplus English wine. He's got a green thumb of his own, and farms himself. He's even admitted that he talks to (and gives instructions to!) the plants at his farm.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles on Tuesday. Jacob King - WPA Pool/Getty

2. He's an accomplished (and profitable!) painter.

In fact, he's one of the best-selling living painters in the United Kingdom! Charles typically paints watercolor landscapes and had made $3 million off of selling his paintings since 1997. However, this isn't some get-rich scheme for him (not that he needs much help in that department!) — Charles donates the proceeds to the Prince of Wales's charitable foundation. His lithographs can fetch anything from $3,600 to more than $21,000.

Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty

3. He hasn't been silent on political issues.

Though his mother Queen Elizabeth was famous for rarely letting her objective mask slip, Charles has been more vocal about politics. In 1993, he famously gave a speech on Islam and the West, saying, "There is nothing to be gained, and much harm to be done, by refusing to comprehend the extent to which many people in the Islamic world genuinely fear our own Western materialism and mass culture as a deadly challenge to their Islamic culture and way of life." He also has famously corresponded with many British government leaders, some of which was published in the "Black Spider Memos" — named for his notoriously spider-like scrawl.

Prince Charles
Ben A. Pruchnie - WPA Pool Getty

4. He's a published children's book author.

Charles took a childhood story set at family's Scottish residence Balmoral Castle, where Queen Elizabeth died, and published it as a children's book, The Old Man of Lochnagar, in 1980. He originally told the story to his younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, when they were children. The publishing of the book came just two years before becoming a father himself. He's since shared it with children around the United Kingdom — and later narrated a short film version.

The royal family
The royal family at Windsor Castle in 1969, (from left) Prince Edward, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. Fox Photos/Getty

5. He built a town.

The town is called Poundbury, and it's located in Dorchester, England. It's been built on the land he owns through the Duchy of Cornwall. Charles, who's long been interested in urban planning and development, wants the town to be a fusion of traditional architecture and contemporary urban planning.

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