King Charles Marks First Birthday as Monarch with His Most Striking Photo Yet — and a New Role!

King Charles is celebrating his birthday with a new role.

Charles, who turns 74 on Monday, has officially taken over a title and post from his late father Prince Philip as he becomes the Park Ranger of Windsor Great Park.

To mark the new role (and his first birthday as King!), Charles was photographed in the glowing autumnal light of an ancient oak in the park.

Poignantly, it has been 70 years since Philip — who died in 2021 — was appointed to the role. Charles’ grandfather, King George VI, also held the position. The first ranger was Sir Henry Nevill, who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1559.

King Charles in Windsor Great Park.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As Park Ranger, Charles will offer guidance to the Deputy Ranger and his team in the day-to-day stewardship of one of the country’s oldest estates.

Charles, who has already taken over running Sandringham estate in Norfolk, will put his longtime conservation and environmental interests to work in the role. The Great Park is home to a collection of veteran and ancient oak and beech trees. In 1979, Prince Philip reintroduced red deer to the Deer Park and, in 2012, a row of young native oaks — called Ranger’s Avenue — was planted.

In a statement, Paul Sedgwick, The Crown Estate’s Managing Director, Rural and Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park, said they were “honored” that the “tradition of the Sovereign and members of the Royal Family holding this role” was continuing.

“Windsor has a wonderful heritage with many precious natural habitats,” he added. “His Majesty’s passion and commitment to the natural world will be invaluable as we seek to become a center of excellence for environmental best practice, preserving and enhancing the Great Park for generations to come.”

PAUL GROVER/POOL/AFP via Getty

The news came as his son Prince William and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, shared their birthday wishes to Charles via their social media, with a smiling picture of the King.

“Wishing a very happy birthday to His Majesty The King!” they tweeted.

Charles’ birthday was also celebrated with a 21-gun salute in Green Park, close to Buckingham Palace, and a rendition of “Happy Birthday” played by the guards at the palace.

On Sunday, Charles led the royal family in the Remembrance Day ceremony, which honors armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty

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Charles laid a new wreath, the design of which pays tribute to the wreath of his grandfather King George VI and his mother Queen Elizabeth. The wreath’s poppies were mounted on an arrangement of black leaves, as is traditional for the monarch, and featured the King’s racing colors: scarlet, purple and gold. The royal racing colors were also incorporated into the wreaths of King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

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The wreath was accompanied by a handwritten card bearing his new cypher, which was revealed in September.

The senior members of the royal family also joined Charles at the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday evening.

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