- Though he describes himself as an “enthusiastic amateur,” Prince Charles is reportedly one the most successful living artists in the United Kingdom.
- His paintings were first exhibited in Windsor Castle in 1977, next to the work of his other artistic relatives, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Edinburgh.
- The prince favors outdoor scenes and only paints in watercolor. One of his favorite places to paint is the Queen’s estate at Balmoral.
- The Daily Telegraph reported that between 1997 and 2016, copies of his watercolors had earned as much as £2 million ($2.49 million), and the profits were donated to his charity, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund.
Prince Charles started painting in the 1970s, after he was inspired by Robert Waddell, his art master at Gordonstoun School in Scotland.
He works exclusively in watercolor, and his paintings were first exhibited in Windsor Castle in 1977. They were displayed alongside works from Queen Victoria, herself an avid watercolorist, and the Duke of Edinburgh, a painter and designer, whose sketches helped create the stained glass windows in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle.
Following his first exhibition, Prince Charles continued to show his work, which became hugely popular in the UK and abroad. Though he modestly refers to himself as an “enthusiastic amateur,” he made an estimated £2 million ($2.49 million) from the sales of copies of his watercolors between 1997 and 2016, making him one of the country’s best-selling living artists, The Daily Telegraph reported in 2016.
The prince, who has donated all profits from his artwork to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, prefers to paint outdoor scenes, favoring mountains, streams, and the surrounding areas of the Queen’s estate at Balmoral. His works have been featured on stamps in the UK and even on a Swiss ski pass.
Take a look at some of the prince’s paintings.
Prince Charles has been painting for nearly 50 years after getting his start at school in Scotland.
The prince attended Gordonstoun School, a boarding academy in Moray, Scotland. The school has a 200-acre woodland campus, and it is within walking distance to the beaches of the Moray Firth.
Many of his earlier works, like this 1986 painting of Castle Mey, showed family homes. The castle used to be the home of the Queen Mother.
Castle Mey is located in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland. It was the home of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, the Queen Mother, with whom Prince Charles was particularly close.
Many of his paintings were completed in Scotland, where he spent his youth and returns often.
He enjoys painting at a pond in Helmsdale, Scotland, where he also fishes, according to The Telegraph.
One of his favorite places to paint is Balmoral Castle, pictured below.
Balmoral Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and is owned by Queen Elizabeth II. The home was first purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
Charles has painted numerous scenes around Balmoral, including these surrounding hills.
Queen Elizabeth spends her summer holidays at Balmoral and it is believed to be her favorite residence.
“I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” said Princess Eugenie in the documentary, “Our Queen at Ninety.”
He has said he prefers watercolors because they are quicker to finish so he does not have to keep his security detail waiting too long, according to The Telegraph.
He was taught by some of Britain’s most famous artists, including John Napper, John Ward, Hugh Casson, Edward Seago, and Derek Hill, according to The Telegraph.
The prince’s paintings have been displayed in multiple exhibitions and at charity events.
His work has been shown by the Royal Collection Trust. He also had a large exhibition at Buckingham Palace for his 70th birthday.
“Lochnagar from the Gelder Cottage,” pictured below, was displayed at the Royal Paintbox: Royal Artists Past and Present exhibition at Windsor Castle.
In 1980, he and Hugh Maxwell Casson published a children’s book, “The Old Man of Lochnagar,” which is about an old, cave-dwelling man who meets a Scoticus, a bubble-blowing god of the sea.
Prince Charles has painted watercolors all over the world, like this one from 1989 of Double Haven Bay in Hong Kong.
In 1989, the Prince and his wife, Princess Diana, visited Hong Kong to open the Cultural Center, a $600 million complex on the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui.
He was also seen painting in Kyoto, Japan, in 1986.
In 1986, Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Kyoto, where they visited temples, Zen gardens, and partook in a tea ceremony, according to the LA Times.
The prince has spent a great deal of time in Switzerland, where he stays at Klosters ski resort and enjoys painting beautiful mountain scenes.
Klosters in Switzerland is Prince Charles’s favorite ski resort, according to the Daily Mail.
Klosters liked his work so much that one of his paintings was used on an annual ski pass in 1997.
In 2018, he celebrated 40 years of skiing at Klosters with a private party. In 1988, he narrowly escaped an avalanche there. The Daily Mail reported him saying, “I’ve never forgotten the sound of it. The whole mountain apparently exploding outwards … vast clouds of snow. I thought to myself My God, the horror …”
In 1994, the Royal Mail honored the prince by putting his watercolors on their stamps, including this painting of Arkle mountain in Sutherland, Scotland.
Arkle is a mountain in Sutherland, in the far northwest corner of the Scottish Highlands. Much of the mountain is made up of Cambrian quartzite, which gives it a glistening appearance when seen up close.