With such diverse interests, Charles is the most culturally attuned monarch in over a century. If Queen Elizabeth II, who died last year, was more interested in horse racing than the thousands of shows she participated in during her reign, Charles’s fascination with the arts and entertainment reflects the concerns of many of the earlier throne holders.
In the seventeenth century, Charles IA patron of painters including Rubens and Van Dyck, he built one of the most important art collections in Europe. His son, Charles II, reopened British theaters after hardline rebels had imposed a prolonged closure, laying the foundation for what is known today as the West End. In the 18th century, George III built an impressive collection of 65,000 books that made up the The heart of the British Library.
But where previous kings were known for their passions, Charles was often introduced to the things he didn’t like. Beginning in the 1980s when he was Prince of Wales, Charles has used speeches, books and television programs to repeatedly attack modern architecture and promote alternatives based on classical forms. On several occasions, it directly intervened to stop glass and steel construction projects. In the process, he angered British architects, some of whom called his intervention unconstitutional.
On Saturday, King’s love of music will be on full display. He commissioned 12 works for the coronation concert, including “Agnus Dei” for choir by London-born American composer Tariq O’Regan. In a phone interview, O’Regan said that once he “deepened into his likes and dislikes of Charles,” an image emerged of a man whose interests were “obviously apparent.”
“He’s clearly someone who is very influenced by music and other arts,” O’Regan said.
Charles has repeatedly said that his love of culture was sparked by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who took him to the Royal Opera House in London to see his first dance at the age of seven. “I remember being completely awestruck by the magic of it,” Charles He said during a 2018 radio interview.
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