King Charles III by Robert Jobson

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke

It would be very hard to write a book about someone whose whole life has been lived in the media. Yet this is what Robert Jobson has done. With the death of the long reigning Queen, Charles has now become the main focus of the media. Jobson is no doubt well positioned to understand his subject as he has reported on the Royal family since 1991 as royal correspondent for British newspapers including Sun, Daily Express and currently the Evening Standard. He is also royal Editor for the Australian breakfast show Sunrise on Channel 7 and royal contributor for Good Morning America.

In the introduction, he says that he set out to write an authentic and honest portrayal of the subject and in so doing found Charles to be a passionate, driven man with a love of the arts who does not seem to take praise very well. From Jobson’s personal experience, he himself found Charles to be a very funny man with a quirky sense of humour – loved Spike Milligan and the Goons. The author hopes that the picture that emerges from his research and face to face meetings with his subject is reflected in this book.

King Charles III is a very complex person who has, in the past, been cast as either stupid or the bad guy, especially with his personal relationships. He is a very polarising person. In an interview in 1994 Charles describes himself as ‘one of those people who searches. I’m interested in pursuing the path, if I can find it, through the thickets’ (xii). The author, in this book, chronicles the life of King Charles III to find out what influenced his personality and behaviour with some insight into how he will be seen from now on as he takes up the mantle of sovereign.

There are always two sides to every story or maybe three if one considers the narrative presented in the media which people are so often ready to believe. Often the truth is not allowed to get in the road of a good story. The reader might expect that for a book such as this, at this particular time in history, that only the aspects of a life that present a positive picture would be promoted. I believe that a more balanced picture emerges in this book with even Charles himself realising that he could have done things differently and should have not allowed himself to be so greatly influenced by others.

The twenty chapters in the book follow chronologically through Charles’s life. The aspects that readers would probably most want to know about would be those sections concerning his marriage to Diana and the present situation with Harry. These are well covered. Apparently both parties to the marriage had reservations about the situation but felt they were being swept forward by a force stronger than themselves. Issues like Diana’s youth, the short time they had spent together, their different personalities and interests were swept aside. They had very little in common. Charles believes that, concerning this time he let down not only the monarchy but himself and Diana (65). Diana’s early death had him reassessing his life and he tried to embrace a more modern way of living (130).

His attitude throughout his whole life has been – rise above it and get on with it and he has had much practice of doing just this. This is probably why his relationship with his younger son is so perilous at present. There is a hierarchy and a grid system about the monarchy which Charles respects but is not appreciated by Harry. All families have their disagreements but not all have to see them played out in the media.

Throughout his life, Charles has been an independent thinker and often his ideas have been criticised at the time but in hindsight applauded. He believes that if you can remove the root cause of any problem then things are fixed. He has been known to dig his heels in when he feels it necessary (156) but he also knows that his role as heir would be very different from that of being monarch (143).

The author believes that Charles’s contribution to the world during his working lifetime has been remarkable. His legacy, whether as prince or king, will be as royal philosopher, property developer, and artist, a courageous man prepared to take risks for what he sees as the greater good, and an unselfish and unflinching advocate for peace and global sustainability. (257). This book hopefully tells the true story of his remarkable journey from a shy prince to our first king of the 21st C.

King Charles III


by Robert Jobson

John Blake Publishing

ISBN:978-1-789- 46705-5


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