Image ID G6D6EF Prince Charles in cockpit of Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington with instructor 20051969 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo EXP 14112023.jpg
The King - then known as Prince Charles - in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
King Charles

King Charles III: A look at the Commander-in-Chief's time in the forces

Image ID G6D6EF Prince Charles in cockpit of Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington with instructor 20051969 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo EXP 14112023.jpg
The King - then known as Prince Charles - in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

King Charles III is the military's Commander-in-Chief.

He has always maintained a close relationship with the Armed Forces and served in the both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Here is a look at his time serving in the military.

King Charles III's military career

On 8 March 1971, the King – then known as Prince Charles – flew himself to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire to train as a jet pilot.

He had been given flying instruction from the Royal Air Force during his second year at Cambridge University.

IMAGE ID G47H8B Prince Charles in cockpit of Wessex helicopter at RNAS Yeovilton 12121974 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo EXP 14112023.jpg
King Charles III in the cockpit of a Wessex helicopter at RNAS Yeovilton (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

Later that year, after passing out at RAF Cranwell, he embarked on a career in the Royal Navy, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and both great-grandfathers.

Following his six-week course at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, he spent time serving on the guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and two frigates – HMS Minerva and HMS Jupiter.

1974 saw the future King qualify as a helicopter pilot and he flew Wessex helicopters with 845 Naval Air Squadron from the commando aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

IMAGE ID B4WKPH Queen Elizabeth II being shown around HMS Norfolk by Prince Charles 030772 CREDIT Trinity Mirror, Mirrorpix, Alamy Stock Photo EXP 14112023.jpg
Queen Elizabeth II is shown around HMS Norfolk by King Charles III in 1972 (Picture: Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy Stock Photo).

In February 1976, the then-Prince of Wales took command of coastal minehunter HMS Bronington, before ending his Royal Navy service nine months later.

Despite leaving the military, the King has continued to work closely with the Armed Forces and in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the highest rank in all three services – Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

He has been the Commander-in-Chief of the UK Armed Forces since the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022.

A month later, the King replaced the Duke of Sussex as Captain General of the Royal Marines - the ceremonial head of the corps.