King Charles III gaffes: top 5 awkward moments from monarch caught on camera, from Diana interview to pen-gate
King Charles III has not been immune to public gaffes - here are some of his most awkward moments
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It’s not the first time Charles has appeared on TV, as the heir to the throne since he was three years old, the senior royal has lived his entire life as a major public figure, and is often surrounded by cameras.
It would be nigh on impossible to live a life in the public eye for more than 70 years without making a few gaffes that are immortalised by video cameras.
Though far less prone to off the cuff and off-colour comments than his father, Prince Phillip (“How do you keep the natives off the booze”) but we’ve managed to rustle up some of the King’s more awkward moments from his life. Here’s hoping that he avoids any embarrassing gaffes during his coronation this weekend.
During the then Prince of Wales relationship with Lady Diana, the pair gave a now famous TV interview in 1981. When asked if they were in love, Diana said, "Of course" but Charles added "Whatever 'in love' means." He went on to say that the concept is "your own interpretation."
Diana later said that the moment had traumatised her. And the excruciating exchange has lived on in British culture, a 2005 TV movie about Charles’ relationship with Camilla during his marriage to Diana was titled Whatever Love Means, and the line was repeated in an episode of The Crown.
A more recent gaffe came shortly after Charles became king - he was signing the guest book at Hillsborough Castle on 13 September last year when his pen started to leak. He quickly got fed up and muttered “Oh God I hate this. I can't bear this bloody thing! [It's] what they do every stinking time”.
Given the fetishization with giving every minor debacle a ‘gate’ suffix, regardless of how minor it is compared to the original Watergate scandal, the moment was quickly labelled Pen-gate. However, as Charles had lost his mother less than one week prior to his pen problem, he can be forgiven for losing his cool.
Liz Truss meeting
'Back again? Dear, oh dear' never has a greeting been so withering. But these were the words with which Charles greeted UK’s shortest serving Prime Minister (though he didn’t know that at the time) at his first official meeting with her. They first met the day after the Queen’s death, and then again at the funeral, but Charles didn’t seem happy to meet with Truss for the third time in just over a month.
Truss had recently announced unfunded tax cuts, against the advice of almost everyone, which had sent the markets into freefall. It looked like she was toast within weeks of her premiership beginning, and Charles’ greeting didn’t exactly help to restore confidence.
Repair Shop faux pas
Another blunder from the King came during his guest appearance on BBC series The Repair Shop for the channel’s centenary celebrations. Charles had brought an 18th Century bracket clock and a 19th Century ceramic piece made for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee to the workshop for restoration.
King Charles III revealed in a special episode of The Repair Shop that he did not recognise the national anthem when it was played by a clock on his mantlepiece.
The episode, which was filmed when Charles was still Prince of Wales, saw him confess that it took him years to realise that a clock in his Clarence House residence played the national anthem. Considering that the song honoured his own mother, and now is sung in his honour, it was shocking that he wouldn’t recognise the renowned tune.
Gunshots during Australia speech
Now this one really isn’t a gaffe, in fact Charles handled himself incredibly well, but the event is definitely worth a mention because of how strange it was. Charles was in Australia giving a speech in 1994 when a protester in the crowd fired two shots. Charles looked around coolly, if a little bemused, before security rushed him off the stage.
It turned out that the protester had fired blanks, so Charles was in no real danger, though he didn’t know that, and his ice cool way of handling the situation has done the rounds online. David Kang, the protester who fired the blanks had been tackled by security and was later sentenced to 500 hours of community service.