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    Britain’s new King’s private and public passions

    LONDON (AFP) – From watercolour painting to restoration projects in Transylvania, Charles has had seven decades to develop a wide range of hobbies and interests.

    His passion for saving the planet and organic farming – once mocked as cranky – is now seen as well ahead of his time.

    But a tendency to lobby his personal views on subjects such as contemporary architecture has prompted questions over his judgement.

    ARCHITECTURE

    In the 1980s, Charles mounted a crusade against “ugly” modern architecture, decrying a proposed extension to the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square in London as a “monstrous carbuncle”. The planned design was scrapped.

    Despite mockery, he put his philosophy into practice by backing construction of a model village called Poundbury on his land in Dorset, in southwest England, in the early 1990s.

    The housing development, built in a neo-classical Georgian style, has been derided by some critics as derivative and soulless but it has proved popular with buyers.

    He also helped redevelop a deprived area, Nansledan, near Newquay, in Cornwall, with colourful environmentally friendly housing and local amenities.

    Charles ventured into construction with his Poundbury model village. PHOTO: AFP

    ENVIRONMENT AND FARMING

    In a 2016 speech, Charles said he “minds deeply about the prospects for farmers and rural livelihoods and worries about the desperate environmental consequences for our children and grandchildren of relying on products made from fossil fuels”.

    He created an entirely organic garden and farm at his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire, western England.

    He also launched the Duchy Originals organic food and drink range, now run by the upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, featuring produce from British organic farmers working in a sustainable way.

    But his views have become more generally accepted and he spoke at the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow in November 2021, urging leaders to tackle runaway global warming.

    “We have to reduce emissions urgently and take action to tackle the carbon already in the atmosphere, including from coal-fired power stations,” he said.

    He also spoke about his Aston Martin car which has been converted to run on biofuel made from cheese manufacturing.

    HUNTING AND POLO

    Green credentials have not stopped Charles enjoying traditional royal pursuits of grouse shooting and deer stalking, earning him criticism from animal rights activists.

    He also played polo until forced to retire in 2015 by a series of injuries.He reportedly met his now wife Camilla at a match in the 1970s.

    PAINTING AND BOOKS

    Charles is an enthusiast of watercolour painting and sells lithographs of his works for charity, with sales reportedly totalling millions of pounds.

    At an exhibition of his watercolours in London in 2022, he wrote that he found the art form “one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know”.

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