How Tall Prince Charles Is (and Why He Looked Taller in Photos With Princess Diana)

Ever wondered how tall Prince Charles is? Prince William is notoriously tall. At 6 feet, 3 inches, he would tower over many of his ancestors in the Windsor-Mountbatten clan. William might have gotten that from his mother, Princess Diana, who broke with royal protocol in many ways, including one she couldn’t control: She was quite tall. But what about Prince Charles?

In most photos you’ve seen of Diana with her Prince Charles, it looks like he’s taller than she is. But looks can be deceiving. Especially when Buckingham Palace exercises a heavy hand in controlling how the royals are perceived.

How tall Prince Charles is: a matter of debate

Duke Of Edinburgh, Prince Of Wales & Duchess Of Cornwall Visit Poundbury

Prince Philip and Prince Charles | Justin Tallis/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images

You’d think that the question of how tall Prince Charles is would have an easy answer. Height is just a number, right? But different sources say different things. The Express reports that Prince Charles is 5 feet, 9 inches. CelebHeights concurs. But the publication reports that at his peak height (in his younger years) he measured 5 feet, 10 inches. Harper’s Bazaar, on the other hand, says that Prince Charles measures up at 5 feet, 8 inches.

Depending on which reports you believe, that means that Prince Charles is slightly shorter, slightly taller, or exactly the same height as the average British male. (The average British man measures up at 5 feet, 9 inches.) Sociologist Philip N. Cohen notes that “the biometric data we have about royalty should be considered suspiciously.” The context for Cohen’s statement? An odd phenomenon that affects photos of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

There’s something weird about Prince Charles’s height in photos

Again, how tall Prince Charles is should be a pretty cut-and-dried matter. But as Marie Claire notes, royal family fans recently realized that there’s something off about all of the photos that Prince Charles and Princess Diana took together during their 15-year marriage. Cohen reports that in July 1981, everyone saw that Diana and Charles were of similar height at their wedding. But they also saw a stamp that depicted Charles as taller than his wife. Buckingham Palace issued a statement. It claimed that Charles was an inch taller than his wife: 5 feet, 11 inches to Diana’s 5 feet, 10 inches.

The fact that Charles and Diana were about the same height seems indisputable when you take a look at a full-length photo of the two. And The Mirror reports that Diana took her height into account when she chose the shoes that she’d wear to her wedding. According to cobbler Clive Shilton, “Her main concern was that she wouldn’t appear taller than Prince Charles.” Shilton added that because “she was very tall — 5’10” — the shoes would have to have a low heel.”

Official portraits make Prince Charles look taller than Diana

Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Fox Photos/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

In many of the official photos of the couple, they posed to make Prince Charles look several inches taller than Princess Diana. Presumably, Charles stood on a box or a step to take those photos. Many people assume that the royal family deliberately posed the couple that way. The objective? To preserve the illusion that Diana and Charles conformed to the rather sexist norm of a husband standing taller than his wife.

Harper’s Bazaar notes, “it seems a bit odd, doesn’t it, if this illusion was trying to be created on purpose? If such extreme lengths were gone to to make Prince Charles seem more ‘manly’ or something by being taller.” As Cohen explains, “The taller husband conjures up images of the protective, dominant man (‘Let me reach that for you’) with a nurturing, supportive wife (‘Can I fix you a sandwich?’). . .  The idea of women as the weaker sex corresponds to the pattern of male domination in modern society, as symbolized by the muscular male athlete and the taller husband.”

Prince Charles is still taller than many of his predecessors

The Daily Mail notes that even though Prince Charles wasn’t taller than his first wife, he is taller than many of his predecessors to the British throne. Queen Victoria measured just 5 feet tall. King Charles I reached 5 feet, 4 inches. That’s also the height of the current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, the queen is the same height as the average British woman. And Queen Elizabeth I also measured 5 feet, 4 inches.

Of course, Prince Charles isn’t taller than all of the previous monarchs. Mary, Queen of Scots, measured up at 5 feet, 11  inches. Henry VIII was 6 feet tall. Plus, Edward I was 6 feet, 2 inches, the same height as King Charles II.

But Charles isn’t as tall as his father (or his sons)

The Daily Mail notes that Prince Charles isn’t as tall as his father, Prince Philip. In his youth, Prince Philip measured 6 feet. (No wonder the queen, then Princess Elizabeth, fell for his dashing good looks!) The Duke of Edinburgh is now only about 5 feet, 11 inches. But that still makes him taller than Charles by all but the most generous accounts.

Plus, Charles’s own sons are taller than he is. Insider reports that Prince Harry is supposedly 6 feet, 1 inches. Prince William measures even taller, at 6 feet, 3 inches. Each of the princes is reportedly six inches taller than his wife. Meghan Markle is supposedly 5 feet, 7 inches, while Kate Middleton measures up at 5 feet, 9 inches.

Read more: 15 Forgotten Secrets About Princess Diana’s Unstable Childhood

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