How Uncle Dickie Transformed Prince Charles From an Awkward, Shy Guy to the World’s Most Eligible Bachelor

It’s hard to imagine Prince Charles as a heartthrob. The longest-serving heir apparent in history is known for his passionate activism, his artistic skills, and his troubled childhood. But most royal fans would never describe the Prince of Wales as a “ladies’ man.”

However, that’s precisely the persona Charles took on when he was a young bachelor just before he chose Princess Diana as his lucky bride. The only problem was the whole media spectacle was made up with the help of Prince Charles’s relative Uncle Dickie.

Prince Charles and Lord Mountbatten
Prince Charles and Lord Mountbatten | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

Young Prince Charles got teased in school

After disappointing his father Prince Philip because he had little interest in typical “masculine” activities like sports, Prince Charles was further tortured during his formative years.

Charles was homeschooled at first like so many royal family members before him. But later, he was transferred to Hill House School in London then to Cheam, Good Housekeeping reported. While there, his future king status did nothing to insulate young Charles from teasing and mockery by other students.

They apparently called Charles “fatty” and made fun of his ears that stuck out. Prince Philip later sent his eldest son to Gordonstoun boarding school which was reportedly “absolute hell” for the future heir.

Prince Charles at school | Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

His Uncle Dickie helped turn Prince Charles into a sex symbol

Charles felt awkward and shy in school but his whole image changed thanks to one important person in his life: his father’s Uncle Dickie Mountbatten. Uncle Dickie served as Charles’s mentor and served as a father figure to him in place of Prince Philip. He’s also credited with completely overhauling Charles’s image with the press and the public.

Uncle Dickie allegedly masterminded photoshoots that made Prince Charles look like the object of desire, always surrounded by beautiful women. It helped that Charles was fit and trim in his early twenties, plus he had finally found a sport to excel at. There’s an infamous photo of Prince Charles speaking with Camilla Shand (his future mistress turned wife) at a polo match.

Prince Charles windsurfing
Prince Charles windsurfing | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Prince Charles was discouraged from marrying Camilla

Regardless of looks, Prince Charles had one thing that no other man did: the power to turn the object of his affection into a princess. But that wasn’t the fate for Camilla. Even though the Prince of Wales was attracted to her, his Uncle Dickie did not see her as marriage material.

“In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down,” Lord Mountbatten wrote to Prince Charles. “But I think for a wife he should choose a suitable attractive and sweet-character girl … I think it is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage.”

He dated around for years before settling down

Prince Charles with a model
Prince Charles with a model | Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Lord Mountbatten was killed in a political coup in 1979 and never go to see his great-nephew married off to that “suitable” girl. But Prince Charles took his advice to heart, dating around and sleeping around for years before choosing an appropriate spouse.

At the age of 32, Prince Charles faced pressure from senior royals to settle down and marry a virgin bride. He chose Diana at their urging and officially laid his playboy status to rest — until the affair with Camilla began, of course.