Movie Review — “Charles: In His Own Words” is an Honest and Detailed Look at the Man Who is to Be King

Director Tom Jennings has created a concise masterpiece about King Charles III with his latest National Geographic documentary Charles: In His Own Words. The forty-six-minute wonder shows viewers the human who wears the crown of king, and adds perspective to the man, not tabloid fodder.

Using an assortment of rare, unseen, and unheard interviews, Jennings has managed to paint a detailed and new portrait of a well-known and famous leader. Through the archives of time, viewers will get a fresh perspective on the monarch.

Charles: In His Own Words does not shy away from Princess Diana and their turbulent marriage, nor does it offer comment on what Charles should do to mend the fractured relationship with Prince Harry. What viewers will come away with once they have watched the film is a tremendous new appreciation for the world that Charles lives in.

Starting with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, viewers are allowed to walk in the shoes of the king, with perspective throughout the decades on what he experienced. Led by a changing timeline of events, viewers will be plunged into the first moment of Charles’ life in the media with his baby picture broadcast to the world, to walks in the park with his mother, and his life as a bachelor prince in his 20’s.

This is not just a journey down memory lane with King Charles. Charles: In His Own Words provides a masterful explanation of perspective to the public figure. Even King Charles’ angry reaction to a leaky pen while signing official documents is included, which allows us to see the full exchange and not just the viral moment. Who hasn’t responded negatively when a pen has leaked on them? Even kings must deal with the most mundane and frustrating portions of life.

Viewers will be astounded by the treasure trove of facts gleamed from history and told through the words of King Charles himself thanks to the brilliant and dedicated team behind this documentary.

Charles the man, was born into the spotlight, and forced to confront the hostility and will of the people with little guidance from an indifferent father in Prince Phillip, and a mother who was very busy. His duty since birth has been heir to the throne, and to think that Charles has lived a life waiting for a job that he would only get at the death of his mother while still turning out to be a normal person, would be challenging at best. But Charles always encountered challenges throughout his life.

As a boy, he dealt with Prince Phillip’s continued disappointment. To his father, Charles was not strong enough and he looked for ways to toughen him up. From boarding schools where his fellow students didn’t respect him, to a survival camp in Australia, Charles was constantly trying to prove his value to his father.

In his own words, Charles describes how he had to make a choice in Australia. Either he would sink, or he would swim, and Charles chose to swim. From his time in the outback in Australia, Charles comes into his own when he must endure the investiture attached to his title of Prince of Wales. The people of Wales were in no way enthused about the soon to be 19-year-old prince. In the lead up to the ceremony, protestors followed him everywhere.

Charles: In His Own Words shows us how this 19-year-old prince confronted the public. Rather than running from the crowd, the young prince walked to them and spoke to them. The Secretary of State for Wales describes how the young prince charmed the hostile mob and had them laughing by the time their conversation ended.

The investiture also showed the commitment that Charles had to his role. Learning the Welsh language so he could speak in the native tongue during the ceremony, and then following up the investiture with a tour through Wales, where Charles met the people, helped him gain his passion for the environment and shows how important this moment was in his life, and how dedicated the prince was to his role and duties.

King Charles III was born into a role that he did not ask for, while at the same time rising to success through his own will and strength, while the world watched him with telephoto lenses.

In the race for clickbait articles and humiliating photos, one must remember that even the most remote distant celebrity or public figure is a human being.

Director Tom Jennings reminds us with his powerful and brilliant film Charles: In His Own Words that King Charles III is human with faults. The difference between him and everyone else is that a crew of photographers follows him everywhere he goes, ready to publish his mistakes for millions to see.

Charles: In His Own Words streams Saturday, April 29 on Hulu, and Friday, May 5, on Disney+.

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Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving