Moving Photos Of King Charles And His "Darling Mama," Queen Elizabeth

King Charles III was only four years old when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the throne in February 1952. In other words, he knew his mom to be the Queen for almost his entire life. But it’s easy to forget that their relationship ran much deeper than that of monarch and heir. These candid images are a reminder of the close bond they shared as mother and son.

Elizabeth’s firstborn

Queen Elizabeth II was still just a princess when she welcomed Charles into the world. He was born on November 14, 1948, at home in Buckingham Palace. He was the firstborn child to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. This image shows the proud new mom showing off her newborn after his Christening on December 15, 1948.

Hands-on mother

It’s perhaps surprising to learn that Princess Elizabeth was a hands-on parent. We often read about the team of nannies it takes to help raise royal babies and the rigorous training they go through to qualify. But here we see a young Elizabeth doting on an infant Charles as he plays with an abacus built into his crib. The image was captured in Windlesham Moor, the princess and Prince Philip’s marital country home until 1949.

At ease at Windsor

Being a royal isn’t always a serious business, despite what appearances may have you believe. Here is the Queen and Prince Charles in a rarely-caught moment of relaxation at Windsor Castle in 1969. Taken in April that year, the laidback monarch would have soon celebrated her 43rd birthday while Charles was still only 20. If only the camera could have captured what they both found so amusing.

Family portrait

Here we see an early family portrait of Princess Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip and six-month-old son Charles. Even though she was only 13 when they first met, Elizabeth knew Philip was the man for her. They wrote to each other often, and eventually got engaged in 1947, after the future queen had turned 21. They married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, marked nearly a year later by the birth of Charles.