Did you know that the new British monarch is a master watercolour artist of landscapes, having painted Hong Kong’s countryside and the Queen’s favourite residence in Scotland?

Ever wonder what royalty do in their spare time? While Queen Elizabeth II was an avid horse breeder, her eldest son King Charles III is an artist.

Under the influence of art teacher Robert Waddell at Gordonstoun—a Scottish boarding school that was also his father Prince Philip’s alma mater, which was also attended by rock star David Bowie’s son and James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery’s son—King Charles III’s passion for visual art began when he was young.

The 73-year-old king has been painting for nearly 50 years and was taught by some of the most famous British artists, including Edward Seago and John Napper. Here are five of his paintings that reflect some of his most memorable moments in life, including one of his visit to Hong Kong.

1. A watercolor of Castle Mey

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Above A watercolor of Castle Mey, painted in 1986 (Image: courtesy of Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Family homes are one of His Majesty’s most common subjects in his earlier years as a painter. This one shows Castle Mey on the north coast of Scotland, which used to be the home of his Queen Mother.

Don't miss: In Pictures: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II

2. Lochnagar from the Gelder Cottage

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Above Lochnagar from the Gelder Cottage (Photo: courtesy of Andrew Matthew: PA Images via Getty Images)

King Charles works exclusively with watercolour and prefers it as an art form over photography.

“I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying,” he wrote for a January exhibition at London’s Garrison Chapel, where 79 of his works were shown. “Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolour and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture, which is impossible to achieve via photography.”

His works have also been presented at charity events, and according to The Daily Telegraph he made an estimated £2 million from selling copies of his art from 1997 to 2016, making him one of the UK’s bestselling living artists.

This painting was displayed at Windsor Castle’s Royal Paintbox: Royal Artists Past and Present exhibition in 2013.

3. Klosters, Switzerland

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KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 01:  Prince Charles Agreed To Have One Of His Watercolour Paintings Of Klosters (done In 1992) Used For The Ski Pass For The 1997 Season.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Above A painting of Klosters, Switzerland, painted in 1992 (Photo: courtesy of Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

King Charles is also an avid skier and in 1988 he went skiing at Klosters, an alpine resort in Switzerland, where he narrowly escaped an avalanche. “The whole mountain apparently exploding outwards ... vast clouds of snow. I thought to myself My God, the horror,” The Daily Mail reported him saying.

Fast-forward to 1997, Klosters loved the king’s artwork so much they used one of his paintings of the area created in 1992 as the ski pass for the season.

4. Double Haven Bay in Hong Kong

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Above Double Haven Bay in Hong Kong, painted in 1989 (Photo: courtesy of K. Y. Cheng/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

The king and his ex-wife Princess Diana visited Hong Kong to officiate the opening of the Cultural Centre in 1989. This painting shows Double Haven Bay, which is now part of a marine park in northeast New Territories.

5. Balmoral Castle

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Above A watercolor of Balmoral Castle (Photo: courtesy of Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is one of the King’s favourite sites to practise his art. It is one of his most painted landscapes. He often focuses on painting the streams and mountains of the estate. His late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died at Balmoral Castle on September 8, 2022.


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