King Charles III has fruit salad and seeds for breakfast but no lunch

Monarch's former press secretary lifts the lid on his daily routine as Prince Charles

King Charles III's former press secretary, Julian Payne, described the monarch as having “an incredibly sharp memory” that required staff to take “copious notes” to avoid missing a minor detail which he would later bring up. Getty Images
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King Charles III reportedly started his working day when he was Prince Charles with a breakfast of fruit salad, seeds and tea that lasted him until 5pm.

His former press secretary, Julian Payne, has given a fascinating insight into the king's daily routine.

During the king's six decades as Prince of Wales, Mr Payne said his day at Clarence House was planned with precision by the hour — with no lunch taken.

Rumours that the king had a long line of boiled eggs to choose from every morning were false, Mr Payne said. Instead, he began his day by listening to the BBC radio news followed by a breakfast “of seasonal fruit salad and seeds with tea”, Mr Payne wrote in the Sunday Times.

Intriguingly, he also revealed that the king has a pair of shoes made from Russian reindeer leather “salvaged from a 200-year-old shipwreck in Plymouth Sound”.

Office work began with 45-minute charity or constitutional meetings — although that will dramatically change now he is monarch. As Prince of Wales, he insisted on thorough briefings. “He would invite the best brains and the most experienced people in to listen to their ideas and advice,” Mr Payne wrote.

No longer will he write the “spider memos” — a leaked selection of which were published in 2015 — in which he put across views gathered from his interactions with the public and sent them to senior government members. Instead, he will have direct access to the prime minister with weekly audiences lasting up to an hour. These are a vital moment in the politician’s life, in which they can talk in confidence and without judgement.

Those who tried to dazzle the king with intellect or social station had little effect, Mr Payne said. “He doesn’t draw a distinction between the well-heeled and those who have the toughest of lives. He’s interested in people, not position," he said.

That egalitarian approach was captured when they visited the set of the James Bond film No Time To Die. Instead of going straight to the film's protagonist Daniel Craig, the Prince of Wales at the time “kept stopping to speak to the set designers, the security guards and just about everyone else. Each person — star or not — was treated with exactly the same courtesy”.

Mr Payne described the king as having “an incredibly sharp memory” that required staff to take “copious notes” to avoid missing a minor detail which he would later bring up.

At 1pm, the king would take a break but would not have lunch. Instead, King Charles, who does not like being inside for too long, would go for a walk, either in the gardens of Buckingham Palace or in the acres surrounding Highgrove or Balmoral. This was always “at a pace that people half his age struggle to match”.

His work continued until his first real pause in the day at 5pm, when he had a cup of tea with his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, and enjoy "sandwiches and a piece of fruit cake”. The king shared his late mother’s thrift by putting leftovers in a Tupperware box.

More engagements would continue until dinner “at 8.30pm sharp”, before the king would return to his desk at 10pm and usually work until midnight.

At times, he went straight from an evening engagement on to a plane, once travelling to America for the four-hour funeral of former US president George HW Bush.

The king is supported by a dedicated team who have been with him for decades and are “some of the most loyal, kind and funny people,” Mr Payne said.

Updated: September 12, 2022, 8:43 AM