Why the future king had to take out the trash during his school days at Gordonstoun, which he called ‘Colditz in kilts’ and a ‘jail sentence’
- EXCLUSIVE: Mail on Sunday reveals details of the King’s life in Gordonstoun
- The future monarch spent five years of his teenage years at Scottish boarding school
Even the most laid-back royal watcher has heard a story or two about King Charles hating his grueling school years at Gordonstoun.
But previously unknown details have now emerged about the future monarch’s time at the Scottish boarding school where he spent five years of his teenage years.
Following an exclusive interview with one of his former teachers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal:
- Charles was furious after discovering that his telescope had been given to the school by his father;
- He was forced to take out the trash twice a week;
- The bullies targeted him on the rugby pitch;
- He distinguished himself on stage in one of the most demanding Shakespearean roles.
Charles once likened his years at Gordonstoun to a ‘prison sentence’ and reportedly called it ‘Colditz in kilts’.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Shomie Das – a former personal tutor and physics teacher of Charles – described a shy 13-year-old who arrived at school in 1962.
Undated handout photo issued by Gordonstoun of Queen Elizabeth II visiting Gordonstoun during Prince Charles’s final year.
New image of Prince Charles (centre) when he was Head Boy at Gordonstoun in the summer of 1966/67
Now living in his native India, he expanded on earlier remarks made by Charles about being bullied over his big ears and being punched on the sports field.
Mr Das, 87, said: ‘Well it was a tough school and kids are kids.
“They would take it upon themselves to stand over him at a rugby match and rub his nose on the ground. It was things like that. He was extremely soft, not a tough, tough, ready character, and so he found it difficult.
Nor, it seems, were the other boys Charles’ only source of discomfort. According to Mr Das, the king-in-waiting was chosen by his householder, the late Robert Whitby – but it may have been at the insistence of the prince’s father.
The retired teacher said: “I think his host was a bit harsh, but that’s what I think [Prince] Philip wanted. [Charles] was in charge of the trash – he had to take out the trash twice a week.
Philip also features in perhaps Mr. Das’ fondest memory of Charles’ time at school. The then Duke of Edinburgh – who was also educated at Gordonstoun – unexpectedly arrived soon after a new science lab opened. After being shown around, he asked, “What do you want for the lab?” Do you want something?’
An exclusive photo of the Prince of Wales acting in the dagger scene as Macbeth in the Gordonstoun School production of Shakespeare’s play
The professor replied that they needed a telescope, and three weeks later one arrived from Buckingham Palace. Seeing it, Charles remarked, “Good God, I have one like that.
Mr Das recalled how he had to break the bad news, explaining: ‘I said ‘This was given by your father’. He was furious, he said ‘You won – he took this from my room and gave it to you”.
Yet, according to Mr. Das’ account, Charles also had happier times at school.
He said: “I think at first he wasn’t happy.
“But he became the head boy and that only happened by election [by other pupils]. So I don’t know how unhappy he was towards the end.
The teacher, pictured sitting next to Charles in an official school photo in 1966, said Charles developed his lifelong love of Shakespeare at Gordonstoun, recalling: ‘He was one of the best schoolboys Macbeth that I’ve ever seen, he was so good at acting, I think he was in King Lear as well.
Mr Das returned to India shortly after Charles left Gordonstoun – which now charges boarders more than £33,000 a year – in 1967.
He maintained a lasting friendship with Prince Philip and was invited to meet him in India during a royal visit in 1983, and also kept in touch with Charles.