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See Charles III’s Childhood Drawings

Drawings of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Portraits by a young Charles show his mother, Elizabeth II, wearing a striped dress and tiara, and his father, Prince Philip, wearing a dinner suit and bow tie. Hansons Auctioneers

Britain’s Charles III was crowned as king last month in an extravagant coronation ceremony. Portraits show the 74-year-old wearing the Imperial State Crown and holding a golden orb and sceptercoins now bear his likeness.

But many years ago, this famous figurehead was a normal little boy—and now, mementos from his childhood are quite valuable. Earlier today, a collection of his childhood drawings hit the auction block.

“This is an extraordinarily touching collection,” says Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, in a statement. “These poignant childhood drawings and emotive photos remind us that away from the pomp, pageantry and demands of serving the nation, our royals treasure the ordinary, everyday moments of family life.”

Cartoon and letter
A letter and a cartoon by Charles addressed to his father Hansons Auctioneers

The items belonged to the family of Henry Ramsay Maule, who was a royal correspondent for the New York Daily News. He received many of the items as materials for All the Queen’s Children, a book about Elizabeth II’s children that he wrote under a pseudonym, as well as a Palace-approved biography of Prince Philip, which was in process when he died in 1981.

Charles made the drawings in the mid-1950s, when he was around 5 or 6 years old. Like many young children’s drawings, the ten sketches, done in crayon and pencil, feature subjects like animals (in this case, a pair of carmine bee-eaters) and his parents (Elizabeth and Philip).

Charles’ illustration of carmine bee-eaters Hansons Auctioneers

“Given a crayon and pencil, nearly every child’s first drawings depict their family. Our king was no different,” says Hanson in the statement. “This collection will help people relate to him even more in his role as our monarch.”

Other items auctioned off include royal letters, candid photos of the royal family at leisure and cards that a young Princess Anne made for her father. The sale also featured correspondence from George III, Queen Charlotte and other royal figures.

Cards by Princess Anne
In addition to drawings by Charles, handmade cards by a young Princess Anne were sold. Hansons Auctioneers

Earlier today, many of Charles’ drawings sold for thousands of dollars. The drawing of his parents alone fetched £46,000 (nearly $60,000), according to a Facebook post from Hansons. But the king, who is an avid amateur painter, isn’t any stranger to his work fetching large sums. Between 1997 and 2016, he made over £6 million ($7.75 million) by selling his art, with the proceeds going to the Prince’s Foundation, an educational charity, according to the Telegraph’s Robert Mendick.

Charles has described painting as “one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know,” an activity that “refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach,” per CNN’s Lianne Kolirin.

Last year, an exhibition of Charles’ watercolors opened in London. In the wall text, he explained that he is realistic about his artistic limitations. “I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent,” he wrote, per Smithsonian magazine’s David Kindy. “They represent, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photograph album’ and, as such, mean a great deal to me.”

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