New royal book claims King Charles suffered in silence as childhood bullies ‘broke his nose’

"Charles was a very polite, sweet boy — always incredibly thoughtful and kind"

King Charles III
(Image credit: Jane Barlow - Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles III was the victim of many cruel childhood bullying incidents while at boarding school including a mean prank that left him with a broken nose, a new royal book has claimed.

You may think that sitting high in the royal line of succession would make you untouchable but, unfortunately, King Charles III learned the hard way in his childhood that his position may not have been deterrent enough for childhood bullies. 

Sadly, bullying appears to be a fact of school life and remains all too common in the lives of school-children. Today, there are many resources for both children and parents to help them cope with bullying but the increasing number of cases concerning cyberbullying means that the troubles can not be so easily left at the school gates. 

And no one is immune to bullying. A new royal book has claimed that even King Charles III himself suffered through the turmoil while attending Gordonstoun, a tough boarding school that he was sent to by his father, Prince Phillip. 

In an excerpt of the upcoming book, published in the Mail Online, author Nigel Cawthorne revealed that Charles was even left with a broken nose after one particularly cruel incident but suffered in silence as he feared the bullying 'would get worse' if he spoke out. 

King Charles III

(Image credit: Peter Dunne/Daily Express/Getty Images)

In the passage of his book War Of The Windsors: The Inside Story Of Charles, Andrew And The Rivalry That Has Defined The Royal Family, which will be published on 31 August 2023, author Nigel Cawthorne detailed Charles' time at Gordonstoun where he had to 'endure freezing temperatures' and was 'shunned' by the other pupils. 

He writes, "Both Charles and Andrew were sent to Gordonstoun, a tough boarding school on the remote, windswept north coast of Scotland that their father, Prince Philip, had been to. For Charles, it was another attempt to toughen him up so that he would be fit to be heir to the throne.

"There, the sensitive youth would have to endure freezing temperatures. The classrooms were unheated and, in the belief that fresh air was good for you, the dormitory windows were left wide open while the boys slept, winter and summer."

On top of the harsh conditions already beating him down, the then-Prince, who was described as 'a very polite, sweet boy — always incredibly thoughtful and kind, interested in art and music' by the Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes, was also bullied  and found himself the victim of a host of cruel incidents. 

King Charles III

(Image credit: PNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Cawthorne claims, "Once, after taking a shower, the 13-year-old Prince was pounced on, tied up and shoved into a wicker laundry basket, which was hoisted on a hook on the wall and blasted with freezing water.

"His tormentors left him hanging there, naked and shivering, for half an hour until a staff member heard his plaintive cries. At night he would be pummelled in the darkness with pillows, shoes and fists until he dreaded going to bed.

"Prince Charles got the worst of the worst. Having been told not to pick on him, the boys enjoyed it all the more.

"It was also open season on the rugby field, with boys boasting that they had punched the future King of England. On one occasion he ended up with a broken nose. Despite what his father had tried to teach him, Charles did not put up a fight.

"Nor did he complain about the bullying, for fear that it would get worse. He sought solace in long walks in the countryside or seeking refuge in the art room, but this hardly helped. He was shunned."

A schoolmate from the harsh boarding school reportedly told Cawthorne, "How can you treat a boy as just an ordinary chap when his mother’s portrait is on the coins you spend in the school shop, on the stamps you use to post your letters home, when a detective trails him wherever he goes?"

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.