The Prince of Wales is not only royalty — he is also a military man! Prince Charles recently celebrated his 58th birthday and was honored by rising to a four-star rank in each of the British armed services. Even though the Prince hasn't been an active member of the armed forces for 30 years, he still holds the titles of a general in the Army, an admiral in the Navy, and an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force. His recent rise in ranks has added a noticeable amount of medals to his uniform as well.
Prince Charles — unlike his brother Prince Andrew — earned his medals through holding ceremonial positions in the military. After training in the early 1970s, he served in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Therefore, he has not been decorated for active service in a war. Instead, his medals are from serving in a particular time or place and being a member of a high-ranking order. He's also received medals from other countries as well.
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He has nine medals in total: Order of Merit, civil version, GCB, Queen's Service Order (New Zealand), Queen's Coronation medal, Queen's Silver Jubilee medal, Queen's Golden Jubilee medal, Canadian forces decoration, NZ commemorative medal, and Knight of Most Noble Order of the Garter.
The reasons why he was awarded each medal vary. The coronation and jubilee awards mark the fact that he was present for these events and ceremonies, while the golden jubilee medal was awarded to all serving personnel of five years standing. Then, the large silver star with the cross of St. George in the center shows he is a Knight of the noblest Order of the Garter. The white enameled Maltese Cross at his neck is the GCB, worn as Grand Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, a military version of a previous honor. We wonder which medal he'll be awarded next!