Prince Charles admits his favorite 'relaxing and therapeutic exercise' can be 'incredibly difficult'

Prince Charles has been enjoying this hobby since the 1970s

Prince Charles admits favorite 'relaxing' exercise is 'difficult'
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Charles has opened up about one of his favorite ways to unwind—and no, it's not afternoon tea with the Queen. 

The Prince of Wales has gushed about his love of painting in his most recent public engagement, calling the pastime "one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know." 

The 73-year-old, who took up watercolor painting in the 1970s, spoke candidly on the subject on Thursday as the largest ever exhibition of his artwork is displayed at The Garrison Chapel in Chelsea, London. 

79 of the Prince's pieces, many of which depict scenic imagery of Scottish landscapes near Balmoral Castle, will be available for the public to view from 10 January until 14 February. 

For Charles, painting "refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach," and allows him to appreciate aspects of his environment he may otherwise have missed.

"You become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously—the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture, and of the shape of buildings," he explained. 

Prince Charles paints

Prince Charles Painting With Watercolours In Klosters, Switzerland. 

(Image credit: Getty)

"It all requires the most intense concentration and consequently is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know." 

Like his late father, Prince Philip, Charles has used painting as a tool to switch off from his busy life as a senior royal. With his reputation as a workaholic, the future King reportedly prefers watercolors over other formulas because they dry more quickly and therefore require less time. 

He also finds the runny paint more challenging to control, and therefore more demanding of his focus. 

"I very quickly discovered how incredibly difficult it is to paint well in such a spontaneous medium," he admitted. 

Despite achieving great success in the field—Prince Charles has had multiple paintings displayed in exhibitions over the last few decades—the royal heir has no plans to become a full-time artist. He modestly describes himself as an "enthusiastic amateur" and openly criticizes his own work. 

"Looking back now at those first sketches I did, I am appalled by how bad they are," he admitted. "I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent." 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.