Robbie Lawrence for TIME

Growing up on a council estate in West London, the world of royalty was one I didn’t pay much mind to. What would that have to do with young Black boys in Ladbroke Grove? Much more than I realized, it turned out. As the quiet and fastidious work of the Prince’s Trust, a charity set up by the then Prince of Wales, began to put our friends and family into steady employment, its outreach programs inspired many of us and instilled confidence. I didn’t realize then just how close our now King was to all of this.

He didn’t have to do any of it. He could’ve let his privilege shield him from the realities of our hardship in a time when these were not a cause célèbre. But he always met us with an open mind and a listening ear.

Over the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know King Charles III better—and in 2021, I became a global ambassador of the Prince’s Trust.

As a man, the King is not always who people expect him to be. He is charming, funny, socially confident, with a kindness that always seeks to put others at ease. His love for the environment is well documented, but his love for his subjects burns even brighter. The monarchy is not perfect, but in Charles we have a King who understands both tradition and what it takes to evolve with the times. It is a delicate balance and a rare ability. I am excited to see him carry his passions with him into a whole new era.

Enninful, OBE, is the British Vogue editor in chief and Vogue European editorial director

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at

Olena Zelenska
Lionel Messi
Aubrey Plaza
Michael B. Jordan
Colleen Hoover
5 stories