Charles died Jan. 23, 2024, at home in Cambridge, Mass.

He came to Princeton from Lawrenceville after his parents fled Czechoslovakia. He majored in modern languages, joined Charter Club, and wrote insightful and witty columns for the Prince and the Tiger. He studied at Oxford and earned a law degree at Columbia.

Charles served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan II and in 1961, at age 26, joined the faculty at Harvard Law, where he taught for more than 60 years. Charles described himself as a “natural conservative” based on his family’s experience in Europe, and he became an intellectual leader in conservative thinking with his books, An Anatomy Of Values and Right And Wrong. He joined the Reagan administration, serving as solicitor general in 1985-89, and was appointed by Gov. William Weld as associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court from 1995 to 1999. Harvard professor Lawrence Tribe described Charles as “one of a kind: a towering intellect, erudite beyond belief, invariably kind, and unfailingly decent.”

Charles is survived by his wife, Anne; son Gregory; daughter Antonia; and five grandchildren.

Undergraduate Class of 1956