|“||Come on, baby, I will help you. Shh... Ali, it's okay.||”|
— Charles to Alison
Charles DiLaurentis (born; Charles Drake) was the first-born son of Mary Drake and the adoptive child of both Jessica and Kenneth DiLaurentis. Charles was the persona of Charlotte DiLaurentis before she transitioned.
Although Charles was assumed alive, it was revealed in "Don't Look Now", that he had "killed" himself at the age of 16 through pill overdose. However, his Radley file suggested he donated his organs, but Mona suggests that his organs would have been unsuitable for donation based on his medication list.
In the following episode, "No Stone Unturned", it was revealed by Mona (through the information she got from Lesli) that he escaped "that night" with Bethany Young, meaning that he was alive after he turned 16. He was revealed to be a transgender woman, CeCe Drake/Charlotte DiLaurentis in "Game Over, Charles" as well as being blamed for the murder of Marion Cavanaugh by Bethany Young.
While in college, Mary Drake had a relationship with Ted Wilson, which resulted in her unexpected pregnancy. She was committed to Radley Sanitaruim before she could tell Ted of the child's existence. Months later, she gave birth to Charles and directly after his birth, Jessica, Mary's twin sister, and Jessica's husband Kenneth adopted him as their own son. They told Jason and Alison that Charles was their brother, and never told anyone about Mary.
As a child, he worried his adoptive parents, because he suffered from many behavioral episodes which were originally assumed to have been violent and/or psychopathic. It was later revealed that these "episodes" were the early formation of Charles' realizing his identity as a transgender girl, something Kenneth was uncomfortable with.
One day, Charles tried to comfort a crying Ali by giving her a bath, but the young Charles mistakenly placed her in a bathtub full of scalding hot water, which was too full for the child. Kenneth misinterpreted this as Charles attempting to drown her and decided it was time for Charles to be admitted to a mental institution. They ultimately decided to place him into Radley Sanitarium, the same mental institution in which Mary Drake was staying in.
He befriended a young girl of a similar age to him, named Bethany Young, who supported Charles' dream of escaping Radley and transitioning into a girl. The pair would often play on the rooftop of Radley and dream about escaping the institution. It was on the roof that Marion Cavanaugh, a fellow patient at Radley, discovered Bethany on the roof. To protect Charles and herself, Bethany pushed Marion off the roof and then framed Charles for the murder. Jessica bought off a young Darren Wilden to say that Marion committed suicide.
Charles was often visited by Jessica and occasionally by his Aunt Carol. Unlike her husband, Jessica embraced Charles' desire to physically transition into a female and helped him achieve this. One day, Charles was taken out of Radley for a symbolic burial for "Charles DiLaurentis", and was then readmitted to Radley Sanitarium as Charlotte DiLaurentis. Jessica then made up a story about Charles overdosing in Radley, donating his organs, and then being cremated and buried in Carol's backyard.
While Charles was in Radley, Jason was told that the brother had was merely an imaginary friend named "Charlie". When Jason asked his father where Charlie was, his father told him that Charlie had to "go away for a while". It was later revealed that "Charlie" was actually Charles, Jason and Alison's believed, deceased brother. Both Alison and Jason resented their father for lying to them about Charlie's existence.
Charles is now Charlotte DiLaurentis/CeCe Drake, which he started going by after his falsified death and transition into a woman.
Jason and Alison receive a video from Big A of their younger selves celebrating a birthday for Charles whom they thought was a random cousin named Freddie. The boy asks Jessica when he has to go back, and she tells him not for a long while and to just have fun.
It's revealed that Charles DiLaurentis is, in fact, Charlotte DiLaurentis, alias CeCe Drake, and he transitioned at the age of 16.
When he was little, Charles tried to stop Alison from crying as he thought a way of helping her would be a bath. The event almost led baby Alison to drown, a fact that infuriated his adoptive father. They decided Charles is a danger for their children, so they sent him to Radley Sanitarium. Jessica visited him as often as she could, but Kenneth had never visited him.
There, he befriended Bethany Young. When Charles was 12, Bethany pushed Marion Cavanaugh from the Radley's roof and blamed Charles for it. Jessica had to pay Wilden in order that the death will be ruled as a suicide.
Season 5 (1/25)
Season 6 (3/20)
Jessica: I love you, Charlie. And I always will.
Charles: I love you more, mommy.
Charles [to Bethany]: My mom always says that nothing's more believable than a really good lie.
Charles [to Bethany]: We just need to come up with a great story. Something fabulous and devastating at the time.
Charles: Does it look like I could survive in the woods?
Bethany: You're too pretty for that.