Pierre Charles was born 30 June 1954 in Grand Bay, Dominica. Grand Bay, on the south coast of Dominica, is considered the center of Dominican culture. Much of the country's political and social activism has roots in the Grand Bay area. Charles's parents were Francis and Theodora Charles. He was educated at the Grand Bay Boys School (1956–67), Dominica Grammar School (1967–70), and Saint Mary's Academy (1970–72). Later, he attended Teachers' Training College (1978–79). Through his school years and into his adult life, he was involved with community organizations such as Boy Scouts, and various sports, including the National Basketball League of Dominica. He taught school (1972–79) before becoming involved in government, as a representative of one of the most politically active constituencies in the country. His political constituents nicknamed him "Pierro."
Charles and his wife, Justina Musgrave, have three children.