‘He’s 70... but it’s just a num­ber to him’

The Duchess of Corn­wall lauds the Prince ahead of his 70th birth­day – but she hasn’t yet bought a present

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Han­nah Fur­ness ROYAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

An ex­clu­sive birth­day trib­ute to HRH the Prince of Wales from the Duchess of Corn­wall

THE Duchess of Corn­wall to­day leads trib­utes to the Prince of Wales ahead of his 70th birth­day as she hails her “in­cred­i­bly kind, very funny” hus­band in a fond por­trait of him as mimic, worka­holic and grand­fa­ther.

The Duchess has spo­ken about the Prince ahead of his birth­day next Wed­nes­day, shar­ing the en­dear­ing traits that she sees be­hind closed doors.

She is joined by lead­ing fig­ures across Bri­tain’s pub­lic life from the Prime Min­is­ter to the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury in a cel­e­bra­tion of the Prince’s life and work as he marks the land­mark birth­day.

In an amus­ing in­sight, the Duchess ad­mit­ted that she has not yet found a suit­able present for him, dis­clos­ing that she has learned not to de­vi­ate from his own “birth­day list” of re­quests, with pre­vi­ous bright ideas of her own “not be­ing a huge suc­cess”.

“He’s in­cred­i­bly kind,” she told The Daily Tele­graph. “I don’t think peo­ple see his in­cred­i­ble kind­ness and the things he does be­hind the scenes.

“Peo­ple who worked for him years ago will write to him and if they’ve fallen on hard times he’ll do ev­ery­thing he can to help them.”

Say­ing he has a par­tic­u­larly ta­lent for ac­cents and mimicry, she added: “The other thing, which prob­a­bly doesn’t come over as well as it should, is that he has got a very good sense of hu­mour.

“And, of course, he’s won­der­ful with chil­dren. He doesn’t mind crawl­ing about on the floor for hours with them. We had a pic­ture the other day with Louis pulling on his hair, and he’s not one of those peo­ple who says ‘take your hand away’. He loves it.”

The Duchess also re­veals her oc­ca­sional frus­tra­tions with the worka­holic Prince, say­ing it is “very hard to get him to re­lax and drag him away from his let­ters and boxes”.

Asked whether he would be per­suaded to slow down at 70, she replied: “You must be jok­ing! There’s no way that he will slow down.”

On the sub­ject of whether she had found a present yet, she ad­mit­ted she was still pray­ing for a “brain­wave”.

“He has a list of presents and ev­ery time I’ve veered off the list it’s not been a huge suc­cess,” she joked.

“So I think I’m go­ing to have to go back to the list and buy him some­thing he re­ally wants.”

The Prince is un­der­stood to be fond of trees and shrubs, as well as of col­lect­ing We­myss Ware pot­tery.

The Duchess leads trib­utes from in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter and Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury to Lord Lloyd-web­ber and the ed­i­tor-in-chief of British Vogue.

Theresa May, the Prime Min­is­ter, praised his “tire­less” and “ex­em­plary ser­vice that he has given to the United King­dom and the Com­mon­wealth for his whole adult life”.

Justin Welby, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, spoke mov­ingly about the Prince’s “deep per­sonal faith” which “al­lows him to be gen­er­ous, hos­pitable and coura­geous in de­fend­ing the rights of all peo­ple to peace­fully prac­tise their re­li­gion with­out fear”.

Ed­ward En­nin­ful, the ed­i­tor-in-chief of British Vogue, hailed the heir ap­par­ent’s con­tri­bu­tion to the UK fash­ion in­dus­try, while Alan Titch­marsh sang the praises of the gar­dener Prince’s de­vo­tion to the “green and pleas­ant land”, and Sir Barry Gibb ac­claimed the “sense of fun” he at­tributes to “your love of the Goons and, of course, the fact that you’re al­ways smil­ing”.

Lord Lloyd-web­ber, the award-win­ning com­poser, has praised par­tic­u­larly his pas­sion for arts ed­u­ca­tion and the British ar­chi­tec­tural ver­nac­u­lar, say­ing: “Be it the too lit­tle sung glo­ries of our unique parish churches, be it the English church choral tra­di­tion or his con­cern that not enough young peo­ple are learn­ing to play the church or­gan, his love for less than head­line-grab­bing causes is pal­pa­ble.”

He adds: “What I ad­mire about Prince Charles is his out­spo­ken pas­sion

‘He’s won­der­ful with chil­dren. He doesn’t mind crawl­ing about on the floor for hours with them’

for sub­jects that peo­ple ei­ther pay lip ser­vice to or are so down­right un­fash­ion­able that few cham­pion them.

“We should be [grate­ful] that our fu­ture King speaks out so pas­sion­ately about causes and val­ues that as a na­tion we too of­ten ig­nore at our peril.”

Next week, the Royal Fam­ily will cel­e­brate the birth­day with a party thrown by the Queen at Buck­ing­ham Palace for fam­ily, friends, and an ex­pected glit­ter­ing ar­ray of for­eign roy­alty.

Read the full ar­ti­cle in to­day’s Tele­graph Mag­a­zine

**

Hav­ing a ball: the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Corn­wall, in Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, a doc­u­men­tary shown on BBC One

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