‘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
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