The Inside View from Prince Charles' 60th Birthday Party
The next king of England is more comfortable than ever, with his mother slowly thawing to Camilla, his sons held tight, and his celebrity associates toasting him at Highgrove.
If you believe what his “friends“ say via the Palace Press Office, Prince Charles is “in a really good place right now.”
Two decades ago, as he turned 40, he was deeply unhappy, in a soulless, bitter marriage, and under pressure from the Queen to walk away from his affair with Camilla.
Approaching 50, he suffered the nation’s backlash about the death of Diana. He had to nervously wait until he felt the nation was able to accept Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles.
On Saturday night a motley crew of actors, novelists, comedians, and TV personalities will pass through the intense security which surrounds Highgrove to party with the Prince.
Those Palace “friends” say that now, at 60, Charles accepts that the Queen’s robust health and formidable genes mean he is unlikely to be King until his late seventies. But he has enjoyed three happy years of marriage, believes he speaks his mind, and has carved a relevant role for himself in society as Prince of Wales.
Charles is a man of faith. He prays on his knees every night with the Book Of Common Prayer, and often uses the phrase, “It’s up to God what will happen.”
He wants his place in history as the most forward-thinking and most worthy Prince of Wales; the BBC film that airs today to mark his birthday, Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince, mentioned his “spidery” letters, regularly dispatched in his own hand, to Government ministers detailing their failings. These letters are never published and his critics describe them as “tiresome meddling.”
On Saturday night a motley crew of actors, novelists, comedians, and TV personalities will pass through the intense security which surrounds Highgrove in deepest Gloucestershire to party with the Prince.
The guest list includes comedians John Cleese, Stephen Fry, and Rowan Atkinson, actors Johanna Lumley and Edward Fox, Dames Judy Dench and Maggie Smith—all known names in Britain, but not movers or shakers.
The only people the photographers will be anxious to snap through car windows on their way to the party are Prince William’s girlfriend, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry’s girl, Chelsy Davy. They are the ones who regularly make the front pages these days. Just as Diana used to steal the limelight from her husband.
Comedienne Joan Rivers is a friend who was invited to the official Buckingham Palace birthday party on Wednesday. "He will make a great King," she said. "He cares, truly cares. He was the first to warn about architecture, the environment, and holistic medicine.People said he was mad, but he was proved right."
Charles has a fierce temper and gets irritated easily, particularly when Camilla is not at his side. Once again those Palace friends say “she supports and helps him stay calm.” Her relationship with the Queen is said to be less frosty than it once was, but she only goes to the Palace on Charles' arm, never alone.
Prince Charles has a fantastically close relationship with both his sons, and because Camilla makes him happy they eventually accepted her as their step-mother. Both boys have made it plain that she will never take the place of Diana in their affections.
So Charles at 60 is dutiful, yes; radical, certainly; but appearing to care more for the planet than his subjects. His subjects, meanwhile, just take him for granted. Royals, unless they are with leggy blondes, don’t make the front pages anymore.
Ashley Walton was the royal correspondent of the Daily Express from 1979 to 1992. He has travelled to every continent covering numerous tours, including the Queen and Prince Philip in India, Africa, and China. He was one of the first reporters to identify a young Lady Diana Spencer as a future royal bride, and covered her last tour with Prince Charles to Korea in 1992.