Duchess of Cornwall pays glowing tribute to Prince Charles at 70 as she hails his kindness and good humour
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 frankly about the Prince ahead of his birthday next week, sharing the endearing traits 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 celebrates the landmark birthday. In an amusing insight, the Duchess admitted she has not yet found a suitable present for him, disclosing 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 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 particular 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. He’s very funny. “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. “He’s exceptionally good with very small children and babies.” In a balanced description, 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 suitable 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 particularly fond of trees and shrubs, as well as collecting Weymss Ware pottery. The Duchess leads tributes from leaders across the breadth of British public life, from 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, speaks 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 prac-tise their religion without fear”. Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, hailed his contribution to the UK fashion industry, while Alan Titchmarsh sings the praises of the gardener Prince’s devotion to the “green and pleasant land” and Sir Barry Gibb celebrates 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 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 for subjects that people either pay lip service to or are so downright unfashionable that few champion them. “We should be profoundly 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.