The Prince of Wales turned 72 today and what a year he’s had! From his bout with Covid-19 to his 15th wedding anniversary to his stint as guest editor for Country Life – the Prince of Wales is proof that age is just a number.
No birthday plans have yet been announced. However, Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are in Germany this weekend to commemorate the country’s Central Remembrance Ceremony and day of annual mourning for its fallen soldiers.
It’s the first time in history a member of the British royal family has been invited to attend the special event and thus an honour too that it happens to fall over his birthday weekend.
Here are some of Charles’ other highlights of the past year.
In April, Clarence House released a sweet new portrait of Charles and Camilla sitting on the front porch of their Birkhall home in Scotland to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. The pair were joined by their two beloved Jack Russells, Beth and Bluebell.
The moment was made all the more special because the couple had only reunited a few days earlier after Camilla (73) ended a 14-day self-isolation period on the Balmoral estate in Scotland.
She tested negative for Covid but had to follow the rules and quarantine separately from her husband following his diagnosis.
The prince revealed that he felt “lucky” to have only suffered from mild symptoms.
“I got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through.”
This year saw the prince’s popularity increasing as he fought Covid and recovered to take on his duties with more vigour than ever.
While engagements for The Firm did drop dramatically in the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic, Charles was named 2020’s hardest-working royal during lockdown with his firstborn, Prince William, following close behind.
Charles, like the rest of the royal family, has truly stepped up to the challenges posed by the pandemic, taking on virtual duties with ease – and in the process warming the hearts of the British public.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliam reckons his positive rating will only increase when he becomes king “because he’s been in this role for longer than any other person in our history”.
“When he becomes king, he will, in my opinion, carry on the role to advise, to encourage and to warn. That’s what he will do.”
New environmental initiative
Charles has been a greenie for 50 years, having first given a speech about the problem of single-use plastics back in 1970.
This year he launched his Sustainable Markets Initiative, which aims to bring industry leaders and investors together with innovators to put the environment and sustainability at the heart of the global economy.
“We simply cannot waste any more time,” he said in a hard-hitting speech at the World Economic Forum. “The only limit is our willingness to act and the time to act is now.”
Launched his own gin
It’s said to be his favourite tipple and this year Charles fulfilled a long-held wish by producing his own.
In October he launched his own gin made from organic grain and herbs grown in his garden at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. “We’ve created Highgrove Gin as a team,” explained Cory Mason, the master distiller who worked with the royal. “The result is a spirit that represents and embodies the Highgrove estate.”
And it’s for a good cause too. Money from sales go to his Prince of Wales fund, which supports various charities.
Birthday guest editor
To honour the future king’s birthday, revered British magazine Country Life invited the prince to guest-edit an issue.
In a heartfelt editorial piece, he wrote that we “need to put our planet and our children and grandchildren first”.
With climate change and coronavirus taking centre stage, he added that “uncertainty has become a steady state” and that “the previously unimaginable has become unexceptional”.
He went on to praise “the strength of our society, its resourcefulness, its compassion and its stoical determination. At such a time, it is tempting, and understandable, to focus on the losses, the failures and the challenges.
“However, if the life of the land teaches anything, it is the need to look at the long term.”
In 2018, he guest-edited an issue to celebrate his 70th birthday, which became the magazine's biggest-selling edition in its 123-year history.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, indiatoday.in, express.co.uk, hellomagazine.com, geo.tv