Britain’s Prince Charles celebrated his 70th birthday today Wednesday by attending public and private parties as parliament sang his praises and his office released new photographs of the heir to the throne with his close family.
The Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on Nov 14, 1948, four years before his now 92-year-old mother ascended to the throne following the death of her father George VI.
To mark his birthday, he was attending a special tea party heralding 70 inspirational people who also turned 70 this year, before later heading to a private function at Buckingham Palace for friends and family hosted by the Queen.
As Britain’s heir apparent, Charles has waited longer than any of his predecessors to become monarch and would be the oldest-ever king in a lineage that dates back 1,000 years.
Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to Charles in parliament on Wednesday.
“You have to make of it what you feel is right – there’s nothing laid down so that’s what makes it so interesting, challenging and of course complicated,” he said in a BBC documentary aired last week.
His supporters say the Prince has often raised prescient concerns, citing how he began campaigning about the overuse of plastic in the 1970s, long before it became a mainstream issue.
However, critics accuse him of inappropriate interfering because British monarchs are bound by Britain’s unwritten constitution to stay out of politics.
“Throughout the Prince of Wales’ life his commitment to public service has been total,” she said. “The more one looks at (his) life, the more one sees a man who has spent 70 years defying expectations and refusing to be categorised.”
Charles has used his unique position to campaign on issues including climate change, architecture and farming, often challenging orthodox views.