Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday and is still heir to the throne — a role he has served since he was a young child.

He’s not lacking in things to do and shows few signs of slowing down — he is wealthy, extremely active in matters of great importance to him, and preparing to welcome his third grandchild into the world when Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gives birth next spring.

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 28, 1999 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles and his companion Camilla Parker Bowles leave the Ritz Hotel in London, the first time that the couple, who have been friends for more than 25 years, have appeared together in public.  As Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, Camilla says the public doesn’t understand how “incredibly kind” and funny Charles is. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 28, 1999 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles and his companion Camilla Parker Bowles leave the Ritz Hotel in London, the first time that the couple, who have been friends for more than 25 years, have appeared together in public. As Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, Camilla says the public doesn’t understand how “incredibly kind” and funny Charles is. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

His destiny, however, is to be king, a position he will automatically assume with the death of his 92-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 1981 file photo Britain's Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer pose following the announcement of their engagement.  Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997 after a messy divorce from Charles that for a time tarnished his standing with the British public, but as Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, he has recently taken a more visible role representing the queen at some important national events. (AP Photo/Pool, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 24, 1981 file photo Britain’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer pose following the announcement of their engagement. Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997 after a messy divorce from Charles that for a time tarnished his standing with the British public, but as Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, he has recently taken a more visible role representing the queen at some important national events. (AP Photo/Pool, File)

When that happens, Charles will be bound by the constitutional requirement that the monarch refrain from trying to influence policy. Until then, Charles is free to lobby for action on climate change, support organic farming, and fight genetically modified crops as he sees fit.

He’s doing all that while increasingly stepping in for the queen and supervising the Prince’s Trust, an ambitious charity he founded 42 years ago that has helped hundreds of thousands of young Britons.

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 1948 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth pictured with her first son, Prince Charles, her grandmother Queen Mary and father King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the day of his Christening. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE – In this Dec. 15, 1948 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth pictured with her first son, Prince Charles, her grandmother Queen Mary and father King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the day of his Christening. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (Pool Photo via AP, File)

Is the candle-crowded birthday cake a signal that it’s time for the elegantly greying prince to take it easy? Not on your life, says Charles’ wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall.

FILE - In this Monday, June 4, 2012 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes the hand of her son Prince Charles at the end of the Queen's Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London.  Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
FILE – In this Monday, June 4, 2012 file photo Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shakes the hand of her son Prince Charles at the end of the Queen’s Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

“I don’t think he thinks he’s 70,” she wrote in a birthday tribute in The Telegraph Magazine. “I think it’s just a number to him. There’s no way that he will slow down. You must be joking. I keep saying 70 is getting on a bit. It’s not very old but it is old. You have to slow down a bit.”

FILE - In this July 27, 1958  file photo, Britain's Prince Charles walks in his school uniform. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king, a position he will automatically assume on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.  (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this July 27, 1958 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles walks in his school uniform. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king, a position he will automatically assume on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo, File)

The royal family is in the midst of a slow, understated transition. The patriarch, 97-year-old Prince Philip, has formally retired from public life, although he makes occasional appearances in support of the queen.

For her part, the queen still maintains a busy schedule, but she no longer makes long haul flights to far flung parts of the 53-nation Commonwealth, and this year she took the unusual step of lobbying the Commonwealth countries to specify that Charles would be the next leader of the group, a position that is not hereditary.

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 1957 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles leaves King's Cross Station, London as the  Royal family return to London after their Christmas holidays at Sandringham. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.  (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this Jan. 24, 1957 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles leaves King’s Cross Station, London as the Royal family return to London after their Christmas holidays at Sandringham. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (AP Photo, File)

The support for Charles was unanimous, reflecting not only appreciation for the queen’s work over the decades but a belief that Charles has a strong commitment to the Commonwealth.

FILE - In this July 18, 1949 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles, foreground left, the eight-month-old son of Princess Elizabeth of England, left, and his father Philip, pose for a photo, on the Windlesham Moor, their summer residence, in Ascot, England. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this July 18, 1949 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles, foreground left, the eight-month-old son of Princess Elizabeth of England, left, and his father Philip, pose for a photo, on the Windlesham Moor, their summer residence, in Ascot, England. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (AP Photo, File)

Charles has also taken a more visible role representing the queen at some important national events, most recently during the Remembrance Day celebrations honoring Britain’s fallen soldiers. He placed the queen’s wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph monument while she watched from a balcony seat.

But his working trips abroad and his speeches at home generate precious little buzz as the press focuses on younger, more photogenic royals and their cute offspring.

FILE - In this March 25, 1968 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles is photographed in London.  Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, and his destiny is to be king, a position he will automatically assume on the death of his 92-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp, File)
FILE – In this March 25, 1968 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles is photographed in London. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, and his destiny is to be king, a position he will automatically assume on the death of his 92-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp, File)

In a way, Charles is sandwiched between generations, caught between his mother, a symbol of dignity and continuity who has reigned since 1952, and his two immensely popular sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who have along with their wives come to symbolize the future of the world’s best known monarchy.

FILE - In this June 11, 1969 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, in the uniform of the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales, salutes during the Regiment's Colour presentation, at Cardiff Castle in Wales. It was the first occasion for the Prince to wear uniform. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this June 11, 1969 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, in the uniform of the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales, salutes during the Regiment’s Colour presentation, at Cardiff Castle in Wales. It was the first occasion for the Prince to wear uniform. Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child. (AP Photo, File)

William and Harry also remind many of their mother, the late Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 after a messy divorce from Charles that for a time tarnished his standing with the British public.

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1989 file photo Prince Charles looks over his shoulder as he plays in the first Prince of Wales Cup polo match at the Windsor Polo and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla. USA. Charles’ wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall wrote in a tribute ahead of Charles' birthday on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, in The Telegraph Magazine “I don’t think he thinks he’s 70,” she wrote  “I think it’s just a number to him. There’s no way that he will slow down. You must be joking. I keep saying 70 is getting on a bit. It’s not very old but it is old. You have to slow down a bit.” (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 18, 1989 file photo Prince Charles looks over his shoulder as he plays in the first Prince of Wales Cup polo match at the Windsor Polo and Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla. USA. Charles’ wife, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall wrote in a tribute ahead of Charles’ birthday on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, in The Telegraph Magazine “I don’t think he thinks he’s 70,” she wrote “I think it’s just a number to him. There’s no way that he will slow down. You must be joking. I keep saying 70 is getting on a bit. It’s not very old but it is old. You have to slow down a bit.” (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

It is William and Harry — along with their wives Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan — who appear on the cover of glossy magazines, not the about-to-be-70 Charles. It is the young royals who are seen as glamorous modernizers with the common touch, while Charles is sometimes perceived as dour, preachy and remote.

Camilla says the public doesn’t understand how “incredibly kind” and funny Charles is, and William and Harry — taking part in a rare BBC interview to mark his father’s birthday — praise the way he has used his undefined position as Prince of Wales to advocate so many important causes, such as environmental protection.

FILE - In this 1969 file photo, Britain's Prince Charles, poses for a photo dressed in his investiture regalia as Prince of Wales.  Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king.(Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE – In this 1969 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles, poses for a photo dressed in his investiture regalia as Prince of Wales. Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018, serving as heir to the throne since he was a young child, but his destiny is to be king.(Pool Photo via AP, File)

But Harry — who has endeared himself to the British public in part with his impish smile and sunny outlook — urged his dad to cut back a bit on the doom and gloom that often accompanies Charles’ pronouncements.

FILE - In this Tuesday March 9, 1999 file photo Britain's Prince Charles dances the tango with Adriana Vasile, at the Presidents Dinner in Buenos Aires, during his visit to Argentina. Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, and is sometimes perceived as dour, preachy and remote, but his wife Camilla the duchess of Cornwall says the public doesn’t understand how “incredibly kind” and funny Charles is. (Peter Nichols/Pool via AP)
FILE – In this Tuesday March 9, 1999 file photo Britain’s Prince Charles dances the tango with Adriana Vasile, at the Presidents Dinner in Buenos Aires, during his visit to Argentina. Prince Charles turns 70 on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, and is sometimes perceived as dour, preachy and remote, but his wife Camilla the duchess of Cornwall says the public doesn’t understand how “incredibly kind” and funny Charles is. (Peter Nichols/Pool via AP)

“I would encourage him to remain optimistic because I think it can be very easy to become despondent and negative,” Harry said. “But hopefully with his children and his grandchildren, and a few more grandchildren to come, he can get energy from the family side and then carry on his leadership role.”

He also had this advice: don’t work so hard, and have dinner earlier.

Source: The Associated Press

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