The Queen last night paid a warm tribute to her son as she toasted Prince Charles’s 70th birthday. Speaking at a private family party at Buckingham Palace, the monarch spoke of what a ‘privilege’ it was for her, as a mother, to honour him on such a momentous occasion.
She described Charles as a ‘dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father’.
Significantly, she also gave his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, the highest seal of approval, referring to Camilla by name as the woman who ‘sustains’ him.
And in a humorous aside she referred to her eldest son as a ‘duchy original’ – a reference to the organic food line he set up in 1990.
Raising a glass at the black tie dinner, the Queen said: ‘It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday.
‘It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like —to use an analogy I am certain will find favour — planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.
‘My mother saw me turn 70, of course. And she was heard to observe that 70 is exactly the age when the number of candles on your cake finally exceeds the amount of breath you have to blow them out.
Charles and Camilla are pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace for his 70th birthday celebrations which are continuing into the night
The Duchess of Cambridge is pictured arriving for the 70th birthday celebrations of her father-in-law, Prince Charles
Prince Harry heads to his father’s birthday celebrations alongside his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, this evening for Prince Charles’ 70th
‘Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader — a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father.
‘Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative. So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original. To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales.’
Royals were pictured leaving Kensington Palace this evening as they drove through central London to head to Buckingham Palace for the 70th birthday celebration of Prince Charles.
His daughters-in-law, Kate and Meghan, travelled alongside their husbands, Princes Harry and William, as they sported huge jewels for the party.
The Duke of Sussex was spotted driving his pregnant wife to the birthday celebration after Prince Charles celebrated his big day today by meeting 70 inspirational people also marking their 70th this year.
Pregnant Meghan Markle, left, arrives at Buckingham Palace, where the Royals are celebrating the 70th birthday of Prince Charles this evening as Princess Eugenie, right, also heads to the party
The Duchess of Cambridge rides alongside her husband, Prince William, as they head to Buckingham Palace for the 70th birthday celebrations
Princess Eugenie arrives alongside Jack Brooksbank (centre) at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles’ 70th birthday party
Prince William is pictured on the way to his father’s 70th birthday celebrations as he travels alongside his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge in London
The Prince of Wales was praised as a ‘prophet’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury as he paid tribute to him on his birthday.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said the heir to the throne had shown his ‘prophetic instincts’ in his championing of the environment and his early warnings of the threat posed by plastic pollution.
The leader of the Anglican church was speaking as peers in the House of Lords hailed the Prince of Wales’ ‘outstanding service to the nation’ and wished him ‘many happy returns’ on turning 70.
Referring to accusations levelled at the prince of ‘meddling’ in public affairs, the Archbishop said: ‘In the Church we politely say ‘being prophetic’. To some extent, his Royal Highness is a prophet.
‘A prophet in the Old Testament is someone who sees slightly further into things than other people and, perhaps to some people’s discomfort at times, may bring them out and is then proved to be right.
‘He has shown his prophetic instincts, not least in his welcome advocacy of the critical need to protect the environment and … his instincts around plastics pollution. Those efforts have been well ahead of most of us in this chamber.’
The tributes in the upper chamber had been due to be led by Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, but as a member of the Cabinet she was involved in the lengthy talks in Downing Street on the draft Brexit deal.
In her absence, deputy leader Earl Howe moved what is known as the humble address to mark the royal birthday.
The Tory frontbencher said the prince had ‘set an extraordinary example of hard work and stamina in the cause of public service’.
Prince Charles addresses 70 inspirational people who have gathered at Spencer House to mark their 70th birthdays alongside him today
Photographer Arthur Edwards presents Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with a book during a celebratory tea party to mark the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday
Lord Howe said: ‘At times, he has been accused of meddling, but he has raised important issues, such as the impact of climate change and the effect of waste and plastics on the environment, well before they became political priorities.’
Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon pointed out it was on environmental issues that Charles had at times ‘ruffled a few feathers’.
‘There is no doubt, however, that what in the 1970s were regarded as somewhat eccentric issues are today’s problems that we are all trying to grapple with, having failed to heed past warnings,’ she said, adding: ‘Perhaps we should re-examine a few more of those so-called ‘eccentric’ issues.’
After an event with other people turning 70 at Spencer House in London, Prince Charles was pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace as he sat alongside Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Earlier today the Prince of Wales walked into Spencer House in London with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall carrying a glittering bag and 70th birthday balloon.
Guests were nominated by Age UK and include volunteers who are actively involved with a number of their patronages including The Prince’s Trust, The Silver Line, Maggie’s and Barnardo’s.
The Prince of Wales arrived at Spencer House with Camilla, carrying a glittering bag and 70th birthday balloon
Charles was handed the balloon and a £5.99 bottle of ‘Hot Nuts’ grey squirrel repellent in a bag by the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English, along with her fellow royal correspondents Hannah Furness and Valentine Low. The Prince of Wales laughed and joked: ‘Where do you find these terrible things?!’
It comes after the heir to the throne said in an interview with County Life that he loves red squirrels that live on the Balmoral estate and even lets them into his home. Asked how he felt, the future king said: ‘Older… I’m not sure.
‘It’s rather like indigestion. ‘Many Happy Returns’ are not quite the same as you get older.’
Asked whether she had finally found him a present, after telling the Mail last week that she was stuck for ideas, his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, said teasingly: ‘I did. But I’m not telling.’
The prince chuckled when asked if he were slowing down, adding: ‘You may see it, slowly but surely,’ to which Camilla retorted lovingly ‘I doubt it!’
The Prince of Wales said: ‘Thank you all very much and asked the Mail’s reporter if she had recovered from jet lag after the royal tour of Africa, saying: ‘I don’t know how you do it’.
The couple arrive for the tea party in London today to celebrate 70 inspirational people marking their 70th birthday this year
Charles was handed the balloon and a bottle of grey squirrel repellent in the bag outside Spencer House today
Charles was asked how he was feeling, and replied: ‘How I am feeling? Older, older. I’m not sure, it’s like indigestion – many happy returns aren’t quite as good as you get older’
Prince Charles arrives at Spencer House in London this afternoon with his wife Camilla to celebrate his 70th birthday
Members of the royal media hand Charles the 70th birthday balloon and a bottle of grey squirrel repellent in a bag
Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall travelled to nearby Spencer house – the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales’ family to meet 70 special Septuagenarians who are volunteers actively involved with a number of royal couple’s charities including the Prince’s Trust, the Silver Line, Maggie’s and Barnardo’s at a party organised by The Sun.
The Spencer family last lived in the 18th century London mansion in the 1920s and today it is leased to the investment company RIT Capital Partners, chaired by Lord Rothschild, which has renovated the property.
As soon as the couple walked into the building the group of 70 people began singing happy birthday to the prince before they all posed for a photograph.
In the Great Room the largest and most imposing of Spencer House’s state rooms the guests gathered for the reception – where tea had been substituted for champagne.
Prince Michael of Kent rides alongside Princess Michael of Kent as they leave Kensington Palace to celebrate the birthday of Prince Charles
With champagne flutes in her hand the group listened as veteran royal photographer Arthur Edwards paid a heartfelt tribute to the prince. Charles gave an impromptu speech in return.
At the end the prince quipped: ‘I was asked just now outside whether I was going to slow down, I’m not sure I’ve got much alternative.’
Raymond Penrose was nominated to attend the birthday bash for playing Father Christmas in his village for 40 years, raising thousands for charity and working with disabled children.
Mr Penrose of Chalfont-St-Giles, Bucks, said: ‘I feel very privileged to be here today, especially because it is Prince Charles’ actual birthday. It is a beautiful place to spend the day.’
Another reader nominated by the Sun, Gillian Ackers, volunteers as a home visitor for the RSPCA and undertakes weekly visits to schools to help reluctant readers, travelled from Quorn for the event.
Gillian, a retired magistrate, said: ‘I am so pleased that Charles has chosen to spend his birthday meeting other 70 year-olds. I am a bit surprised, but very honoured to have been chosen by The Sun.
‘Since I retired at 70 I try to keep busy. If I had one piece of advice for the Prince on his birthday it would be that he should not stop working.’
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the ceremonial saluting battery of Her Majesty’s Household Division, fired a 41-gun Royal Salute from Green Park, central London, at noon.
The soldiers, horses and guns of the battery had left their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks at 11am before making their way up Birdcage Walk, past the Queen Victoria Memorial and up Constitution Hill.
After a turn in Hyde Park, they then made their way to the firing position at Green Park after the Band of the Royal Artillery will play a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position.
Some 71 horses pulling six First World War-era 13-pounder Field Guns then came into action from the Wellington Arch end of the park to place the guns into position for the Royal Salute in the park.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fires a 41-gun Royal Salute from Green Park in London for Prince Charles at noon today
On the word of command each of the six guns fired blank artillery rounds at ten-second intervals at Green Park today
The soldiers, horses and guns of the battery left their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks at 11am for Green Park
The gun salute at Green Park today came after the Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music nearby
The King’s Troop, at Green Park today, is the ceremonial saluting battery of Her Majesty’s Household Division
On the word of command each of the six guns fired blank artillery rounds at ten-second intervals until 41 shots were fired. The horses and riders then collected the guns and took them back to Wellington Barracks.
Just after midday, the Honourable Artillery Company, the City of London’s Reserve Army Regiment, in ceremonial attire, left their barracks at Armoury House to drive through the City in their liveried Pinzgauer vehicles.
They had an escort to the Tower of London to fire a 62-gun Royal Salute at 1pm – the second salute of the day. When the Guns arrived at the Tower, they were placed into position, on the riverbank, overlooking HMS Belfast.
The three L118 Ceremonial Light Guns, similar to those used operationally in recent years in Afghanistan, were used to fire the 62 gun salute across the Thames at ten second intervals.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive for a tea party at Spencer House in London to celebrate 70 inspirational people marking their 70th birthday this year
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-gun salute to mark the 70th birthday of Prince Charles at Green Park today
Some 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder Field Guns to get them in place at Green Park today
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a gun salute with the route in to Green Park is beautiful autumn colours today
Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery talk while they wait for the guns to arrive at Green Park today
After the gun salute, the horses and riders then collected the guns and took them back to Wellington Barracks
A Royal Salute normally comprises 21 guns, but this is increased to 41 if fired from a Royal Park or Residence. At the Tower of London, which is a Royal Residence, a total of 62 rounds are fired on Royal anniversaries.
This also includes an additional 21 guns for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the Monarch.
Elsewhere, Army Reservists from 104 Regiment Royal Artillery fired a 21-gun salute at Cardiff Castle today.
Congratulations from around the world have been sent to the Prince of Wales as he celebrates his 70th birthday.
The Honourable Artillery Company, the City of London’s Reserve Army Regiment, fire a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London
The Honourable Artillery Company had an escort to the Tower to perform the capital’s second gun salute of the day, at 1pm
Army Reservists from 104 Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21-gun salute at Cardiff Castle, for Prince Charles’s birthday today
The 21-gun salute at Cardiff Castle, held by Army Reservists to mark the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday today
The Royal Gun Salute for the Prince of Wales’ birthday takes place in the shadow of Cardiff Castle at noon today
Army Reservists from 104 Regiment Royal Artillery fire the 21-gun salute at Cardiff Castle for the royal birthday today
The gun salute in Cardiff today is among the congratulations sent to the Prince of Wales as he celebrates his 70th birthday
Prince Charles was surrounded by his nearest and dearest in this official image marking his milestone birthday. Pictured: (back row, from left) Louis, Kate, William, Harry, Meghan (front row, from left), George, Charles, Camilla and Charlotte
The 21st Prince of Wales: Charles by numbers
Here’s a look at the Prince of Wales in numbers ahead of his 70th birthday:
1 – Place in line to the throne.
2 – Sons – the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.
3 – Age when he became heir to the throne.
3 – Grandchildren – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – becoming 4 after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby is born next spring.
5 – Step-grandchildren – the Duchess of Cornwall has five grandchildren: Lola and Freddie Parker Bowles and twins Gus and Louis Lopes, and their sister Eliza.
9 – Age when he was given the title the Prince of Wales by the Queen.
11 – Years married to the Princess of Wales before they separated.
13 – Years married to Camilla.
15 – Years married to Diana, Princess of Wales, before they divorced.
20 – Age at his investiture as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.
21 – Charles is the 21st Prince of Wales and the first since 1936.
32 – Age when he married 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
44 – Commonwealth countries Charles has visited out of the 53 Commonwealth nations.
56 – Age when he married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005.
66 – Years as heir to the throne.
More than 420 – Charities of which the prince is patron or president.
875,000 – Disadvantaged young people helped into employment or business by his youth charity, the Prince’s Trust.
£141,263 – Cost of seven royal train trips, costing more than £20,000 each, in 2017-18.
£140million – Money raised by his charities each year.
£21.7million – Charles’s annual income from his hereditary estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
£45.7million – Taxpayer funds received by the monarchy to pay for official duties and other expenditure in 2017-18.
The Welsh Guards at home and abroad recorded special video messages for their Colonel from troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Chile and Canada, as well as in the UK.
The Royal Family also wished the nation’s longest serving heir to throne ‘a very Happy 70th Birthday’ via Twitter, accompanied by a montage of photos of the prince through the years.
Charles was spending his birthday working, holding meetings before he and the Duchess of Cornwall had tea with a group of inspirational people who also celebrate their 70th birthday this year.
In the evening, the Queen will throw a Buckingham Palace birthday bash for her eldest son and heir.
European royals and Charles’s closest friends and family are expected to gather at the glittering black-tie party in the monarch’s London residence.
Charles was surrounded by his nearest and dearest in the official images marking his milestone birthday.
In two photos released by Clarence House, the prince was pictured sat on a bench with his grandson Prince George, wife Camilla and granddaughter Princess Charlotte.
Stood behind the prince and his wife were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Kate holding Prince Louis, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The photographs are rare images of the prince with his three grandchildren, which will increase to four when Meghan gives birth next year.
Charles is beginning his eighth decade from a position of confidence, with his charitable work in full swing, his sons forging their own public lives and Camilla by his side providing support.
The photo shoot was staged in the garden of Clarence House in September, and appears to show a ‘before and after’ of the moment the photographer said ‘smile for the camera’.
In one image, the royals are looking straight ahead and smiling, while in the second Meghan is bending over as she laughs, Camilla has put her arm on three-year-old Charlotte’s shoulder and is pointing at something, while George has a fit of the giggles.
Baby Louis, who is six months old, looks happy and content in the photos and has almost grown a full head of hair, while his big brother, five-year-old George, dangles his long legs either side of his grandfather’s knee.
The pictures were taken by Getty photographer Chris Jackson.
Prime Minister Theresa May praises Prince Charles’s ‘total commitment’ to public service
Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured today at 10 Downing Street) has led tributes to the Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday
Theresa May has led tributes to the Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday, praising his ‘total’ commitment to public service.
The Prime Minister, opening a Commons debate to mark the occasion, said the heir to the throne had spent his life ‘defying expectations and refusing to be categorised’.
She told MPs his sons – the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex – were a ‘true credit to their father’ and said: ‘We as a nation are immensely proud of them and I am sure he is too.’
Mrs May, paying tribute to Charles’s role as a father and grandfather, said: ‘Regardless of your background or resources, raising children is never an easy task. It is made all the more difficult when they suffer a devastating loss at an early age.
‘So today, as Prince William and Prince Harry make their own way in the world and begin to raise their own families, I know I speak for all of us when I say they are a true credit to their father.’
The Prime Minister said Charles was often seen to be ‘a man ahead of his time’, citing his warnings on pollution, sustainable agriculture and the dehumanising effects of technology in the workplace.
And she said: ‘Throughout the Prince of Wales’s life, his commitment to public service has been total. That is true of his royal duties, which see him performing well-over 600 official engagements every year.
‘It is true of his work with the Commonwealth in which he has played an active role for many years, and the esteem in which he is held by the Commonwealth was made clear at the Heads of Government meeting earlier this year when the member states unanimously chose to name him as the next head of the organisation.’
Mrs May also spoke of Charles’s love of music, and joked that they shared a passion for dance.
She said: ‘He remarked in 1974 that ‘if I hear rhythmic music, I just want to get up and dance’ – something I’m sure many of us empathise with.’
The humble address sends a message to the prince ‘to offer His Royal Highness the warmest good wishes of the House upon the occasion of his 70th birthday, expressing the gratitude of the nation for his lifetime of service to the country and the Commonwealth and praying that His Royal Highness may long continue in health and happiness’.