Prince Charles at 65: Will he ever become king?
As royal 'pensioner' prepares to celebrate his 65th birthday, talk will again turn to his future
WORKERS in the UK are no longer forced to retire at the age of 65. Which is good news for Prince Charles, who celebrates his 65th birthday on 14 November, but still has his eye on a top job.
The Prince will be in India on the big day, a welcome relief, perhaps, given the significance the British press are likely to attach to the event. The milestone - a poignant moment in any man's life - will doubtless trigger another round of speculation about whether the Prince will – or should – ever inherit the crown from his mother.
As the Daily Mail puts it: "The Prince has more reasons than most not to be reminded of his pensioner status and could easily have turned down the chance of holding a big jamboree." Instead, he's accepted the idea of a black tie bash at Buckingham Palace on 21 November, a week after he returns from the subcontinent.
In terms of precedent, there is nothing stopping 65-year-old Charles ascending the throne. But he would be the oldest person to do so. The record was previously held by William IV who was 64 years, ten months and five days old when he became king in June 1830 following the death of his father George III.
If Charles doesn't succeed his mother, he could always take a shot at becoming the oldest heir to the throne. That record is held by Sophia of Hanover. She was heir to Queen Anne, but died in 1714 at the age of 83 without ever getting her hands on the crown.
Prince Charles, 65 in Nov. and never had a proper job....long term unemployed you might say...but what an obscene benefit he gets. Parasite
— Keith Benton (@keithfromkiddy) June 15, 2013
Surveys have consistently suggested the British public are not keen on the idea of Charles as king and even less keen on the idea of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as Queen. They are sentiments that are unlikely to improve as Charles and his second wife move into their dotage.
One survey found that about 69 per cent of respondents felt Britain would be worse off without the monarchy. But, when they were asked what should happen when the Queen dies, only 39 per cent wanted the crown to pass to Charles. A "whopping 48 per cent prefer it to skip a generation and for William to be king", says the Daily Telegraph.
What's the difference between Prince Charles and a javelin? One is heir to the throne, the other is thrown in the air ...ha ha boom boom
— Basil Brush (@BrushTheBasil) October 9, 2013
The problem, writes the paper's Allison Pearson, is that the Queen has done her job too well. Who on earth can follow such an act? asks Pearson. "Not Prince Charles, I suspect. We know far too much about his foibles and past errors to revere him as we revere his mother."
One wonders if the Prince keeps a faded clipping from a 2008 edition of the Daily Express in his wallet? It features an 'exclusive' proclaiming: "Charles to rule at 65 as Queen steps aside."
"The Queen, now 82, has apparently said she is willing to stand aside when she reaches 87 and allow Charles to take over," declares the Express. "Senior courtiers were openly discussing the arrangement at a private function to toast Charles's 60th birthday last week."
The rumour does not seem to have resurfaced in the intervening years.
Charles seems to realise he's running out of time. During a visit to the stately home Dumfries House late last year he made a "poignant reference to his mortality", the Daily Telegraph says. Joking about his reputation for pursing projects with vigour he said: "Impatient? Me? What a thing to suggest! Yes of course I am." He added: "I'll run out of time soon. I shall have snuffed it if I'm not careful."