Today is the birthday of the Prince of Wales, and the day on which at sixty five he reaches what for most men would be the age of retirement. He is now the eldest Heir Apparent in the history of the monarchy.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on their recent visit to india
For the Prince that is certainly not the case, as he remains active both in formal public life and in the many and various causes to which he has devoted so much energy and genuine commitment over many years. Furthermore at some unknown date in the future there lie the still more onerous responsibilities of being King, not just of one realm, but of a series across the world. In a recent interview he was reported as saying that, quite apart from personal considerations as to succeeding to the throne on the death of his mother, he fears thbat in the position of Sovereign he would not be able to be active in the causes he has worked so hard to publicise and to actually make a real and positive contribution.
I have always had great respect for the Prince not just as Heir Apparent but for the seriousness with which he has tried to make the public aware of a series of fundamental issues facing our society, and for that he deserves very considerable gratitude and support.
Over the last few years with a clearly very happy marriage, a married eldest son and now a grandson the Prince seems again to have the wider approval from the public that he deserves, and long may that continue.
So today is an opportunity to express my good wishes to the Prince, to thank him for his service on behalf of Crown and people, and to wish him well in all his endeavours on all our behalfs.