At 64, Prince Charles full of surprises

Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo News
At 64, Prince Charles full of surprises

Prince Charles lives in the public eye (and then some), but that doesn't mean people know everything about him.

The Prince of Wales was recently profiled in Time magazine, and the article's author, Catherine Mayer, apparently had so much material that she wrote a second article, listing 10 unusual anecdotes about His Royal Highness.

Among the amusing factoids:

  • the prince can hike with the best of them;
  • actress and friend Emma Thompson believes dancing with him is "better than sex";
  • he did not (repeat: did not!) design that fire station everyone blames him for;
  • the public has a very interesting idea of what he does with his time. Mayer quotes one 8-year-old as saying, "He tells people what to do, and if they don’t, he’ll behead them."

Well, not quite. But just because the prince doesn't have the authority to go full Henry VIII on disobedient subjects doesn't make the man any less interesting.

For one, Charles is an expert when it comes to (wait for it) sheep. Mayer spoke with Emma Sparham, who raises soay sheep. At a fundraiser, Sparham had occasion to mention that fact to Charles, who then hit her with a slew of very in-the-know questions. "He knew exactly what it was, what island they come from, and he knows the nature of the animal. He asked if I could catch them because they are renowned for being uncatchable," Sparham said.

Prince Charles' full title is, and we're not kidding here, "His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, PC, ADC, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland."

Note the Earl of Carrick title in there? That's how Charles sometimes signs his name on personal notes, according to Mayer's profile. His watercolors, which are quite good, by the way, are marketed by a branch of the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation called "A.G. Carrick."

While he is not yet the King of England, Charles is preparing for the inevitable role, according to Time. His mother, Queen Elizabeth, is 87 and has reportedly begun handing over some of her duties to her son — which means, Charles, a busy man by all accounts, will have some choices to make.

Time reports that he currently serves as patron of 428 different charities. He's founded more than two dozen of his own. The Prince's Trust, for example, gives young people "financial and practical assistance to start businesses or embark on careers." Among its beneficiaries, Time reports, is actor Idris Elba, who, at 16, received a $2,400 grant to join Britain's National Youth Music Theatre.

But what of the future? Charles is nearly 65 and still has much work to do, particularly in the field of climate change.

From Time:

A royal activist, he deploys his influence to move the dial on everything from climate change to community architecture, integrated medicine to interfaith relations. Viewed from palaces and limousines and the more profound distance imposed by position and tradition, all these issues appear to the Prince intimately connected with the fate of the earth, which he fears humanity is destroying — "this miraculous entity floating around in space that is linked with the extraordinary harmony of the universe."

For more on Prince Charles, pick up the Nov. 4 issue of Time.