The Prince of Wales turned 70 today. In celebration of His Royal Highness’ birthday, a documentary, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, aired last week on BBC One, bringing a new light to the previously slightly overlooked royal. Could Prince Charles be the hero we all need?
In the past, the public’s attention has mostly been focused on either Her Majesty the Queen or on the Prince of Wales’ beloved and internationally swooned after sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Even Prince Charles’ late wife, Diana, gets a thought before the heir to the throne, but maybe all of that is about to change. For those that saw it, the documentary revived a focus on the Prince of Wales that had long been forgotten by our generation (while parents and grandparents nodded knowingly at the TV).
It turns out that the charity work that the prince participates in not only goes far beyond the call of his duty, but also involves issues that are very close to the hearts of students across the nation. His main focus being the environment, the documentary showed that His Royal Highness had been campaigning for environmental reform since the 1970s, long before even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in 1988. In the clip shown on the show, a much younger Prince Charles warns of the damaging nature of plastics on our environment, a fight that environmentalists continue to struggle with today.
It may seem easy when in a position of privilege (like one of royalty) to show some interest in the occasional issue, but the documentary revealed just how hard Prince Charles fights climate change. In the interviews, Prince William and Prince Harry both tell unbelievable stories of their childhood, about how their father always (and still does) work a seven-day week, starting work at breakfast and found often until midnight at his desk. The Prince of Wales also shared on camera how he had demanded that all his transport be made more eco-friendly, from his Aston Martin that runs on unused wine to his cooking-oil-fuelled train.
Perhaps more shocking were the Princes tales of the holidays their father took them on during their school holidays. I watched with some incredulity as they told the interviewer of the litter picking holidays they would go on as children. In fact, it seems that the Prince of Wales has been able to ingrain many of his values within his sons, as they both tell of how they both used to pick up rubbish whenever they happened past it during their day, not to mention their habits of turning all lights off unless absolutely necessary at that moment, a habit that they both rather sheepishly admitted had originally baffled their wives.
Not only a hero for the environment, The Prince’s Trust (Prince Charles’ own charity) ‘work[s] hard to create brighter futures for young people aged 11 to 30, empowering them to get into jobs, education and training’.
It seems only fit to wish His Royal Highness a happy birthday and thank him for being the royal that seems to have our back.