It made headlines around the world with its revelation that the Prince of Wales will step back from campaigning once he succeeds to the throne but the new BBC One documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70 had plenty of other special moments to savour as it followed the man who will be king in the run up to his landmark birthday. From the deep affection in which he’s clearly held by his family to talking to his animals , the hour long programme was filled with royal gems. Here are some of the best moments from Prince, Son and Heir.
The Litter Picking Holidays
If you thought that royal holidays were all about palaces, think on. The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex spoke openly about life with their Dad including all the times he took them litter picking while on holiday. Yep, vacations with the Prince of Wales involve litter spikes, black bags and a good old hunt for rubbish. What’s more, William and Harry loved it and cite it as one of the ways that their Dad got them really involved in environmental matters at an early age.
Royals on a Train
We got plenty of chances to see the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as the well polished royal double act that they are but one of the best moments was the day they took the train. On an day out in Wales, the two hopped on board a scheduled train service to travel between engagements and seemed to forget the cameras were even there as they nattered away about how to pronounce place names and whether the train was about to break down. And just to show who’s really in charge here, as they were entertained to some music from a school choir, Camilla saw that Charles was still talking and gave him a good, sharp nudge to make sure he was listening. Married life at its finest.
Big Brother, Little Sister, Forever Friends
One person who’s been at Charles’ side for most of his seventy years is his sister, the Princess Royal. And while we’re used to seeing archive footage of them messing around together as children, one of the best surprises of this new programme was seeing that almost seven decades on, they’re still doing exactly the same. As they waited for the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government to start at Buckingham Palace, Charles snuck up on Anne who burst into giggles before the two of them started joking around and laughing even more. It was a lovely insight into a strong bond that clearly means a huge amount to both of them. Great fun and heart warming all at the same time.
The Prince of Laughs
In fact, Charles’ sense of humour was on display throughout the hour long show, leaving no one watching in any doubt that the heir to the throne is a good laugh and then some. From his gentle teasing of officials who presented him with unexpected tea at a diary meeting to his jokes as he unveiled a plaque which was hidden from view, Charles brought humour to everything he did. He even had time for a giggle with some of the many people benefitting from the healthy lifestyle initiatives he has started in the area around his Scottish retreat at Dumfries House. Don’t watch this programme if you don’t want to smile, Charles is a hoot.
If I Could Talk to the Animals
That sense of humour was really on display as Charles began a tour of the educational farm at Dumfries House. He revealed that his turkeys really make him laugh before giving us his very best impression of the animals’ distinctive gobbling sound. He had some friendly advice for a Tamworth pig who was searching for food, chatting away to it until it found the dinner it needed and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world for the first in line to the throne to say hello to a sheep as he passed it during his walk. The Prince of Wales talking to the animals must be one of the funniest royal moments of the year.
‘May I Buy That?’
On a visit to Vanuatu, the Prince of Wales headed to a local market and ended up on a shopping spree. Clearly taken by the products on offer, he toured stalls, stopping to ask ”may I buy that” with the very regal response of ‘how very kind,’ when the sale was agreed. However, the best part of shopping with Charles came afterwards as the prince moved off leaving a rather anxious looking official to seal the deal with an envelope of local currency and a sense of urgency as his boss began negotiating at the next counter. By the time the heir to the throne had come across some wooden pigs to buy for George and Charlotte (Louis hadn’t made an appearance yet) the official had the hang of it. Possibly.
Charles’ role as a grandfather was another highlight of the programme as his adoration for his family shone through. From that now famous new photo of Prince Louis with his grandpapa to the joyous sight of Charles playing happily with Camilla’s own grandchildren, there was plenty of opportunity to celebrate the Prince of Wales as a family man. He even took us on a tour of the arboretum planted at his home at Birkhall to celebrate the birth of his first grandchild, Prince George. William described him as a brilliant grandfather and expressed the hope that his three youngsters would get to spend even more time with Charles in the future while we finished with Harry referring to future grandchildren with a happy grin that said he was sure his ‘dear Papa’ was more than ready for the new addition to the Sussex family.
Welcoming Meghan to the family
There was another joyous family moment when Prince Harry spoke of how quickly and happily his father had stepped in to help when the Duchess of Sussex asked him to walk down the aisle with her on her arrival at the royal wedding in May. Camilla went on to talk with pride about how welcome Charles had made Meghan’s mum, Doria Ragland, at the wedding. And we got to see some images of that gorgeous day all over again which is always a highlight, no matter what.
The Much Loved Prince
In fact, if we take two main things away from watching this programme it’s that the Prince of Wales is firstly, extremely hard working and secondly, very much loved by all his family. Camilla spoke of his kindness while William and Harry were filled with praise for how much Charles had done and how much he still wants to do. There was also an overriding sense that those he meets are always made to feel special and he takes a deep interest in everything he does. And even after the show was done, the appreciation continued as the programme and Charles received a positive response. Plenty took to social media to say they hadn’t realised just how much Charles did. New fans for a hard working prince has got to be a good result all round.
Viewers in the UK can see the programme on the BBC iPlayer.
Photo credits: BBC stills.