EVERYONE, surely, will want to wish Prince Charles a happy birthday as he reaches 60 today. His mother gave him a birthday party at Buckingham Palace last night with music provided by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of which the Prince is patron. Earlier in the week Queen Elizabeth paid handsome tribute to his work for charity, especially through the Prince's Trust which he created to provide young people in trouble with education, training and work. However, the Queen has not chosen to give her son the birthday gift he probably most desires - the Throne. She remains deaf to suggestions that she should abdicate in his favour and since her mother lived to 101, Charles may still be waiting on his 75th birthday. The role of Prince of Wales, heir to the throne, is what its occupant chooses to make it. It has sometimes been unkindly compared to the position of Vice President of the United States but Prince Charles has succeeded in creating a distinctive role for himself. His passionate interest in architecture, the environment, organic food, alternative medicine and inter-face understanding has enabled him to speak on these subjects with an individual and committed voice. Sometimes he has perhaps taken advantage of his unique position in pushing his ideas but there is no doubt that his views are sincerely held. Prince Charles has recovered to a large extent the loss of public respect that followed his divorce from Princess Diana. He seems relaxed and happy in his second marriage. Today he deserves the British nation's best wishes.


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