The Man Who Will Be King

Prince Charles is a most uncommon bloke

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CAROLE CUTTNER

May 15, 1978 TIME Cover: The Man Who Will Be King
Britain's Prince Charles

If Charles Philip Arthur George Mount-batten-Windsor did not exist, who could invent him? Consider. He can pilot a jet fighter and knows enough about helicopters to help repair them. He has skippered a Royal Navy minesweeper through North Atlantic gales with the skill of a yachtsman handling a racing sloop. He plays an aggressive, three-plus-handicap game of polo and is a qualified paratrooper. He is a gifted amateur cellist who can be moved to tears while listening to the music of Berlioz. He has scuba-dived in the Caribbean, schussed down Alps, sambaed into the night with Brazilian beauties. A keen student of history, he can discourse persuasively on the neglected virtues of his ancestor King George III, and is host and interviewer on a TV series on anthropology.

Conservatively estimated, his income is about $420,000 a year. He is master of a stately home on 3,000 acres in Kent, which he calls "the most desirable bachelor pad in Europe." He has a mischievous, urbane wit, an infectious smile.

At 29, he is trim (5 ft. 11 in., 154 Ibs.) and — yes — unmarried. As if this were not enough to thrill every mother (and every mother's daughter) in the entire United Kingdom, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Chester and Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of Scotland, is also heir to the classiest preserve of royal pomp and privilege left on earth: the British throne.

Given the robust good health of his mother Queen Elizabeth, chances are that it will be some years before Bonnie Prince Charlie becomes King. But as he approaches his 30th birthday (Nov. 14), this scion of the House of Windsor has clearly come into his own, not so much a monarch in waiting as a mature royal Prince who is a man of his times despite those anachronistic titles. Relaxed and at ease in his ceremonial chores, Charles has worked to extend the influence and interests of the royal family during a time of change for Britain.

Something of Charles' concern for contemporary problems was apparent last week when he held a Buckingham Palace press conference to announce the results of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Appeal, his special activity during the year of celebration that ended last December. Jamming a hand into the pocket of a not-too-well-tailored suit, the Prince explained in his husky baritone that his mission had been "to drag a certain amount of money screaming out of everybody's pockets."

The appeal, it turned out, had raised about $30.5 million. The purpose of the fund is to assist community programs for young people who get into trouble with the law — "to reach the unreachable," as the Prince put it. Asked if the new programs would try to do something for the youthful hooligans responsible for Britain's recent outburst of football violence, Charles answered deftly, "We have not had a group identifying themselves as football hooligans apply by that name, but I hope that gently one might wean a few away from hooliganism."

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