THE Prince of Wales joked about the trials and tribulations of getting older as he celebrated his 70th birthday with a room full of septuagenarians.
Charles cut a birthday cake, was handed presents and gave an impromptu speech when he had tea with 70 people who also turn 70 this year.
When he arrived for the event at Spencer House yesterday with the Duchess of Cornwall, reporters asked how he felt.
‘Older, older,’ he joked. ‘It’s rather like indigestion. Many happy returns are not quite the same as you get older.’
Given a 70th birthday balloon by members of the press, he quipped: ‘I didn’t know you specialised in balloons.’
He also accepted a glittering bag containing a spray to ward off his beloved red squirrels from bird tables, and laughed: ‘Where do you find these horrible things?’
The reception was organised by The Sun newspaper, which selected the 70 guests, who are volunteers involved with the royal couple’s charities including the Prince’s Trust, Maggie’s and Barnardo’s.
The Queen later hosted a banquet at Buckingham Palace where Charles was joined by sons Princes William and Harry, and daughters-in-law Kate and Meghan.
Paying tribute to her son, the Queen said: ‘Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader, a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father. Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.’
Earlier, the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute in Green Park, London, to mark the occasion.