The next generation of royals was well represented
The guest list for Prince Charles’ 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace made sure to include the next generation.
Queen Elizabeth, who hosted the party, included friends of Prince William and Kate Middleton — among them, two of Princess Charlotte’s godfathers, James Meade and Thomas van Straubenzee.
Also among the revelers: Thomas’ brother, Charlie van Straubenzee, who is close to Prince Harry; William and Kate’s pal Hugh van Cutsem, and his wife, Rose; young royals Freddie Windsor and his wife Sophie Winkleman (their daughter, Maud, is at school with Prince George); and Gabriella Windsor and her fiancé, Tom Kingston. Royal cousin Zara Tindall and her husband Mike were there too.
The Queen knows William’s friends well, and in the past she has invited them for dinners at Sandringham House over the New Year holiday —typically when the group of pals gather to celebrate Princess Kate’s birthday in January or take part in hunting parties at the estate.
Inside the party, Queen Elizabeth made a sweet speech praising Prince Charles, noting that she was honored to be there to experience the milestone.
“It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday,” the 92-year-old monarch began. “It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like — to use an analogy I am certain will find favor — planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.”
“Over his 70 years, 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,” the monarch said. “Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.”
“So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original,” Queen Elizabeth concluded, jokingly referring to the company which her son set up in 1990 to sell organic food products. “To you Charles. To the Prince of Wales.”