Most men of his age would cover up, rather than risk displaying the flabbiness of the march of time.
And, indeed, as he neared his 70th birthday last year, Prince Charles was characteristically self-deprecating about his physical wellbeing. ‘Bits of me keep falling off at regular intervals,’ he joked.
But, almost six months on from that milestone, it seems the Prince was being less than truthful. For this week, striding through the surf on a Caribbean beach, he boasted the physique of a man at least ten years his junior.
Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say he cut an impressive figure. It brought back memories of the Prince’s bachelor days when he regularly stripped off for an impromptu swim.
Fit for a Prince: Prince Charles was showing off his enviable physique and natty trunks in Barbados this week. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say he cut an impressive figure. It brought back memories of the Prince’s bachelor days when he regularly stripped off for an impromptu swim
His stomach may not be quite as washboard-flat as it was when he was in his 20s, but the absence of any discernible ‘spare tyre’ around the princely middle is not just testimony to iron discipline, food fads and exercise.
There is another hidden quality that has been every bit as critical: the satisfaction of a happy and settled domestic routine. Approaching his 14th wedding anniversary, the Prince of Wales is today as contented a figure as he has been at any time in his adult life.
Three grandchildren and a fourth on the way have brought him an assuredness and sense of purpose.
All of this is down to the other equally trim figure alongside him in Barbados — the Duchess of Cornwall. It is due to her influence that he allowed himself to venture on to a beach teeming with sun-worshippers in the first place.
Bachelor boy: Athletic Charles, 32, in the sea off Sydney three months before his 1981 wedding. Charles has always been a man who prides himself on his appearance
Heir to the tone: Aussie model Jane Priest steals a kiss from Charles when he was 30 (right); the 21-year-old Prince (left)
The old Charles, a mass of insecurities, would have shrunk from such a public excursion. But in Camilla, he has found not just a soulmate, but someone who has made him shrug off such concerns.
That they wandered on to the beach carrying their own towels and kicking off their shoes, just like the other holidaymakers all around them, was a sign of just how relaxed he has become.
The couple were enjoying a brief lull in Barbados before resuming a 12-day tour that will see them become the first members of the Royal Family to visit the Communist island of Cuba.
Despite the jokes that his ‘budgie-smuggling’ days were behind him, Charles has always been a man who prides himself on his appearance. And his secret appears to be simple — regular exercise, a moderate diet and a good dose of sheer willpower.
He has always looked after himself and taken care of his body. He also enjoys physical activity and remains physically fit. He’s also very careful about what he eats. If he puts on any weight, he will make sure he loses it.
Fun times: Prince Charles having fun on royal yacht Britannia. Like his father Prince Philip, Charles is understood to undertake his own health and fitness routine, based on a Royal Canadian Air Force fitness regimen known as the 5BX
Like his father Prince Philip, Charles is understood to undertake his own health and fitness routine, based on a Royal Canadian Air Force fitness regimen known as the 5BX (Five Basic Exercises).
He is sufficiently motivated by the desire to continue to fit into military uniforms made for him 30 years ago without his tailor having to let them out. And walking, especially in Scotland, has become an essential part of his routine.
‘His weight has remained pretty constant at around 11st 5lb for the past 40 years, though it does go up more often these days than it used to,’ says a friend.
Exercise is only part of the story. Healthy and moderate eating — only two meals a day — is another. Naturally, his diet revolves around organic food and he has regular meat-free days. He also likes to fast from time to time, which helps to moderate his weight.
Breakfast is usually soft-boiled eggs and fruit, and he never eats lunch. Dislikes include overcooked vegetables, coffee, chocolate, nuts, garlic, curry, chillies, raw onions, pork and blue cheese.
Dinner is usually grilled meat or fish with fresh vegetables. Neither Charles nor Camilla has an especially sweet tooth, though the Prince has always been partial to treacle tart.
Alcohol is also taken in moderation. Before dinner, he likes a dry martini mixed to his special recipe — three parts gin to one part vermouth — and he enjoys the occasional Laphroaig malt whisky and water.
Of course, Charles has also enjoyed the good fortune of inheriting the genes of his remarkable father, whose astonishing vitality and good health is such that, earlier this year, he was able to crawl from his overturned car after an accident near Sandringham.
After enjoying his time on the beach, Prince Charles was later more formally attired for a meeting with singer Lionel Richie, newly unveiled as a global ambassador for the international arm of his Prince’s Trust.
Charles and Camilla will carry out some 50 engagements across Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, the Cayman Islands — and, of course, that historic visit to Cuba.
Hello…is it ONE, you’re looking for? The Prince of Wales giggles with Lionel Richie as he announces him as global ambassador for The Prince’s Trust
- Prince Charles, 70, met with the ‘Hello’ singer while he was in Barbados today
- Lionel Richie, 69, will introduce The Prince’s Trust to an international audience
- Royals are currently on a 12-day tour of the Caribbean and will also visit Cuba
The Prince of Wales looked smart as he met with singer Lionel Richie in Barbados on Tuesday night.
Charles, 70, met Lionel Richie, 69, to officially name him as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust International.
The ‘Hello’ singer will now help introduce The Prince’s Trust International to a global audience.
The singer, who also looked smart in a navy suit, shook hands and joked with Charles at the reception at the Coral Reef Club Hotel in Folkestone, Barbados.
The Prince of Wales looked smart as he met with singer Lionel Richie in Barbados on Tuesday night
Charles, 70, met Lionel Richie, 69, to officially name him as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust International
Later on at the reception the singer and Charles seemed deep in conversation, but they soon returned to their jovial manner.
The Prince’s Trust International was founded in November 2015 by The Prince of Wales to support people aged 13 to 30 in Australia, Canada, India, Barbados, Jordan, Pakistan and Malta.
It is an extension of The Prince’s Trust, which has helped nearly a million young people in the UK transform their lives over the past 43 years.
Singer Tom Jones also joined the celebrations later in the day, where he embraced Lionel and posed for pictures with the singer and Prince Charles.
Earlier in the day Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were given a warm welcome as they kicked off the Barbados leg of their 12-day tour of the Caribbean.
Charles and Lionel were later joined by another singer Tom Jones at the Coral Reef Club Hotel
Singer Lionel Richie was joined by his girlfriend Lisa Parigi (second left) Prince Charles and Singer Tom Jones
The singer (left) who also looked smart in a navy suit, shook hands and joked with Charles at the reception at the Coral Reef Club Hotel in Folkestone, Barbados
The two singers embrace at the event which made Lionel Richie an official ambassador for The Prince’s Trust
Charles, was warmly embraced by well-wishers as he and Camilla, 71, took part in a walkabout in Bridgetown on Tuesday.
The royals have already visited St Lucia on their tour, which will also take in an historic trip to Cuba later this month.
Yesterday the couple enjoyed some downtime on a Barbados beach as they made the most of a day off in the sun between official engagements.
Charles, 70, was warmly embraced by well-wishers as he and Camilla, 71, took part in a walkabout in Bridgetown. Pictured, one woman places a hand on the back of Charles’ neck
The Duke of Cornwall laughed as the woman pulled him in for an embrace in Bridgetown
Nearby supporters laughed as the woman clung onto Charles’ neck and held him close
Another woman was also seen pulling in Charles for a hug during the Bridgetown walkabout
Prince Charles looked relaxed in sunglasses and a light suit as he greeted crowds in Barbados
The royal took time to shake hands with well-wishers in Bridgetown, smiling as he did so
The red carpet was rolled out to mark Charles and Camilla’s arrival in Barbados earlier today.
A military band paraded through the streets as thousands of well-wishers turned out in the hope of catching a glimpse of the royal visitors.
Prince Charles donned a light suit for the occasion, proudly wearing his own military medals pinned to his lapel.
Meanwhile the Duchess of Cornwall dressed for the weather in a flowing ice blue tunic and matching skirt.
Prince Charles was in excellent spirits on a visit to the Nidhe Israel synagogue, Bridgetown
Meanwhile the Duchess of Cornwall met with a schoolgirl during her own solo engagement
The Duke of Cornwall was surrounded by supporters as he visited a Bridgetown synagogue
The Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque, seen in black, to commemorate his visit on Tuesday
Prince Charles adjusted his kippah as he made his way into the synagogue for the visit
The Duchess visited a woodworking class on a tour of the Derrick Smith School, Bridgetown
The Duchess of Cornwall meets staff and pupils while attending a Commonwealth Big Lunch at The Derrick Smith School & Vocational Centre in Bridgetown
She carried her essentials in a small handbag and whipped out an umbrella to protect herself from the intense sun.
The tour began on Sunday when Charles briefly visited St Lucia for a few hours and marked the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence.
He travelled that night to Barbados to be reunited with his wife, who had flown out ahead of the start of the tour.
Today the couple watched a military parade before meeting the Govenor-General and first female prime minister of Barbados.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall dressed for the heat as they arrived for the parade today
The Duke of Cornwall delivered a speech in Heroes Square, Bridgetown, during the welcome
Prince Charles laid a wreath of poppies at a cenotaph in Bridgetown during the ceremony
The streets were busy as fans went out to welcome the royals to the region of Bridgetown, with hundreds lining the streets
The couple laid a wreath at the centograph, and were snapped arriving at the meeting with the Govenor-General.
Charles and Camilla met Dame Sandra Mason, who as Governor General is the Queen’s representative on the Commonwealth island, and the country’s first woman prime minister Mia Mottley.
A barrister who studied at the London School of Economics, Ms Mottley came to power in May last year when her Barbados Labour Party inflicted a crushing defeat on the ruling Democratic Labour Party, winning all the seats in parliament.
During their tour, Charles and Camilla will also visit St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and the Cayman Islands.
The red carpet was rolled out to mark the royals’ arrival in Bridgetown on the Caribbean tour
The Duke of Cornwall delivered a speech as he was officially welcomed to Bridgetown today
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall watched a parade and wreath laying ceremony today
Camilla, 71, whipped out a small umbrella to protect herself from the sun during the ceremony
The streets were packed with royal fans, desperate to catch sight of the couple, who are currently on a 12 day tour of the area
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in Heroes Square, Bridgetown, Barbados for their official arrival ceremony
Mia Mottley, the first female Prime Minister of Barbados, awaited the arrival of Prince Charles and Camilla, left. Right, The royal couple attended the military parade and wreath laying
Barbados sea cadets were among those who marched in the parade ahead of the arrival of the British royals
A marching band parade played during the visit of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on their Caribbean tour
Charles is also said to be keen to discuss the impact of climate change in the area, having already spoken about the issue in St Lucia.
Speaking about the global threat posed by climate change the prince said: ‘Importantly, the Commonwealth brings us together and gives us the means to harness shared opportunities, as well as to address common challenges.
‘There is no greater challenge facing all of us, in my view, than that of global warming and climate change which, I know, poses nothing short of an existential threat to this island as it does to every part of this region.’
The couple receive a bottle of local rum during their meeting with the Prime Minister
The royal couple went on to meet the Govenor-General and sign the visitors’ book
Dame Sandra Mason, General-Govenor of Barbados, greeted Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrived for their meeting
The royal couple met with Dame Sandra Mason, who as Governor General is the Queen’s representative on the Commonwealth island, and the country’s first woman prime minister Mia Mottley
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are currently on a busy tour of the Caribbean islands, including a history-making four day visit to Cuba at the end of the week – the first by members of the monarchy
Duchess of Cornwall cuts a cake as she attends a Commonwealth Big Lunch event in Bridgetown
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses for a photo with pupils and staff whilst attending a Commonwealth Big Lunch at The Derrick Smith School & Vocational Centre
Duchess of Cornwall looks delighted as she attends a Commonwealth Big Lunch at The Derrick Smith School & Vocational Centre
Camilla enjoys a lunch on Tuesday as her and Charles visit Bridgetown in Barbados