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Britain's Prince Charles celebrates his 60th birthday on Friday by launching
Britain's Prince Charles celebrates his 60th birthday on Friday by launching a new project for his Prince's Trust charity for disadvantaged young people.

As part of his birthday celebrations, which included a comedy show Wednesday at a London theater in aid of his charity, Queen Elizabeth II hosted on Thursday an extravagant dinner in honor of Charles, known for his outspoken views on architecture, green campaigns and anti-GM food stance, at Buckingham Palace which was attended by 400 guests.

His sons, princes William and Harry, said at the dinner that their father was "an inspiration to us all and so many others." On Saturday, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, his second wife of three years, will host a party for him at Highgrove House, the couple's country residence.

But it is the Prince's Trust which has been the focal point of his work over the years and on Friday Charles launches Youth Week "to highlight the positive contribution that young people make to society." Set up in 1976, the charity has helped more than 500,000 young people to improve their lives through voluntary work, programs and training.

At 60, however, he is the oldest Prince of Wales and the third-oldest heir to the throne, and with his 82-year-old mother in good health and looking unlikely to abdicate, after five years he will be the oldest person to become king.

Historian Robert Lacey told the Guardian that Charles was adjusting to his long wait for the throne.

"I think he is finally coasting home, perhaps coming to the realization that he will never be king or, if he does, he'll be like one of those elderly leaders at the end of the Soviet era - a sort of royal Andropov, with only a few years," he said. "His significance will lie in what he has accomplished as Prince and what he does to get the next king ready."


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