"Much of what you think you know about the Prince is wrong," writes Time magazine's Catherine Mayer in her exclusive new cover story with Britain's future king, Prince Charles.
With a renewed global obsession with the monarchy, most of it centered on Charles' sons Prince William and Prince Harry, William's wife, Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge), and 3-month-old grandson Prince George -- gives the "Forgotten Prince" all the more reason to sit down and discuss the succession issue.
He says his grandson, whose royal christening took place just one day before the cover's release, is "what this is all about." Queen Elizabeth II, who is slowly handing off more responsibilities and duties to her 64-year-old son, has no intention of abdicating the throne at 87-years-old, nor is Charles "itching to ascend the throne." She writes, "He prefers not to focus on his accession, which, after all, means losing his mother."
Charles, who is portrayed in the story as thoughtful, attentive to his family, charitably-minded, environmentally-cognizant, and even funny, the future-- and not just his hopes for the monarchy but his concerns, too. "I've had this extraordinary feeling, for years and years, ever since I can remember really, of wanting to heal and make things better," he says. “I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can."
The writer also explores the disastrous remnants of Charles' breakup with the late Princess Diana, where the Prince's personal image took an enormous hit. Britons and royal watchers worldwide were for some time upset with his love and second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles (now the Duchess of Cornwall), following Diana's death at age 36 in a 1997 car crash. But the story touches on a happy present-day Charles who enjoys life with his "wonderful wife" and growing family. A fan and longtime friend of the Prince, British actress Emma Thompson, says dancing with Charles is "better than sex."
And finally, the piece addresses the gossip over whether Prince Charles will be skipped in inheriting the crown. The answer is simple: Charles' devotion to the monarchy leaves him primed and ready to succeed. "If you chuck away too many things," he says, "you end up discovering there was value in them."