Buoyed by a tribute from his mother and an improved standing in an opinion poll, Prince Charles celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday in private with friends and, as hostess, his longtime love, Camilla Parker Bowles.
About 250 guests were invited to the party at Highgrove, Charles' home in Gloucestershire. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip disapprove of their son's once-adulterous relationship with Parker Bowles and stayed away.
Instead, Charles partied with royalty--incumbents and exiles--from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Denmark and a number of Arab countries.
An opinion poll published Saturday said that three-quarters of the British public believe the heir to the throne would be either a "very good" or "fairly good" king.
In the telephone poll of about 1,200 people, published in the Daily Telegraph, 61% of respondents said they consider Charles a "well-intentioned but troubled man who seems to be looking for a role."
On Friday night, the queen hosted a glittering reception for 850 people at Buckingham Palace that saw Charles and his mother in a rare exchange of public affection.
He called her "Mummy"--to thunderous applause captured by television cameras. She dropped the protocol and called him "Charles" in a birthday toast praising his "diligence, compassion and leadership."