Prince Charles, who will be accompanied by wife Camilla, is making his 16th visit to .When Prince Charles sets foot on n soil for the 16th time next week he’ll equal the number of visits made by his mother, the Queen.
And while mother and son have travelled the nation far and wide on previous official visits, this time around the longest-serving heir to the throne will confine his seven-day trip to Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Accompanied by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, who is making her third trip Down Under, the 69-year-old prince might be relieved by the change of scenery.
Back in England he’s again at the centre of media controversy thanks to a new unauthorised biography.
In Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles, author Tom Bowers describes a vain and out-of-touch heir who likes to change clothes five times a day and once took his own toilet seat and mattress to visit a friend.
The book, which Bowers says is based on interviews with more than 120 people, also claims Charles is obsessed with what the public thinks of him.
Recent opinion polls haven’t been glowing.
More than half of Britons want his son Prince William to become king after the Queen dies, compared to just 22 per cent who favour a King Charles III, an ICM poll for British tabloid The Sun found last August.
The result mirrored an n Women’s Weekly poll from 2016, when twice as many Aussies preferred William over his father as our next monarch.
Charles’s arrival in Brisbane on Wednesday will no doubt spark more talk about who should be our next head of state and whether should become a republic.
While Charles and the Queen have repeatedly stressed it’s up to ns to decide whether to follow the republic path, they have also emphasised their strong affection for .
Charles has often reminisced about the six months he spent in 1966 as a 17-year-old studying at Timbertop, a campus of the prestigious Geelong Grammar School in the Victorian Alps.
“My God it was good for the character! If you want to develop character, go to . As I say, I have huge affection for it,” he told an Day reception in London in 2011, while also joking about his memories of spiders, ants and snakes as well as being teased for being a “pommy bastard”.
Until he enrolled at Timbertop, the young prince had never been to .
When he arrived the public interest in the teenage prince was intense, with more than 300 reporters and photographers turning out to greet him.
Interest remained strong during the bachelor prince’s five visits during the 1970s.
But it was his three official tours in the 1980s with his enormously popular first wife, Princess Diana, that attracted the biggest crowds.
However since the royal marriage crumbled in 1992, Charles has returned just four times.
And each time, debate reignites about who ‘s head of state should be.
If Charles does ascend to the throne, ns are likely to experience a very different style of monarchy.
Charles’ biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, to whom the prince famously admitted in 1994 that he’d been unfaithful to Diana with Camilla, has said that when Charles becomes king he will break with the Queen’s long-standing tradition of staying silent on important issues.
ns are likely to get a reminder of Charles’ fondness for speaking out about issues dear to his heart when he visits the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree rain forest this week.
In a speech to the Our Ocean summit in Malta last October, he warned that the irreversible damage to the world-famous reef should act as a “serious wake-up call”.
Whether his outspokenness is enough to convince ns to retain the monarchy remains to be seen.
Philip Benwell, chair of the n Monarchist League, hopes it is.
“Even though he will be 70 this year he is still working tremendously hard to help people,” he said.
“Most people don’t see him as a caring person because they don’t see that side of him or know about the charitable work he does because it’s not publicised that much, particularly in .
“But he is a person who is well suited to take over the role of monarch.”
The n Republican Movement’s chief executive Michael Cooney, however, believes that for many ns Prince Charles remains a remote figure who should outline why he wants to be our next head of state.
“If you were watching Prince Charles on Countdown in 1977, that’s great but seriously how many thousands of people have immigrated to in the last 40 years,” Mr Cooney said.
“I think there’s a lot of ns who know very little about who is their next head of state.”