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At Vanity Fair, James Reginato hops on the royal plane and trails the Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, through a series of public appearances to get a sense of the man who will eventually become the king of England. Reginato looks at Charles’ commitment to charitable causes and how his reputation was repaired after being cast as baddy extraordinaire post-split with Princess Diana.

At a food market in Lyon, an urgent, almost alarming cry—“Your Highness! Please!”—stops the Prince in his tracks, resulting in a pileup of trailing entourage. A butcher in a white apron is desperate for him to sample his sausages.

“Qu’est-ce que c’est?” Charles inquires, and is quickly passed a bit of saucisson. A hush descends; the butcher is on tenterhooks before the royal opinion is issued: “Excellent! Incroyable!” says the future King. The butcher’s face registers ecstasy. Charles beckons the Duchess from the cheese aisle. “Try this, darling,” he coos, as onlookers smile and photographers click.

Charles puts a lot of elbow grease into connecting the dots. He adheres to a strict schedule: He’s at his desk at 8:30 A.M. and spends two hours on correspondence. Then it’s steady meetings until breaking for tea at five—he doesn’t eat lunch—followed by a walk. After dinner, he generally goes back to his study to write letters or read for a couple hours.

In years past, many of those letters might have been to harangue politicians or editors, venting his opinions or dispensing advice on his pet issues.

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