Speculation reigned in Great Britain this weekend after Prince Charles spoke of his "impatience" at an event to promote his 64th birthday at Dumfries House, a once-stately residence that the royal has worked to rehabilitate and save for his country.
"Impatient? Me? What a thing to suggest! Yes, of course I am," joked the Prince who passed his great-great grandfather Edward VII as the longest-waiting heir in his nation's history. "I'll run out of time soon. I shall have snuffed it if I'm not careful."
His mother, Queen Elizabeth, has served her country for 60 years and remains in good health at 86. Her own mother lived in be 101 in a genetic predisposition for longevity that could see Prince Charles cooling his heels for years longer as his sons, Princes William and Harry, grab the spotlight.
Although the Prince made his remarks as he was commenting at the Dumfries House gathering, royal observers say while he has praised his mother's longevity, it isn't the first time the prince has quipped about ascending the throne while he's still youthful.
British newspapers, in reporting his Dumfries House comments, noted that in 1992, when Prince Charles attended a funeral for his then father-in-law Earl Spencer, he confided to his brother-in-law Charles Spencer: "You are fortunate enough to have succeeded to the title when still young."