All work and no play makes for a very dull prince, so it was refreshing to see a well-toned Prince Charles throwing down his towel and plunging into the sea in Barbados, clad only in a pair of very on-trend floral board shorts.
The long-lens paparazzi pictures, published in British tabloids Tuesday, are believed to have been taken on Monday.
Charles is in Barbados with Camilla as part of a tour of the Caribbean, which, up until now, had failed to capture the public imagination.
His dip in the sea today looks likely to change all that, as commentators rushed to pass judgment on his shape.
And the verdict was, in summary: hubba hubba.
Pictures showing the royals relaxing and having fun are, of course, by their very nature only occasional treats for royal fans, but pictures of them in their togs on the beach are as rare as hen’s teeth. For that reason, these photos look set to go down in the annals of royal photography alongside images of Charles swimming at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Australia, in April 1983, and taking a dip in in Bondi, Australia in 1984.
As far back as 1973, Charles was pictured surfing off the distinctly chillier Welsh coast.
Charles is believed to be one of the first people to have surfed in the UK, having learned the sport in Australia, and five years later he became president of the British Surf Association.
Commentators today were quick to observe that Charles’s health conscious habits had earned him a remarkably better toned physique than your average super-pampered 70-year-old enjoys. He is said to eat modestly, favoring a diet rich in plant based foods and is known to carry seeds in his pockets to snack on.
Perhaps the only slightly off note aesthetically was an abundance of wayward hair on the shoulders which danced lightly on the Caribbean breeze; but it is worth noting that this is nothing that a quick bit of manscaping wouldn’t solve.
During their tour, Charles and Camilla will also visit St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and the Cayman Islands.
The palace declined to identify the designer of the trunks; however, the fashion editor of the Daily Mirror swiftly claimed to have the answer, saying they were by French label Vilebrequin.