18 JULY 2007

Doting husband Prince Charles made sure his wife had a memorable 60th birthday, despite the less than ideal weather conditions. On an official visit to a Wiltshire village, he conducted locals in a rendition of Happy Birthday and then lit six candles on a cake baked for the Duchess of Cornwall by members of the Women's Institute.

On effervescent form throughout the day, Camilla clearly enjoyed every minute of the rainy celebration in Bromham. Just before cutting into the icing she playfully brandished a knife at Charles in mock threat. Later she collected armfuls of flowers and cards from well-wishers.

Her real party will take place this Saturday when Prince Charles throws opens the doors of his country home Highgrove to 200 guests. Celebrities such as Joan Rivers, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry have been invited to the black-tie, candle-lit event. As has Kate Middleton, who will be William's date, should she make it back in time from the Caribbean where she's currently holidaying with friends.

One notable absentee as the diners dance on the lawn will be the Queen. "It's just not a party on that scale," said a Clarence House spokesman.

As the Prince prepares to receive their guests, however, he will be basking in the knowledge that public support for his wife continues to increase. A poll found that 61 percent of Britons were in favour of the Duchess' role as consort if and when Charles ascends to the throne. Meanwhile backing for her to use the title of Queen had risen four fold.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
A happy, fun-filled Duchess of Cornwall prepares to blow out candles on her cake during an official engagement in a Wiltshire villagePhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Camilla later tried her hand at bowling - with some rather wayward results, which she took in good spiritsPhoto: © Getty Images