What do you buy the man who has everything? The answer, if plans for Prince Charles's 60th birthday celebrations are anything to go by, is a performance from Rod Stewart, conversations with the Kumars and dinner with Carla Bruni.
The Prince of Wales turns 60 at the end of this week and a week-long series of parties, beginning tonight with dinner with the French President and his wife and culminating in a lavish private party, organised by Charles's wife, Camilla, on Saturday night.
The party, which will be held at the couple's country estate, Highgrove, will be attended by hundreds of friends and family, including Charles's sons, Princes William and Harry, and their girlfriends Kate Middleton and Chelsy Davy.
Rod Stewart has agreed to waive his usual £1m fee to sing at the party. He is said to be planning on singing a number of hits including "You Wear It Well" and "Maggie May". It has been suggested that plans to perform "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" were cancelled after some thought it too raucous.
The 63-year-old star was chosen by Camilla, who is said to be a fan of the singer and apparently has albums of his on her iPod. Charles and Camilla attended a ball at which Stewart performed in Philadelphia last year.
The admiration is mutual. Stewart once said of the duchess of Cornwall: "She always looks glamorous to me."
Also performing at the Saturday night party are the comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, from the television comedy, The Kumars At Number 42. The pair are to present a one-off performance for the Prince and Camilla, of whom they are said to be friends.
The Saturday night celebration will follow a host of other events to mark Charles's birthday. He and Camilla travel to Paris today for a dinner this evening with Nicolas Sarkozy, France's President, and his glamorous wife Carla. The meal is to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
On Wednesday evening Charles and his wife will attend a comedy gala entitled We Are Most Amused at the New Wimbledon Theatre. The show, which will be aired on ITV, is being held in aid of The Prince's Trust and will feature performances from Rowan Atkinson and Robin Williams.
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But not all of the preparations have gone smoothly. An evening of orchestral music planned for Thursday night was thrown into chaos when the man chosen to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, quit.
Muti, known as the Maestro, refused to take any further part in the performance after reportedly growing tired of what he saw to be meddling by the Queen and Prince Charles in his musical programme. They are said to have felt his planned performance was too long and asked him to change it. But he refused and quit. he will be replaced by Christopher Warren-Green, the director of music at Charles and Camilla's wedding.
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