The ‘Bachelor’ 51 years ago? Prince Charles, believe it or not

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Who is the greatest bachelor of modern times? Some may turn to stars of the reality hit show The Bachelor to answer that question. But if you’re looking for the suitable single that had real panache, you can say bye-bye to Ben and adieu to Arie. Ciao, Colton. Nighty-night, Nick. And, it’s adios to Andrew, Aaron, Alex and a list of other somewhat forgettable bachelors from the show, too.

Instead, give a big hello to Charles. That’s Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor AKA the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. Half a century ago, Prince Charles was thought to be the most eligible bachelor in the world. He was praised for his charm and style everywhere he went. The fact he was going to be king some day helped, too.

A Calgary Herald story in 1970 reported on a trip Charles made to Japan for Expo ’70, during which he drew rave reviews from swooning female fans at a party he threw at a Japanese government guest house. “He’s considerate and well educated,” said Leslie Linshen Chang, a 24-year-old guide at the Chinese pavilion. “He’s also very good looking.”  Added Annette Toupard, a 23-year-old guide in the American pavilion, “He’s also very sociable and knows how to break off a conversation with one group politely and join another.”

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From the Calgary Herald on April 13, 1970:

Later that year in 1970, Prince Charles undertook his first official tour of Canada. He visited Ottawa before joining the Queen and other members of the royal family in Manitoba, celebrating that province’s centennial anniversary of joining Confederation. When Charles arrived at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa for a tour, a crowd of 500 people was waiting to see him — mostly women.

Prince Charles also created a stir when he and his sister, Princess Anne, visited the United States later that month. The two were invited for an informal visit with the children of then-American-president Richard Nixon. Their activities included a clay pigeon shoot, swimming and a cookout with hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon and banana splits. Photographers loved catching shots of Charles beside Nixon’s daughter Tricia, speculating that romance could bloom between the two twentysomethings. Here’s a page 8 story from the Calgary Herald on July 17, 1970 about that visit.

Prince Charles remained a bachelor for a decade after these 1970 visits. He began dating Diana in 1980 and proposed to her on Feb. 3, 1981. Their marriage took place on July 29, 1981; they announced their separation in 1992 and divorced in 1996 one year before Diana’s death. Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005.

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