Prince Charles has day off from shaking hands before birthday

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Prince Charles had a day off from shaking hands and smiling Friday as he flew from Sydney to Perth where he will celebrate his 67th birthday at the weekend.

He also had a day off from what appeared to be pats on his royal bottom, much against royal protocol.

The Prince was being escorted around a Sydney function earlier this week by the head of the Prince’s Charities Australia, Janine Kirk, when she was caught by a press photographer seemingly sliding her hand on to the regal posterior to guide the prince to meet guests.

A mortified Kirk later denied she had actually touched the royal seat, saying questions about her wayward hand were “rather silly”.

But the Daily Telegraph tabloid reporter Matthew Benns could not resist the cheeky headline “His Royal Hindness.”

It brought back memories of British outrage in 1992 when then prime minister Paul Keating touched the Queen on the back, prompting British press to call him the “Lizard of Oz.”

On Friday, after he arrived in 35-degree heat in Perth Charles was caught by TV cameras lounging around the swimming pool of Government House in swimming trunks with a long cool drink.

But he will have a busy day on his birthday Saturday. The highlight will be an evening beach birthday barbecue at Perth, the site of a 1979 kiss on the cheek from an Australian bikini model Jane Priest who rushed up to then 30-year-old unmarried Charles as he emerged from the surf.

It later emerged the bikini girl and the kiss were arranged by palace staff who were anxious to improve the image of the stuffy prince.

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