Prince Charles reveals he woke wife Camilla with an orchestra on her birthday

Peinc Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Sandringham Flower Show Picture: Ian Burt

Peinc Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Sandringham Flower Show Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Prince Charles has revealed he secretly organised an orchestra to wake his wife on her 60th birthday with a performance of music by Wagner.

Camilla, now 71, was treated to the sight of the Philharmonia orchestra playing Wagner's Siegfried Idyll when she woke up on her birthday - July 17, 2007.

The heir to the throne confessed to the romantic gesture when he was interviewed on the BBC Radio 3 programme Private Passions and said: 'Music plays a very important part in my life.'

Wagner composed the piece as a birthday present to his wife Cosima and it was played on the morning of her birthday, by a small group of players directed by the composer, to wake her.

The prince, who is the Philharmonia's patron, said he was encouraged to stage the event by Christopher Warren-Green the orchestra's lead violin player.

Charles said: 'He was terribly keen to do this as a birthday present, my birthday present and theirs as well, to my wife on her 60th birthday as a surprise.

'And then he was terribly keen I should conduct it, I said 'you must be out of your mind' we did it as a special surprise.'

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Mr Warren-Green has a long musical association with the Royal Family having conducted musicians who played during the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and at a service celebrating the marriage of Charles and Camilla.

Speaking about his creative pursuits of music and painting, the prince went on to say: 'It's very important to have, as it were, another world to go through a door in to. Certainly with my painting, I find that and the marvellous thing is to paint and have music as well at the same time.'

He said about working on his watercolours: 'It so requires concentration that before you know where you are, it has become almost meditative in an extraordinary way.'

During the radio broadcast the prince described his early childhood experiences of attending ballet and concerts with his grandmother, the Queen Mother, and learning to play the trumpet and cello.

Private Passions with Michael Berkeley in conversation with the prince will be broadcast on BBC Sounds from Boxing Day and on BBC Radio 3 on December 30 at 12-noon.

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