Prince Charles, about to become a grandfather any day now, added to his cuddly credentials when he and his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, met Doctor Who and some Daleks at the long-running British sci-fi series’ set in Wales.
The images were irresistible: The Prince of Wales, the next king, and his wife, the next queen consort, grinning and posing next to a couple of Daleks, the mutant-cyborg creatures shaped like upside-down garbage cans that are among the many wacky foes of Doctor Who, celebrating its 50th anniversary at the show’s studio in Cardiff, Wales.
It was another engagement in Charles’ continuing campaign to improve his image and persuade the British that he’s not the old, boring, stuffy stiff they think he is.
He and his second wife suffer in comparison to his son Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate of Cambridge, who are about to welcome a new baby, Charles’ first grandchild and a future monarch, at any moment.
Ever since the royal wedding in 2011, the British have been treated to unexpected scenes of their future king trying his hand at delivering a weather report on Scottish TV or cuddling cute critters (baby koalas and kangaroos) on a trip to Australia.
Last year, during Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Charles appeared in an affecting TV documentary showcasing the little-seen home movies of him, his sister and his parents from the early 1950s.
Now, he’s hanging out with Matt Smith, the current (and 11th) Doctor Who, brandishing the doctor’s “sonic screwdriver,” and posing next to the Tardis the time-machine spaceship, in the form of an old-fashioned British police phone box, that the doc uses in his travels through the universe. Smith was slightly gob-smacked by meeting the royals.
“Showing them how to fly the Tardis was a real treat and something I never thought I would be doing when I first took on the role,” he said in a statement.
“The Prince of Wales said he remembers watching the show when he was 15 and seemed very knowledgeable on the Who history, so it’s nice to think they are watching.”