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Birthday messages for Charles ahead of black-tie party at palace

By Laura Elston and Tony Jones, Press Association

Congratulations from around the world have been sent to the Prince of Wales as he celebrates his 70th birthday.

The Welsh Guards at home and abroad recorded special video messages for their Colonel from troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Chile and Canada, as well as in the UK.

The Royal Family also wished the nation's longest serving heir to throne "a very Happy 70th Birthday" via Twitter, accompanied by a montage of photos of the prince through the years.

Gun salutes will be fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in London's Green Park, while the bells of Westminster Abbey will ring out in honour of the prince.

Charles is spending his birthday working, holding meetings before he and the Duchess of Cornwall have tea with a group of inspirational people who also celebrate their 70th birthday this year.

In the evening, the Queen will throw a Buckingham Palace birthday bash for her eldest son and heir.

European royals and Charles's closest friends and family are expected to gather at the glittering black-tie party in the monarch's London residence.

Charles was surrounded by his nearest and dearest in the official images marking his milestone birthday.

In two photos released by Clarence House, the prince was pictured sat on a bench with his grandson Prince George, wife Camilla and granddaughter Princess Charlotte.

Stood behind the prince and his wife were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Kate holding Prince Louis, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The photographs are rare images of the prince with his three grandchildren, which will increase to four when Meghan gives birth next year.

Charles is beginning his eighth decade from a position of confidence, with his charitable work in full swing, his sons forging their own public lives and Camilla by his side providing support.

The photo shoot was staged in the garden of Clarence House in September, and appears to show a "before and after" of the moment the photographer said "smile for the camera".

In one image, the royals are looking straight ahead and smiling, while in the second Meghan is bending over as she laughs, Camilla has put her arm on three-year-old Charlotte's shoulder and is pointing at something, while George has a fit of the giggles.

Baby Louis, who is six months old, looks happy and content in the photos and has almost grown a full head of hair, while his big brother, five-year-old George, dangles his long legs either side of his grandfather's knee.

The pictures were taken by Getty photographer Chris Jackson.

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