Charles Turning 60; Will He Ever Be King?

This is a big weekend for Prince Charles.

He turns 60 Friday, and the celebrations are going to last for a few days.

And, CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported from London on The Early Show Thursday, the question everyone continues to ask is -- will Charles ever be king?

Charles is, Palmer says, "the man who would be king -- if his 82 year old mother, Queen Elizabeth, wasn't quite so robustly healthy."

In a rare public statement Wednesday, the queen made it clear she does expect Charles to take over one day, saying, "For Prince Phillip and me, there can be no greater pleasure or comfort than to know that into his care are safely entrusted the guiding principles of public service and duty to others."

Charles was five-years-old in 1953 when he watched, from Buckingham Palace, his mother's coronation parade -- which means he's been heir-in-waiting for 55 years.

In that time, in spite of the scandal, then tragedy, of his marriage to Diana, he's dedicated himself to their sons, William and Harry, to charity work, and a few pet causes, such as organic farming.

In the BBC documentary, "Charles at 60," he says, "I always try and keep out of all the party politics and all that sort of thing. Obviously, you know, you skirt around edges see where you can help and push things here and there and do whatever one can."

So, observes Palmer, at an age when most CEOs are thinking of retirement, the Prince of Wales is still waiting to take over the top job.

And he may have a long wait, still.

Queen Elizabeth's mother, Queen Mother Elizabeth, died in 2002 at the age of 101.

"She's never going to give up!" remarked TV star Joan Collins on The Early Show Wednesday. Collins, who is British, said, "Her mother lived to be 100! (actually -- 101 -- see above!). If she lives to be 100, Charles would be 80 himself, and I don't think the British people want a king of 80! And they love the boys (Princes William and Harry), and would probably love to have them on the throne."