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What King Charles’ birthday celebrations tell us about his priorities

Britain’s sovereign didn’t celebrate his 75th birthday with an extravagant soiree or an over-the-top display of pageantry on Tuesday. Instead, he followed his mother’s tradition of marking the occasion in a low-key fashion and threw himself into his work.

In doing so, the King’s messaging was clear: His primary focus is on public service. This theme is something King Charles III adopted from the earliest moments of his reign.

The centerpiece of the monarch’s birthday plans this week was kicking off his new Coronation Food Project, an initiative he was inspired to launch with the dual purpose of tackling both food poverty and waste.

The program aims to create distribution hubs to take excess food and supply it wherever it’s needed amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

To mark his special occasion, Charles’ engagements on his birthday included a tour of a surplus food distribution center outside London. Accompanied by his wife, Queen Camilla, he wanted to see how food waste can be used for social good.

Charles had revealed more about the new campaign in the latest edition of Big Issue, a magazine that helps the homeless, published Monday, which also saw the monarch become its newest cover star.

“Food need is as real and urgent a problem as food waste – and if a way could be found to bridge the gap between them, then it would address two problems in one,” the King wrote in the publication.

“It is my great hope that this Coronation Food Project will find practical ways to do just that – rescuing more surplus food, and distributing it to those who need it most.”

As is tradition on the monarch’s actual birthday, ceremonial gun salutes sounded across the country, including at the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle.

After visiting the food distribution center, where he was also treated to a surprise rendition of “Happy Birthday,” Charles hosted a reception for nurses and midwives at Buckingham Palace in honor of the National Health Service, which is also 75 this year.

He rounded out the day with a private dinner with family at Clarence House. While Prince Harry was not there, we understand he was expected to call his father from California for his big day.

On Monday, King Charles shared his celebrations with others who were also turning 75. A couple of his properties hosted afternoons of live music and tea parties, with the monarch stopping by his home in Highgrove, Gloucestershire, to join the fun.

Another signal of the King’s birthday theme of public service came from a change you may have missed this past week. It was recently revealed that three of the charitable organizations he established while Prince of Wales are being rebranded. The Prince’s Trust is becoming the King’s Trust. Likewise, the Prince’s Foundation will be the King’s Foundation. Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund will be known as the King Charles III Charitable Fund going forward.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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