TODAY   |  November 26, 2012

Prince Charles ‘impatient’ about life goals

In an outburst of frustration, Prince Charles, 64, spoke of feeling “impatient” as he works to restore a stately home, Dumphries House, saying, “I’ll run out of time soon, I shall have snuffed it if I’m not careful,” but the British papers have taken his words as a read on his long wait for the throne. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> the british tabloids are reading a lot into some recent comments from him. keir, good morning to you.

>> reporter: hey, savannah, good morning. you know, prince charles is now in his mid-60s, a time when many people's thoughts turn to what they want to do next. what he was saying in these comments is he wants to finish restoring one of his stately homes , but some think it is a reference by the future king to when he might get to move into this home. prince charles has seen his eldest son married and watched his mother celebrate 60 years on the throne. yet still he waits for the day when he will be king.

>> reporter: in british history no heir apparent has had to wait so long. now at 64, in an outburst of frustration, he has betrayed a hint of mortality.

>> impatient, me? what a thing to suggest. yes, of course, i am. i'll run out of time, soon.

>> reporter: i'll have snuffed it if i'm not careful.

>> reporter: even though he was officially talking about work to restore a stately home , humphries house. charles is famously one of the hardest working royals, running charities and speaking out on issues he cares about, like global warming .

>> if we do not create a big shift in our thinking and approach, humanity and the earth will soon begin to suffer some very grim consequences.

>> reporter: but he worries that the clock is ticking for him, too. his mood made worse perhaps by a recent poll that found prince charles less popular even than his new daughter-in-law. the same survey discovering the british like charles a lot less than the queen and even his son who is also waiting to be king.

>> perhaps camilla and charles are in the sandwich generation of royals. okay, they are respected but between the queen and william and kate don't get much of a lookp doesn't matter what the public thinks. charles will be king one day.

>> reporter: charles represents his mom. on a tour of australia last month, a successful trip, the crowd not as excited for william and kate. later in new zealand he spent his birthday on the set of the new movie "the hobbit. ".

>> the on this special day, your birthday, i offer myself at the request of sir peter jackson for you to come on as you see fit.

>> reporter: one day prince charles will be in command of an entire nation. but he may still be a few birthdays short of becoming king. royal experts say the queen will never give up the throne, not before she dies. she sees it at her duty. and, of course, savannah, the queen is still a young 86. her mother, the queen mother, lived to 100 which by my math prince charles may have to wait until he's 79.

>> what do they say, long live the king?

>> or in the words of the hobbit --

>> being a royal might stink sometimes. you can't talk about the hard life you've got going there.

>> pardon me while i take my crown off and talk about how rough it is.

>> you can't refinish your castle without reading into your remarks.

>> if he was truly talking about the house.

>> the flowy shirts and the pregnancy.

>> if that's the worst thing that happens to you in a day, still doing good.

>> a little bit of a