10/25/2013 12:30 EDT | Updated 12/25/2013 05:12 EST

Prince Charles not 'itching' to be king, Time profile alleges

Prince Charles is in no hurry to replace his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as the reigning monarch of the British Commonwealth, choosing instead to focus on his charitable works and "improving things" for future generations, according to a new profile in Time magazine.

"I found a man not, as caricatured, itching to ascend the throne, but impatient to get as much done as possible before, in the words of one member of his household, 'the prison shades' close," writes Time editor at large Catherine Mayer in an essay accompanying the profile.

Mayer said she conducted more than 50 interviews with Prince Charles and members of his inner circle, as well as some of his critics. She found that the heir to the throne, who will turn 65 next month, identifies strongly as a philanthropist and is in no hurry to succeed his 87-year-old mother even as he is forced to take on more and more of her duties as the Queen scales back her engagements.

"I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can," Charles told Mayer. 

Charles doesn't hold back on environment

The Prince of Wales has spread his philanthropic interests across a network of charities and causes, including his Prince's Trust, which helps young people in the U.K. find jobs, but he has been especially outspoken on climate change and environmental issues and in the profile does not mince words in describing his position on these subjects.

"We’re busily wrecking the chances for future generations at a rapid rate of knots by not recognizing the damage we’re doing to the natural environment, bearing in mind that this is the only planet that we know has any life on it," he says in the profile.

Mayer met with Charles at several royal residences in England, Scotland and Wales, including on family occasions. One such meeting included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Charles's new grandson, George, the third in line to the throne. On that occasion, Charles stressed that the motivation behind his social engagement and charitable work boils down to his grandson and what kind of future he will have.

"It’s everybody else’s grandchildren I’ve been bothering about, but the trouble is if you take that long a view, people don’t always know what you’re on about,” he said.