Prince Charles Meets a Bird, Reacts in Sheer Terror

Are these the best photos of the year, or of all time?

The calm before the storm.  (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The calm before the storm. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The British royal family is expected to show grace and elegance in all situations—to glide from one quaint ceremony to the next, all the while maintaining polite smiles and perfectly shiny hair. Generally, they live up to the task.

Except, it seems, when confronted with large birds.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, probably thought they were in for a charming, peaceful day when they arrived at the Sandringham Flower Show on July 29. That is, until they met Zephyr, the mascot of the Army Air Corps.

Zephyr, you see, is a bald eagle. And being an eagle, Zephyr has wings. That flap. This was not something Prince Charles—rumored to have never even squeezed his own toothpaste onto a toothbrush—was prepared for. We could attempt to describe the look of sheer terror that crossed his usually-regal-looking visage, but perhaps we should just let the photos do the talking.

At first, Prince Charles seemed interested in meeting Zephyr. Observe him excitedly pointing at the bird:

At first, Prince Charles seems interested. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

At first, Prince Charles seems interested. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

But then the flapping began.

The greatest photograph of the year. Or perhaps in all of history.  (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The greatest photograph of the year. Or perhaps in all of history. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Charles practically did a back bend to avoid Zephyr’s flapping. The Duchess of Cornwall, meanwhile, looked displeased.

Practically doing a back bend to avoid the flapping bird.  (Photo: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Practically doing a back bend to avoid the flapping bird. (Photo: Richard Pohle – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Prince Charles, it seems, simply could not get his fears under control.

Still terrified.  (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Still terrified. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

But hey, at least he had a sense of humor about it:

"Please let me stop posing with this bird now"  (Photo: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

“Please let me stop posing with this bird now” (Photo: Richard Pohle – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Prince Charles Meets a Bird, Reacts in Sheer Terror