British royal Prince Charles is ready to retire from playing polo - as he is convinced he is too old to take the strain of the gruelling game.

The 56-year-old Prince, who has been obsessed with polo for 40 years, has been suffering increasingly with back problems which is affecting his enjoyment of the savage sport.

And Charles will also have the added advantage of having more time to spend with his beloved CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall.

He admitted to a pal last month (JUL05) after a particularly heavy game, "I really am getting a little old for all this."

A Royal source says, "The Prince is of a mind that this summer is his last playing polo.

"He has had a wonderful time playing but he knows it is a very competitive sport and the passage of time can take its toll.

"Advancing years mean his retirement is unavoidable."