Charles and Camilla to make official trip to the Middle East


The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will make an official trip to the Middle East this autumn on behalf of the Government, Clarence House has announced.

Charles and Camilla will travel to Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November.

Bahrain's government, dominated by members of its royal family, has in the past been accused by campaigning groups of human rights abuses since pro-democracy protesters were violently suppressed during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Clarence House said in a statement: "On behalf of the British Government, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will undertake official visits to the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November 2016.

"The tour will help to strengthen the United Kingdom's warm bilateral relations with key partners in the region."

The British Government's relationship with Bahrain was criticised in a report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee published in April.

MPs said there was ''plainly a perception'' that the issue of human rights had been downgraded in the Government's dealings with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.

The then foreign secretary Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond defended his department, saying: "Improving human rights is a core function of the Foreign Office and is the responsibility of every British diplomat around the world."