Charles and Camilla to begin Middle East tour


The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will begin their official tour of the Middle East on behalf of the British Government.

Charles and Camilla will undertake 50 engagements in seven days during their visits to the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Their visit, at the request of the British Government, is to promote the UK's partnership in the region in areas including wildlife conservation and supporting women in leadership.

Charles was greeted by a guard of honour when he arrived at Muscat International Airport at 9.15pm local time on Friday. His wife had arrived privately earlier.

On Saturday, Charles and Camilla will begin the tour as guests of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.

Their day will begin with a cultural welcome at the Ceremonial Boulevard in Muscat, where folkloric dancing will be performed to mark the start of their visit.

The ceremony will consist of two dances from different regions of Oman.

Charles and Camilla will then meet the dancers briefly.

Following their welcome, Charles will tour Muscat's new National Museum, which showcases the history of the nation from its first human settlement two million years ago through to the present day.

He will view demonstrations of traditional handicraft-making at the museum, which opened in July, before being guided through the galleries.

These include the splendours of Islam, Oman and the world, with items such as three Royal Rasulid tombstones on long-term loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The museum houses more than 5,500 objects and offers 43 digital immersive experiences for visitors.

Camilla will visit the Oman Cancer Association's Dar Al Hanan Hostel to meet children and parents before attending a reception with supporters and sponsors.

The association, which became active in 2002, was established by Yuthar Al Rawai, a prominent Omani woman and four-times cancer survivor.

The hostel, with capacity for 16 families, serves children from Oman and other countries such as Yemen, as well as providing access to both the Royal Hospital and the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital.

Camilla will also attend a reception for Women in Business to recognise Omani women who have succeeded in business or the public sector and become role models to others in the country.

Charles is due to travel to the Ras Al Shajar nature reserve to view wild animals, birds and other creatures, taking in gazelles and wild desert beehives.

The sanctuary, famous for its biodiversity, animals, plants and geological elements, is one of the longest-established protected areas.

It is home to many rare mammals, including the Arabian gazelle, which lives in the coastal part of the sanctuary.

A wide range of wild plants, some of which are used by local villagers for medicinal purposes, grow there.

Charles and Camilla will then attend an official dinner with His Majesty The Sultan.