Prince Charles dresses up as Colombian cowboy

The Prince of Wales and Camilla on four day tour of Colombia

Updated: 
Prince Charles dresses up as cowboy

The Prince of Wales looked donned a sombrero on a recent trip to Colombia..

Charles could not resist the invitation to put on a Vueltiao - a black and white hat made from woven palm leaves and worn by peasants and cattle ranchers from the coast.

And he was also taken by women from the city of Cartagena on Colombia's Caribbean coastline who wore colourful dresses. Words: PA

The prince and Duchess of Cornwall came across the well-known characters when they toured an organic and urban sustainability fair showcasing produce, goods and environmentally friendly projects from across Colombia.

The event was staged at the Bogota residence of the British ambassador, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, who joined the royal couple as they walked around the stands.

Known as Palenqueras, after a district in their home city, the women carried on their heads large metal bowls used to transport their goods to market.

Prince Charles dresses up as cowboy

The street sellers normally carry fruit in the bowls or traditional sweets they make themselves from coconuts.

When the prince and duchess briefly posed for a picture with the women, Charles could not resist standing on the tips of his toes to try to get a glimpse into one of the bowls.

The heir to the throne, who earlier received a ceremonial welcome to Colombia with his wife as their four-day tour began in earnest, joked with media saying: "I'm not putting one of those on my head."

The not-for-profit organisation Propais, which works to boost small and medium businesses in Colombia, staged the fair at the ambassador's residence, bringing produce, people and sustainable ideas from the country's Pacific, Andean, Amazon and Caribbean regions.

The royal couple tried Colombian varieties of organic chocolate, chatted to producers of ice cream made with exotic flavours and learnt about projects to help growing cities develop sustainably.

In the Caribbean section they chatted to Lizeth Gonzalez, from Propais, who encouraged Charles to put on the traditional sombrero.

She said: "I told him about the hat and said you have to try it on and he was very happy to do so."

Speaking about the women from the city of Cartagena, Ms Gonzalez added: "They make the sweets called cocadas in the morning and sell it in the city, we gave Prince Charles some of them."

Prince Charles dresses up as cowboy

The fair also featured a large area devoted to the wool trade - from sheep grazing in a pen to spinners, weavers and models wearing clothes made from the fabric.

In a speech to invited guests, Charles - who founded his Duchy Originals range of organic products more than 20 years ago - congratulated the producers whose goods were on show for their
"determination and vision" in championing sustainable methods of production.

He joked how his wife "might have a certain amount of sympathy with the ambassador's wife when it comes to the practicalities of sheep grazing in her garden".

The prince added: "I have also been greatly interested to learn something of Colombia's ambitions to create sustainable cities for the future. And I hope you will forgive me if I take this opportunity to encourage you, if I may, to take a holistic approach to this challenge."

Earlier, Colombia staged a welcome full of military pomp and pageantry for the prince and duchess.

After the ceremonial greeting in the forecourt of the presidential palace the heir to the throne and Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, held talks.

Prince Charles Camilla

Gifts were exchanged, with Colombia's head of state and his wife Maria giving Charles a walking stick topped with a silver dove - a symbol of peace used by Mr Santos in his presidential campaign - while Camilla received gold earrings with emeralds in the centre.

The prince and his wife gave Mr Santos, who has learnt to play the bagpipes, a book on bagpipe music and a set of six Highgrove florilegium plates, while the first lady was given a blue and silver
enamelled box featuring the duchess' cypher.

After being presented with a snakeskin clutch bag yesterday by Bogota based luxury goods designer Mario Hernandez, Camilla received two more - made from woven plantain fibres.

Camilla and Prince Charles

Magly Palacios, a teacher who works at Bogota's School of Arts, gave the gifts to the duchess as she toured the school, which provides training in arts and crafts from wood and metal engraving to needlework and silversmithing.

Camilla arrived with her gift and as she left was given another clutch bag by Ms Palacios.

Speaking through an interpreter she said: "It took me about a week to make the second bag, about 30 hours' work.

"I used plantain fibres for both bags and one of them featured polished cow horn."

While Camilla visited the arts school Charles toured a vocational skills school for disadvantaged students also in Bogota.

Touring the inspirational college he was introduced to students making everything from wind instruments to robots.

Watching a class who were handcrafting violins, he asked the teacher: 'You still teach music in schools properly?"

He also admired a lattice-work wooden bowl that the students had presented as a gift and said: "It's remarkable what goes on in this place."

Charles is known to like spicy food and joked about the hotness of a dish of quinoa and sweet potato made in a class, saying with a laugh: "At least it didn't blow my head off."

Later he smiled broadly as a robot delivered him a hand-written note thanking him for his interest and then laughed as he tried to take a ball from it, only for the robot to shy away each time.

Prince Charles
Before a banquet was staged in the royal couple's honour Charles made a solo visit to Gimnasio Moderno School to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the British Council in Colombia.

During a thunderous downpour the prince watched young women playing rugby to highlight the launch of the British Council's Try Rugby initiative in Colombia which will encourage youngsters to take up the activity as an alternative to joining gangs.

Charles chatted to some of the young players - from schools and clubs in Bogota and across the country - and told them how as a 17-year-old he had broken his nose playing rugby at his school Gordonstoun.

Prince Charles

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