The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have wrapped up the first leg of their official visit to the Gulf States and moved on from the Sultanate of Oman to the United Arab Emirates, where they undertook a wide variety of engagements.
They began their visit in Abu Dhabi by attending an event at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to promote religious tolerance. The event was hosted by the United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Tolerance, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi.
The event was attended by members of various faith communities resident in the United Arab Emirates. Their Royal Highnesses had already visited the mosque during a previous visit in February 2007, prior to its completion. This visit provided them with a chance to see the finished mosque and meet guests from different faiths.
The couple’s trip to the UAE also included a visit by the Prince of Wales to Bu Tinah archipelago, a UNESCO recognised site approximately 150 kilometres from the city of Abu Dhabi. It is a protected sanctuary home to endangered species such as the dugong and hawksbill turtle.
While the Prince was able to see the island’s rare fauna during a buggy tour of the island and a boat tour of the surrounding waters, the Duchess of Cornwall was given a tour of Abu Dhabi’s falcon hospital. Falconry is a hugely important part of UAE and Bedouin culture, and it is estimated that around 6,000 to 8,000 are owned in the region.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s programme also included a visit to the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, which is the first licensed non-profit shelter in the UAE for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. Since 2009, the Duchess has worked to raise awareness of the issues facing those affected by sexual violence and domestic abuse.
There was also time for a glittering evening event, in the form of a reception at the historic Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain to launch the UK-UAE Year of Culture 2017, of which the Prince is patron. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall watched traditional folk dance performances and met a number of Emirati and UK delegates upon arrival. After a musical performance by by students from the Centre for Musical Arts along with a duo from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the guests sat down to a traditional dinner featuring local specialities such as spiced lamb, chicken and rice.
Then this morning it was business as usual for the couple, who are visiting Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, to view its work as a hub for international aid. Princess Haya bint al Hussein, the junior wife of the UAE’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, accompanies them.
After completing their visit to the Humanitarian City, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will travel to Bahrain later today, to start the last stage of their tour.
Their Royal Highnesses’s visit to Bahrain will mark the 200th anniversary of the first agreement between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom, which established formal relations between both countries and has led to enduring diplomatic, political, military and economic ties.
The visit will last until Friday 11th November. Their Royal Highnesses are expected to undertake more than 50 official engagements over the course of their week-long tour.