Prince Charles says Queen is ‘all right’ but admits ‘it’s not easy once you get to 95’
Prince Charles reassured the public over the Queen’s health yesterday, saying: ‘She’s all right, thank you very much.’
The Prince of Wales was asked about his mother in Jordan, where he and Camilla are on the first leg of their Middle Eastern tour.
He replied, making reference to his birthday last Sunday: ‘Once you get to 95, it’s not quite as easy as it used to be. It’s bad enough at 73!’
The Queen was seen yesterday conducting her first in-person engagement for month following her recent health issues – and was almost upstaged by her dog.
She stood up to greet Sir Nick Carter, the outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, at Windsor Castle but was beaten to him by her inquisitive dorgi Candy, who trotted up to the door to say hello first.
‘Hello you!’ a smiling Sir Nick said to the corgi-dachshund cross. The Queen, who stood unaided, had held her previous face-to-face engagement on October 19 – a reception for tech and business leaders – the day before she spent a night in hospital having tests.
She has since been forced to cancel all official public engagements on her doctors’ advice and undertaken only light, desk-based duties. Although she has carried out a handful of audiences, they have been by video link or over the telephone.
She had hoped to attend the Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph but was forced to pull out at the last minute after spraining her back. Doctors felt it would be too painful for her to be driven from Windsor to London and stand for up to an hour on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office balcony.
In footage of yesterday’s meeting, the Queen appeared slightly frailer than usual, but otherwise in fine spirits.
Wearing a floral patterned dress and a pearl necklace, she warmly greeted Sir Nick as he relinquished his position.
‘Good morning,’ she said. ‘Well it’s rather sad…’ Sir Nick explained he had spent eight years as Chief of Defence Staff, the professional head of the armed forces. ‘It’s a long time,’ the Queen said. Sir Nick said: ‘Yes it is a long time. In fact the only person who has done longer, I am told, is Lord Mountbatten.’
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The Prince of Wales, 73 and the Duchess of Cornwall, 74, attended a Centenary Celebration of the founding of the Jordanian state at the Jordan Museum in Amman, on the second day of their tour of the Middle East this evening
For the second day of their visit to Jordan, Prince Charles opted for a stylish tan suit while the Duchess of Cornwall wore a floral dress
The monarch 95 – dressed in a green, orange and white floral dress and wearing a string of pearls – was pictured standing as she greeted to Gen Sir Nick in Windsor’s Oak Room
Today’s meeting was the first in-person audience the monarch has held since an investor summit at Windsor on October 19
Sir Nick walked into the room to be greeted by one of the Queen’s dorgis, before approaching the monarch for a chat
The heir-to-the-throne enjoyed another busy day in the Jordanian capital as he joked with local children at the Al Nuzha Community Centre earlier today
For their glamourous evening in Amman, Charles changed to a blue suit, a crisp white shirt and pale blue tie, while Camilla opted for a ethereal white outfit
The couple, pictured, made a striking pair as they arrived tonight. The Duchess of Cornwall accessorised with a gold clutch bag
Both the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall looked relaxed as they set to enjoy the evening after a day busy with engagements
The Duchess of Cornwall refreshed her bouncy blow-dry for her evening look and donned a dash of makeup to compliment her natural glow
Stylish Charles led the way as he and his wife made their way to the event. Camilla was sporting a white scarf which matched her outfit
The stylish couple arrived together tonight after a day busy with meeting local organisations and visiting historic landmarks on the second day of their visit
The Duchess of Cornwall mingled with guests during the evening, after Prince Charles gave a speech celebrating the centenary of the creation of the Jordanian state
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall took in their surroundings as they arrived at tonight’s glamourous function in Amman
The Prince and the Duchess were joined by British Ambassador to Jordan Bridget Brind and Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, right
The Duchess of Cornwall sported a glamourous makup with a nude lip and mascara to bring the focus to her blue gaze tonight, pictured
Prince Charles exchanged some words with Jordanian army officials in uniform at tonight’s function celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Jordanian state
The heir-to-the-throne and his wife made a stylish entrance tonight ahead of the celebrations, and were treated to a concert of traditional music
Prince Charles appeared in great spirits at this evening’s event. After the concert, guests applauded the performing musicians
The stylish Prince of Wales was wearing a light blue scarf with navy dots with a white shirt with a discreet square detail, pictured
Prince Charles gave a speech at the event, before meeting with the other guests attending and taking a look at the Rejuvenation and Modernisation of Extinct Arts and Crafts (RMEAC) pop-up art exhibition
Bridget Brind, dressed in white, left, listened on as Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall chatted with British Council Director in Jordan Summer Xia, right
Camilla made a stylish entrance tonight with an all-white look. The evening will culminate with the couple viewing the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit
The Duchess of Conrwall respectfully stood by as the Prince of Wales delivered his speech at the cultural event in Amman tonight
The Queen replied, in what some see as a metaphor for her own 69 years on the throne: ‘Oh really, oh. I suppose if you get into that job, you know, it’s easier to continue, isn’t it, really?’
Sir Nick said: ‘Yes, that’s right, although I have to say I think the time comes when it’s ready to move on and do other things.’
The room in which the audience was conducted was crammed with family photographs, mementoes, paintings and china. One of the most eye-catching items was a large model guardsman by the door, holding out a tray on which to put drinks, keys or other belongings on.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen undertook a second engagement yesterday, an audience via video with the commanding officers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Charles and Camilla, meanwhile, toured one of Jordan’s most historic archaeological sites, Umm Qais, the site of the ancient city of Gadara. It is said to be where Jesus performed one of his seven miracles – freeing a man ‘possessed by the devil’ by casting his demons into pigs.
From the hilltop 75 miles north of the capital Amman, Charles and Camilla surveyed the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee.
Camilla looked cool in a green floral print Fiona Clare dress, while Charles wore a beige suit and £250 Serengeti sunglasses.
‘It’s very hot,’ the prince said as he clambered up a steep flight of 25 stone steps in a well-preserved amphitheatre. He also stopped to plant an olive tree to celebrate UK-Jordanian friendship.
Camilla later spoke of the importance of ‘reaching out to pull other women up’ as she carried out two solo engagements focusing on empowerment.
Last night the couple ended their second day in Jordan by attending a reception in Amman to mark the centenary of the kingdom, chatting to guests in canopies outside.
Camilla, 74, looked elegant in an Anna Valentine shalwar kameez-style outfit, while Charles tried his hand at Arabic and received a rousing reception for his efforts.
For the glamourous evening, Prince Charles wore a navy blue suit with a crisp white shirt and a light blue dotted scarf.
Meanwhile the Duchess of Cornwall looked very stylish in an all-white look consisting of a silk blouse with matching trousers, a matching white scarf and a dazzling gold clutch bag.
Day two! Prince Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, arrived in Umm Qais, the site of the ancient city of Gadara, this morning for a walking tour around the historic ruins, which lie two hours’ drive north of the Jordanian capital of Amman, where the couple enjoyed an extravagant dinner at Al Husseiniya Palace on Tuesday evening (Pictured: Charles and Camilla on the main Roman street at Umm Qais)
The Prince chatted to a little boy as he enjoyed a ride on the swings in the centre’s playground, he told those he met ‘I wish I could do more’
The Prince of Wales listens intently as he hears the stories of refugees who’ve been helped by the Al Nuzha Community Centre
The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Al Nuzha Community Centre in Jordan, on the second day of the Royal tour of the Middle East
The Prince was involved in a discussion on Tuesday afternoon about the plight of refugees who end up in Jordan
The couple arrived with the British ambassador to Jordan Bridhet Brind, who was wearing a white suit jacket over a pale pink dress, and the Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, who was dressed in black.
They were treated to a musical performance from the Mahali Musical Production before mingling with the other attendees, and later proceeded to the Museum’s main atrium where they admired the Rejuvenation and Modernisation of Extinct Arts and Crafts (RMEAC) pop-up art exhibition.
The evening will culminate with Prince Charles and he Duchess of Cornwall viewing the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit.
The pair looked perfectly posed and relaxed tonight, after a day busy with engagements.
Keeping cool in the desert sun, the Prince of Wales opted for a light, camel-hued suit with a striped tie and white checked shirt and a comfy-looking pair of beige shoes, while Camilla wore a sage-coloured Fiona Clare floral dress – with low-heeled court shoes in caramel.
The second day of their visit, delayed by almost two years due to the Covid pandemic, saw the couple turn tourists as they made the 75-mile hop north of the Jordanian capital to the town – where Jesus was said to have performed one of his seven miracles.
After a walking tour of the main amphitheater and museum, accompanied by Jordan’s Princess Dana Firas, the couple returned to the capital this afternoon, as the Duchess of Cornwall carried out two solo engagements focusing on empowering women. The Prince spent time hearing the stories of refugees at a Amman community centre.
Addressing guests at an event for the Women of the World Foundation, of which Camilla is President, the Duchess said: ‘There are so many inspirational ladies here doing so many things and they have done it by themselves. We’ve got the first lady plumber here, someone from the Army, so many things.
‘I think here[Jordan] would be the perfect place to start a WoW. I feel we could do a great job here.
She joked with the gathered crowd: ‘I have written down a speech but I seem to have gone off-piste a bit!’
She went on: ‘I heard some wise words from Queen Rania. Her Majesty once said: ‘When a woman succeeds, she reaches out to those around her and pulls them up to her. That is why when you empower women, you empower a whole society.’
‘The collective experience of the women in this room proves the truth of those words.’
Acknowledging the strong relations between the UK and Jordan, the royal added that there was now ‘serious reaching out and pulling up across our two countries.’
At the WoW event, which was held at the Manara (the Arabic word for ‘lighthouse’) Arts and Culture Café in the cultural district of Amman [NB the embassy chap described this to me as ‘the Shoreditch of Amman’], Camilla enjoyed a cuddle with four-week-old baby Sarah Abu Ammerah.
Sarah’s mother Dr Alaa Azzam, 42, a Physics Professor at the University of Jordan, said: ‘The Duchess said to me ‘Sarah will be one of the women of the future and that is very inspiring.’
Camilla was presented with a picture of herself, framed with the words ‘Women Empowerer’.
The Prince took his place around the table with representatives of the Al Nuzha Community Centre for the meeting
Wearing a WOW pin badge, Camilla chatted to the baby’s mother as they discussed the issues facing women in the Middle East
An upgrade for Clarence House? Jordan’s first female plumber Khawla Al-Sheikh shows off a tap-inspired artwork
Khawla Al-Sheikh, left, launched a woman-only plumbing course, also taught by a woman, in 2007
She also received a quirky gift of a model man made from sink pipes and a tap from Jordan’s first female plumber, Khawla Al-Sheikh. Camilla looked at it, smiled and said: ‘At least I know where to go now if I need a tap!’
Khawla, 58, told the Duchess that she had been inspired to train as a plumber after fixing her mother’s leaky tap. She has now trained more than 500 women in the trade since 2007, many of whom have gone on to start up their own businesses.
Other prominent Jordanian women included journalist and author, Rana Husseini, engineer Abeer Al Bashiti, who is due to launch a mental health app and Lieutenant Colonel Maha Al Nasser, director of women’s affairs in the Jordanian Armed Forces.
Jude Kelly, director of WoW, told the women gathered at the event: ‘It has been amazing to have the Duchess as our President.
‘I hope you know I’m being honest when I say that she is absolutely rigorously committed to talking about the things that people are not supposed to talk about very much.
‘To have the support not just of the Duchess but of fine women and girls around the world makes us think we can do this.’
During the visit, the 73-year-old royal stopped to plant a tree to symbolise the UK-Jordanian partnership and in celebration of the centenary anniversary for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Earlier in the day, Camilla visited the Princess Taghreed Girls Secondary School where she was greeted at the entrance by girl scouts and presented with a bouquet of flowers by Salma, eight, in traditional Jordanian dress.
The Duchess met five-year-old children – a mix of Jordanians and Syrian refugees – who were learning Arabic and Maths with the RAMP programme. RAMP is a programme supported by Britain and USAid which teaches 650,000 boys and girls with reading and maths skills.
The school’s older pupils were also given a chance to meet the Duchess and share some of their career aspirations for the future.
When Dina, 16, said she wanted to be a pilot when she grew up, Camilla replied: ‘Perhaps one day I could get on an airplane and you will be at the helm of it.’
As she left, Camilla told the girls: ‘Good luck to everybody. I hope it all works out as you wish.’
Across town, on jovial form despite another busy day, the Prince of Wales offered to take ‘posing lessons’ from a little refugee girl he met in the playground, after being wowed by her star turn in front of the camera.
Salsapela, aged four, enchanted photographers during a visit to a community centre in Jordan, where the Prince met refugee families getting back on their feet after being forced to flee their homes.
Camilla looks on as Charles shovels soil around the trees base in a gesture of friendship to the Kingdom of Hashemite
The tree planting recognises the strong ally that the Middle Eastern country has been to the UK in recent decades
It was an active morning for the 73-year-old Prince of Wales, pictured raising soil from a wheelbarrow to transfer to the tree’s roots
As Prince Charles was shown around a small playground, where primary school-aged children were using the swings and slides, he swapped English lessons with young learners and admired their skills.
Meeting with adult refugees forced to start new jobs after arriving in Jordan, he was given a range of handmade gifts including a sketch portrait of himself and a pot of local honey.
He promised to send a pot of his own Highgrove honey back to the beekeeper, saying he was ‘thrilled’ to have his first taste of the Jordanian version.
‘I wish I could do more,’ he told volunteers at the Al Nuzha Community Centre, which is supported by UNHRC (UN High Commission for Refugees).
During the visit, the Prince saw their work in a computer lab, where children were brushing up on their skills, and spent time in the playground.
As he spoke to staff, little Salsapela, originally from Sudan, sidled up to the group and began to pose for the watching media.
Catching sight of her, the delighted Prince beamed and leaned over to tell her: ‘I saw you playing with all the cameras. I could pick up a thing or two!’
Back in Amman, Camilla paid a visit to Princess Taghreed Secondary Girls School, where she was met by Jordan’s Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research Prof Wajih Owais
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The royal, wearing a Fiona Clare dress, is pictured receiving gifts from a pupil at the secondary school in the capital city
Camilla has taken a strong interest in women’s issues in the Middle East, and today met students and teachers at the Princess Taghreed Secondary Girls School
Camilla looked radiant despite a busy week; the Duchess teamed her emerald Fiona Clare dress with gold pearl drop earrings
The royal, wearing a navy blue smartwatch on her left hand, is pictured arriving at the secondary school earlier today
Camilla, sitting in front of an Arabic word chart, looked to welcome the chance to sit down following the couple’s active walking tour earlier on Wednesday
Jordan’s Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof Wajih Owais, chats to the Duchess of Cornwall as they watch a performance by students at the school
Quite an audience! Pupils tell the Duchess of Cornwall about their experiences as the country’s schools minister looks on
Ahead of a visit to their next stop, Egypt, the couple browsed the ruins in Gadara, as it was known in the 4th Century BC
Charles listens intently as the couple turn tourists to enjoy a tour of the religious settlement, where Jesus was said to have performed one of his seven miracles
Asking her, through a translator, about her English lessons, she declared proudly: ‘This is a frog.’
He politely ignored the non-existence of any frog to congratulate her: ‘Well done!’
Introduced to nine-year-old Elias, from Iraq, the Prince asked about his school lessons and heard he was getting very good grades.
‘Can you say a word in English?’ he asked.
Told ‘this is a frog’ again, he pointed at the swing and, winking, joked that the children might like to learn ‘this is a swing’ next.
‘My Arabic is not as good as your English,’ he said, smiling.
The Prince then met refugee families receiving UK assistance through UNHCR. Unable to work in Jordan, they receive basic financial help and support to help them rebuild their lives.
The Community Centre provides a safe space for refugees to gather, exchange ideas, engage in community life and strengthen their sense of belonging, with lessons designed to build self-reliance in their new home.
They included Louai, a nurse, and Rana, a Christian family with three children who had to flee Mosul, Iraq in 2015, when Daesh overtook their city.
Camilla chats to youngsters about their work during a breather from the couple’s walking tour of the hilltop settlement
The royal raises a hand in greeting as she arrives to meet the schoolchildren, taking time to discuss their drawings
Boys and girls colour in pictures in the classroom as the Duchess of Cornwall chats to their teacher
When asked by Princess Dana about his attendance at Cop26, the royal told her it was ‘amazing’, saying the UN climate conference produced ‘quite a lot of success’
Charles breaks into a smile as the couple pose for photos on the main avenue of the historic site, which features in the bible
The British royals adjust their shades as the bright desert sun dazzles at the Roman Decapolis city
A second family, Nidal and Hanan fled their home in Daraa, Syria in 2013 alongside their three children.
Asking them about their old lives and jobs and how they were rebuilding, the Prince told them: ‘I’m so glad you have this place.’
In a group meeting volunteers, the Prince shook his head sorrowfully as he heard their stories.
‘I so feel for you,’ he said. ‘You are marvellous for volunteering. Fantastic. I’m so impressed by how you are managing these challenges.’
At a final station in the community centre, the Prince met refugees helped by the International Rescue Committee, of which he is patron.
They included Rania, a 20-year-old writer, Sumaya a 31-year-old aircraft maintenance engineering, and Mariam, 37, who makes crafts out of recycled materials.
The women, who are all receiving support designed for women’s empowerment through the IRC, told the Prince their stories of fleeing their home countries.
‘I do sympathise,’ the Prince told them. ‘I hope the IRC is helping you.’
On the trail of Christ: The couple are seen walking alongside Jordanian Princess Dana as they make their way through the site’s ruin
Prince Charles then met Hudaifa, 30, who is a Jordanian and passionate beekeeper, and hopes to make it his full-time job after receiving a business grant through the IRC and joining its business training programme.
The Prince, who produces his own honey at Highgrove, quizzed him on where he keeps his bees and what kind of trees or plants they feed from.
Listening carefully, the Prince said: ‘I tell you, I love Syrian honey, it’s remarkable.
‘I’m very very grateful for this. Are you sure you can spare it?’
Before he left the engagement, he told staff from the British Embassy he would like to send some of his own honey back to Hudaifa.
‘I wish I could do more,’ he said, of the visit overall.
‘I’m thrilled with the honey. I’d like to send back one of mine. We’ll attempt it! Whether it reaches you…’
Told of the Prince’s intentions afterwards, Hudaifa said he was ‘very happy’ and would treasure it.
The most impressive gift of all was a pencil sketch of the Prince himself by Faihaa, 38, who fled Damascus with her husband and three children after a bomb exploded near them.
She now runs an art workshop in Amman.
‘Wow,’ the Prince said as he saw her work, before posing for a photograph with her
She included a hand-written note on the back of the picture, asking the Prince for help and telling him: ‘We are not seeking asylum, we want the chance to work and be active in society.’
The Roman ruins can be seen behind the couple – the hilltop settlement remains one of the country’s most popular attractions
As they wandered the main dusty path through the ruins – one of Jordan’s most popular tourist attractions – Charles and Camilla learned about the site’s rich tapestry of history including Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim influences
Both Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, are keen walkers and took the rising temperatures and uneven terrain in their stride
Jordanian Princess Dana Firas, 51, who is a global advocate for the ancient site’s ongoing preservation, played tour guide
The small Roman theatre – known at the West Theatre – is made from basalt, filled with limestone and earth – it would have seated around 3,000 spectators
In Umm Qais, earlier, the group wandered the main dusty avenue through the archaeological ruins, which date back to the 3rd century, BC Charles and Camilla learned about the site’s rich tapestry of history including Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim influences.
The royals planted a tree to mark the UK’s strong relationship with the Middle Eastern country, and Charles took time to chat to Slovakian tourists about meeting their president at this month’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow.
When also asked by Jordan’s Princess Dana about his attendance at the UN climate conference, the royal told her it was ‘amazing’, saying it had produced ‘quite a lot of success’.
The couple posed briefly for photos on the Main Street, with the colonnades and ancient ruins behind to highlight the rich tourism in the region.
During the walkabout, Charles also stopped to plant a tree to symbolise the UK-Jordanian partnership and in celebration of the centenary anniversary for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The ancient site, now known as Umm Qais, appears in the bible as Gadara and remains one of Jordan’s biggest tourist attractions.
Best foot forward! A significant entourage accompanied the couple as they climbed the steps of the historic amphitheatre – known as the West Theatre – in the Middle Eastern ancient metropolis, which lies 74 miles north of the Jordanian capital
Take it steady! Charles is pictured walking through the upper walls of the atmospheric West Theatre at Umm Qais
The couple’s Middle East mini tour, which sees them head to Egypt next, has been in the diary since before the pandemic
Camilla strides on: The wife of the future king appeared to negotiate the steep stone steps at the amphitheatre with ease
The couple took in views of the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, posing for photos at the hilltop settlement’s highest point. Some of the region’s most beautiful scenery, including the Syrian Golan Heights, Mount Hermon, Lake Tiberias and the north Palestinian plains could also be seen from the vantage point.
The city is said to be the place where Jesus carried out the ‘miracle of the Gadarene swine’ – freeing a man ‘possessed by the devil’ by casting his demons into pigs, according to the apostle Mark.
The royals showed off their fitness too, appearing to negotiate the steep stone steps at the site’s amphitheatre with apparent ease, with Camilla leading the way.
Charles was heard saying: ‘It’s very hot’ as he clambered up the flight of ancient steps.
Charles and Camilla stop to take a group photo with some of the workers who are helping to preserve the site, with the men wearing hard hats and hi-vis jackets currently restoring a Roman mural
The Prince pictured under the arch of a building that houses the Umm Qais museum this morning
The heir browses a photo exhibition on the walls outside the museum; the site is housed in a building that dates back to the Ottoman empire
Charles protected his eyes from the Arabian sun with a pair of stylish-looking Serengeti sunglasses in light brown
The royals listen in as Princess Dana Firas, who is married to Jordan’s Prince Firas Bin Raad, explains the site’s fascinating past
Looking dapper! Charles opted for a camel-hued suit while Camilla wore a sage-coloured Fiona Clare floral dress – with both choosing comfortable shoes for the early morning walking tour
The heir to the British throne and the Duchess of Cornwall have received the warmest of welcomes from the Middle Eastern country, long seen as an ally to both the royal family and the Government
They also took in the work carried out by Turquoise Mountain, founded by Charles in 2006, and the Newton-Khalidi Fund which raises money to revive historic craftsman’s skills.
‘Are you having fun rebuilding it?’ he asked a group of workmen busy putting together a Roman mosaic.
In its time Umm Qais has been as a cultural centre and has been the of several classical poets and philosophers, including Theodorus, founder of a rhetorical school in Rome, and was once called ‘a new Athens’.
On the trade route between Syria and Palestine, Gadara was a popular holiday resort for Romans.
The West Theatre, located along the main Roman Street, resembles a Colosseum and had the capacity to seat three thousand spectators.
Quite a view: The British royals looked to enjoying their second day, stopping to take in the spectacular views across Umm Qais
It was an early start for the couple after they dined at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman with their royal hosts on Tuesday evening
Camilla has unearthed her summer dresses for the trip, with Jordan currently basking in winter temperatures of 22 degrees
As they arrived Charles made a detour after bumping into a group of delighted tourists from Slovakia.
He said to them: ‘I saw your President (Zuzana Caputova) in Glasgow. We had a very enjoyable conversation.
‘I have happy memories of bring there years ago and she said I must come back. I hope you are enjoying all of this.’
Lenka Kodajova, 39, tour guide at Baloo, said: ‘It has really made our trip. It was wonderful to see them’.
It was then back to the capital, with Camilla spending some time at the Princess Taghreed Secondary Girls School.
The royal has been vocal about her interest in issues facing women and young girls in the Middle East and spent time chatting to both students and teachers at the school.
Camilla and Queen Rania pictured on Tuesday evening, after a packed day’s schedule that saw the British royals spend time with King Abdullah II and the queen at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman and visit various charity projects and the holy waters of the River Jordan – before returning to the palace for a lavish private dinner
Let’s take some home! The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall dipped their fingers in water from the holy River Jordan which is used to baptise royal babies – with Charles rumoured to have requested bottles of the water to take home for future royal baptisms
Then they bent down and each dipped their fingers in (pictured) before walking carefully back up the path to sign a visitor’s book
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are welcomed by King Abdullah II, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan, on the first day of their tour of the Middle East on Tuesday
The British royals have received a warm welcome so far in the Middle Eastern country, which is seen as a strong ally for the Government; the couple will head to Egypt later in the week.
The start of the trip saw Charles and Camilla rattle through a packed schedule on their first official day in Jordan including visiting the spectacular Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, where they were hosted by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.
On Tuesday afternoon, they flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honour of walking down to the riverbed where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptised.
And last night, Charles and Camilla were back at Al Husseiniya Palace, this time in their finery, to attend a private banquet hosted by the Jordanian king and queen.
The couple’s Tuesday afternoon helicopter visit to the UNESCO world heritage site, situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea and on the border with Israel, saw them spending time at a site that welcomes pilgrims from across the world and has been authenticated by all major Christian Church leaders as one of the three holiest sites of Christianity, along with Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
During their visit, the prince and his wife walked gingerly down some well-worn steps and a steep, pebbly path to the water, where they stood for a few moments in quiet reflection.
Then they bent down and each dipped their fingers in, Charles first followed by Camilla, before walking carefully back up the path to sign a visitor’s book.
It’s thought that the heir-to-the-throne took ‘five or six dozen bottles’ of Holy water taken from the River Jordan back to the UK for royal baptisms – which could include that of Lilibet, the grand-daughter he has never met.
On their arrival earlier, the couple also stopped at nearby Elijah’s Hill, where John the Baptist is said to have lived for about 20 years in a cave, and where Jesus is believed to have visited him. From the ruins, the couple could see Jericho and Jerusalem stretching out into the distance.
Elijah’s Hill is believed to be where Elijah ascended to heaven in the 9th century BC, with views of the wilderness stretching out across to the River Jordan.
The Bible states that Elijah would return before the coming of Jesus, so when John the Baptist began baptising people there it caused a huge stir in the surrounding villages.
They were met by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the King’s Senior Adviser for Religious and Cultural Affairs, who has taken a great interest in the project, and The Director General of the Baptism Site, Rustom Mkhjian.
Queen Rania looked stylish in a cream kaftan dress bedazzled with gems on the sleeves and the belt
The elegant Queen of Jordan, who was sporting a glamourous look, led the Duchess of Cornwall inside the palace
The Duchess of Cornwall wore a very elegant cream floor-length dress with long sleeves, which she paired with a silver clutch
The Prince of Wales looked sharp in a black suit, crisp white shirt and a pink tie and pocket square, as he was greeted by King Abdullah II ahead of a dinner
Camilla beamed as she made her way to the glamourous dinner. She held her dress, revealing a pair of golden heels
The Jordanian people have taken great pride in the careful excavation of the area, leaving much of the site as it would have been in the time of Christ.
The royal visitors were given a guided tour of the area and were even offered the opportunity to sit in John the Baptist’s cave for a few moments quietly together.
The prince seemed particularly moved to be visiting a site, where so many famed prophets and pilgrims are said to have passed through.
Pre-Covid-19, it welcomed more than 200,000 visitors per year and the expectation is that this number will again be reached over the next one-two years.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were all smiles as they arrived at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan
Queen Rania and Camilla later visited the Queen Rania Family and Children Centre in Amman
The prince and his wife walked gingerly down some well-worn steps and a steep, pebbly path to the water, where they stood for a few moments in quiet reflection (pictured)
Charles and Camilla flew by helicopter to one of the most important religious sites in Jordan and were given the great honour of walking down to the riverbed where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptised (pictured)
They were then taken down to the Baptism site by golf buggy, before travelling back up on the same electric vehicles and flying back to the capital Amman for a glamorous royal dinner.
Speaking afterwards Mr Mkhjian said of the visit: ‘It was great. Their Royal Highness were asking so many questions.
‘We have discovered so much more than when the prince last visited and he was ever so pleased to see how we have preserved this. My last words to him were ‘Your Royal Highness, welcome to the lowest site discovered on earth that is closest to heaven’.
‘I was so excited to be able to show him the importance of the site but also explain that we have preserved it the way Jesus and John did.
‘One of the last visitors to be allowed down to the Baptism site was his Holiness Pope Francis. It is a great honour.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting the baptism site of al-Maghtas, where Jesus is believed by Christians to have been baptised by John the Baptist, on the Jordan river
The royal couple (pictured) held hands as they walked down the steps and towards the riverbed
Prince Charles, who donned a smart grey suit, bent down and dipped his fingers in the holy river Jordan
Camilla then followed, before the royal couple paused and took a moment to reflect
The Duchess of Cornwall was seen bending down and dipping her fingers in water from the holy River Jordan which is used to baptise royal babies
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leave the site where Christians believe Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, on the Jordan River
‘The significance to them touching is that they are actually touching a water table described by pilgrims in the 6th Century, worn down by hundreds of thousands of feet over the centuries.’
After their moment at the Baptism site, the prince took part in an interfaith meeting about religious tolerance and the environment.
He told them: ‘You are the people, who are the leaders of your communities, you are the people to remind your flocks of living in harmony with nature. There is hope. There are ways wed can change.
‘I pray with all my heart that the Churches and Faiths will lead the way with those in private enterprise and the public sectors
‘Now is the time to translate people’s awareness into real action on the ground.’
He told them that the different Faiths needed to do for the environment what they had done for interfaith relations.
In return the religious gathered asked him to convey their prayers to the Queen.
The Prince of Wales signs the guest book as his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, looks on (pictured)
The royal visitors were given a guided tour of the area (pictured) and were even offered the opportunity to sit in John the Baptist’s cave for a few moments quietly together
Prince Charles signed the guest book as he and Camilla visited the baptism site of al-Maghtas