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Ali 'greatest' tribute to Charles

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has welcomed the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to his home city of Louisville - describing the heir to the throne as "the greatest".

The sport star's words came in a letter - not in person - as he was not well enough to join leading figures from the city at a cultural greeting for Charles and Camilla.

But the presence of the three-time former world heavyweight boxing champion was still felt when a letter written by him was read to the prince.

The 73-year-old sports star, considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time, retired in 1981 and has suffered with Parkinson's disease since the mid-1980s.

At the Kentucky Centre for African American Heritage - a stone's throw from Ali's childhood home - Louisville's Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the royal couple.

They had toured stands showcasing the state of Kentucky and Louisville's heritage, culture, history and sustainability projects.

Mr Fischer reading Ali's words said: "(My wife) Lonnie and I welcome you to our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. We are honoured that you have come to explore, share and learn about new sustainable initiatives that are so close to your heart."

The former sportsman could not help mentioning the state's successful college basketball team which is on a long winning streak.

Ali added: "Louisville prides itself on being a compassionate city and we are confident that you will leave feeling a sense of our southern hospitality, caring for the environment, and yes - our love for college basketball.

"As you travel back to your homeland, we hope you know how much this city respects and admires the many contributions you have made in the world.

"We think you are the greatest."

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