Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Camilla should eat her words

On the plus side, Prince Charles, on a three-day visit to the Middle East, has been getting well away from all that stomach-churning horsemeat in burgers stuff.

On the downside he's been served up roast baby camel – a whole one, complete with hump – by his hosts in Saudi Arabia.

Makes a Findus horsemeat lasagne look positively inviting.

The skinned, roasted dromedary was served on a silver platter on a bed of rice scented with cardamom. (How long before Jamie Oliver comes up with a recipe we can try at home)?

So what did the often-queasy Camilla make of that?

Although she was on the same trip, she wasn't at the table. Camilla, as is custom in Saudi, was dining with the girls. Women still aren't permitted to share the banquet with the men folk.

But the Duchess sportingly insisted she had noticed a "sea of change" in attitude towards women since the last time she was there in 2006.

Who knows? Things are moving so fast there, soon they'll be allowing women to go outdoors on their own ...

For the way things stand in Saudi at present, women require a male chaperone (to whom they should be related) before they can go – well – just about anywhere.

As a result some women are unable to access even medical services – simply because they don't have a male "protector" to accompany them.

And as Camilla will be aware, foreign women cannot visit without a male "guardian" travelling with them.

Whatever "sea change" she's detected in the palace, it hasn't permeated through to the lives of most ordinary women who are still caged by their male masters.

In Saudi there remain many things that are just as tough – and even more unpalatable – than that whole roast baby camel served on its bed of cardamom rice.

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