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Charles kicks off Middle East tour with a sword dance

The Prince of Wales started his official tour of the Middle East by taking part in a ceremonial sword dance with local performers.

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will undertake 50 engagements in seven days during their visits to the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Their visit, at the request of the British Government, is to promote the UK's partnership in the region in areas including wildlife conservation and supporting women in leadership.

Charles and Camilla received a cultural welcome at the Ceremonial Boulevard in Muscat, with five groups of performers showcasing dances from different regions of Oman.

The prince was given a sword and joined in with a group performing an Al Razha dance.

His wife was then presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Charles and Camilla are in Oman as guests of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.

Following their welcome, Charles toured Muscat's new National Museum which showcases the history of the nation from its first human settlement two million years ago through to the present day.

He viewed demonstrations of traditional handicraft-making, including Kuma hats and brightly coloured threads.

Charles was shown around the exhibits by Jamal Al Musawi, acting director of the museum, which opened in July.

The museum houses items including a Magan boat, Islamic gates and three Royal Rasulid tombstones on long term loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It has more than 5,500 objects and offers 43 digital immersive experiences for visitors.

Camilla visited the Oman Cancer Association's Dar Al Hanan Hostel, where she met children and parents before attending a reception with supporters and sponsors.

The association, which became active in 2002, was established by prominent Omani woman and four-times cancer survivor Yuthar Al Rawai.

Charles and Camilla then attended a service of celebration at Bait Al Noor Church, which was led by the Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf.

The service marked the 125th anniversary of the final visit to the country by the First Bishop of Lahore, Bishop Thomas Valpy French, who travelled to Oman in 1895 to establish an Anglican Church in Arabia. He was in poor health and died a few months later but his work was continued by others

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