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Comment 04 NOVEMBER 2012

A colourful welcome for Charles and Camilla in Papua New Guinea

04 NOVEMBER 2012

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were welcomed into Papua New Guinea with cheers and garlands of flowers. On Saturday the royal couple disembarked their plane in Port Moresby, the country's capital, to mark the start of their two week Diamond Juiblee Tour.

Schoolchildren in traditional tribal dress performed a hiri dance for their visitors, which is usually used to welcome traders into a village. Amoungst them teenage dancer Jessie David was charged with the honour of presenting the Prince and his wife with their floral accessories.

 

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Wearing a leaf skirt, body paint and a striking headdress made of bird of paradise feathers, the 15-year-old placed the pretty orchid garlands around the royals' necks.

Whilst this is Charles' fourth visit to Papua New Guinea, his arrival still warranted official formalities as two rows of soldiers formed a guard of honour and more than 2,000 well wishers turned out to see their royal guests at Jacksons International Airport.

The happy arrival no doubt brought back memories for the 63-year-old Prince, who arrived to a similar welcome during his 1984 trip, when he was 35. The Prince's first experience of the country came when he was just 17 and a pupil at Geelong Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia. In a speech given on Saturday the Prince remarked that he has "never forgotten the profound impact of that first visit," addding "the importance of Papua New Guinean culture has remained with me ever since."


 

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Charles and Camilla looked cheerful and relaxed as they met with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and were presented with honours upon their arrival at the Airways Hotel.

Later in the day the couple paid a visit to Boera Village, where they made made their way through the village streets, viewing an aid station, meeting with locals and stopping to take a look at the offereings of a fish stall. To protect herself from the glare of the sun Camilla used a white parasol, matching her light-coloured dress adorned with a remembrance poppy.

Charles then took to the white sandy beach to plant a mangrove sapling at the water's edge. The mangrove is of particular significance in the village of Boera as its roots provide a home for the shore's fish and is also a vital source of food.

 

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Vada Dogo one of the women who assisted the planting said the Prince told her to "look after the mangrove and take good photos and send them back to him."

The royal duo then attended a cultural event at Sir John Guise Stadium, joined by hundreds of villagers who came to see the Queen's son and his wife. The show featured singing and dancing performed on a large, wooden boat, that had been specially created for the occasion.

Charles then gave a speech of thanks to his hosts speaking in the native pidgin language and referring to his official title 'nambawan pikinini bilong misis kwin', meaning ''the number one child of the Queen'. 

 

Charles and Camilla



At the end of his speech the Prince asked "was my pidgin all right?" which was met with a resounding "yes" from the crowd before he and the Duchess were driven around the stadium on the back of a custom-made vehicle, adorned with flowers.

The couple had got into the spirit of their visit to the Pacific island with a reception held at Buckingham Palace. The event featured guests from each of the three countries they are visiting as part of their tour. After spending time in Papua New Guinea, Charles and Camillia will head to Australia, where the Duchess will present the Melbourne Cup winner with their coveted prize and then to New Zealand where the Prince will celebrate his 64th birthday.

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