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Charles and Camilla's hair-raising temple visit

March 13, 2006
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Prince Charles' wife isn't normally the sort to get squeamish, but even the Duchess of Cornwall couldn't help covering her eyes when she watched Sikh swordsman Uptej Sigh strut his stuff on Monday afternoon. With lightning speed, the blindfolded martial arts expert slashed his scimitar blade down onto a melon balanced on a man's stomach, perfectly slicing the fruit in half without drawing a drop of blood.

The Duchess and her husband both looked distinctly uneasy as the 42-year-old maestro showed off his skills. "Don't try this at home," advised the black-clad warrior with a grin before performing the hair-raising feat. The stunt was part of a jaw-dropping display, which included several minutes of high-speed mock combat, staged for the royal couple in London's Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabhna temple.

Afterwards Charles and Camilla learned that swordplay isn't the only skill Uptej has mastered, as he spends most days working as an IT engineer. Other performers drawing gasps of amazement from the royal visitors included a chiropractor, a teacher and a police officer.

A rather less worrisome sight greeted the pair earlier in the day when they arrived for the visit. Hundreds of excited schoolchildren waving union flags welcomed the couple as they rolled up to the temple, where garlands of white flowers were placed around their necks.

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Photo: ©
The Duchess covers her eyes as a Sikh swordsman demonstrates his amazing skills. Camilla's husband likewise seemed a little nervous, gripping the arm of his chair and leaning forward as the feat was performedPhoto: © EMPICSy
Photo: ©
IT engineer Uptej Sigh drew gasps from onlookers as he sliced the melon in half without harming the brave volunteer lying underneathPhoto: © EMPICS

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