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Charles and Camilla make some new friends in India


March 28, 2006
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Prince Charles took a leaf out of David Beckham's book by donning a bandana when he visited one of Sikhism's most holy sites in India this week. The Prince of Wales and his wife both went barefoot and covered their heads, before dropping to the floor and kissing the ground before the altar, as they toured the Anadpur Saheb Gurudwara temple in the foothills of the Himilayas.

The future king, who says he hopes to one day become "a defender of faiths", rather than focusing solely on his role as head of the Church of England, was clearly fascinated by the tour. He and Camilla were on the edge of their seats when a group of local warriors treated them to a display of the Sikh martial art of Gatka, though.

Just two weeks ago the royal couple watched a similar show at a temple in London, but the second in line looked visibly worried as a young boy, dressed in traditional blue robes, demonstrated his skills as a swordsman. And there was another heart-stopping moment when another of the performers used a metal club to smash a coconut balanced delicately on one of his friends' heads.

Camilla, who was wearing the same cream-coloured silk ensemble she used to elegant effect in Egypt last week, also got something of a scare later in the day, during a visit to a university campus in Mohali. The Duchess nearly fell to the floor when she went to sit down, only to discover the chair had been removed from behind her. Fortunately her husband managed to catch her - with a little help from the guides who were showing them around. Officials later explained that Charles had stood to sign a visitors book and one of the institution's employees, thinking his wife would do the same, decided to move the chair.

Despite the mishap, the royal couple has been warmly welcomed at each stop on their tour of the subcontinent. They are currently enjoying the final stage of a two-week trip that has taken in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, too.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
The royal couple showed their respect for Sikh tradition by kicking off their shoes and covering their heads when they arrived at the templePhoto: © EMPICSy
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Duchess meets local women in a Punjabi village. She and her husband, who are nearing the end of their tour of the subcontinent, have had some unforgettable encounters during their latest overseas visitPhoto: © Getty Images

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