Prince Charles and Camilla still have 'snap in their celery' as Middle East tour ends

Duchess of Cornwall says royal tours are not holidays, on flight home from four-day visit to region

Britain's Duchess of Cornwall has described herself and the Prince of Wales as still having “a snap in our celery” as she stressed their foreign tours were working trips and not holidays.

Camilla's comments were made on the flight home from the Middle East where the royal couple spent four days celebrating the culture, heritage and achievements of Jordan and Egypt.

British royal tours are conducted on behalf of the government and usually feature busy schedules, covering thousands of miles. The duchess described this week's trip as “quite tough” but said diplomats over the years have assured her that royal visits open doors.

Prince Charles and Camilla visit Egypt — in pictures

The highlight of her time in the Middle East was the royal couple's trip to the site near the River Jordan where John the Baptist was said to have baptised Jesus. She described their visit as a “spiritual” moment.

Speaking on Voyager, the ministerial jet, before it landed on Friday, the duchess said the Middle East tour was “quite tough, we were driving a lot and it was pretty bumpy".

She referred to her previous visit to Egypt with Prince Charles 16 years ago, soon after they married, and said “I'm a lot older now, well into my 70s, but, to quote [journalist] Richard Ingrams, 'we've still got a snap in our celery'."

Since marrying Charles in 2005, the duchess has travelled the world, visiting everywhere from Colombia and the Galapagos Islands to Jamaica, Mexico and New Zealand in support of the UK.

“I've been on so many trips and I can understand why people can be cynical about this 'why they're doing this, what they're getting out of this?'," she said.

“But I've heard so many diplomats over the years say, 'we've been trying to open this door for weeks, months, years, then suddenly a member of the royal family comes along and, bang, this works for us — doors are open and things get done'."

On Thursday, Prince Charles and Camilla toured the Pyramids at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, and also posed for pictures in front of the Sphinx.

The duchess added: “We are not on holiday, we might be dressed up and photographed against the pyramids like tourists but we are not on holiday. We are working for the government and country and we are trying to make difference.”

Camilla said their visit to the baptism site of Christ in Jordan was the highlight of the trip for her: “It was extraordinary, something you read about. To actually go down there and experience it — it was really quite spiritual.”

Royal couple visit Jordan - In pictures

Updated: November 21st 2021, 7:08 AM
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