Camilla reflects on ‘brilliant’ but ‘too quick’ trip to Egypt

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The Duchess of Cornwall has described her tour of Egypt with the Prince of Wales as “absolutely brilliant”, but said “it’s been too short”.

Camilla also reminisced fondly about how she visited the country with Charles soon after they married, and said it will always have a special place in her heart.

Her comments came at the end of their four-day Middle East tour, during which they also visited Jordan where they retraced the footsteps of Jesus and celebrated the nation’s centenary.

Earlier, Charles’s visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth was cancelled just a few days after a jet from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier crashed in the Mediterranean.

Hours before he was due to tour the vessel, his office Clarence House said: “For operational reasons, the visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth has been cancelled.”

During a visit to the Jesuit Cultural Centre in Alexandria, the prince and duchess met small groups of artists, filmmakers and campaigners including Ahmed Yassin, founder of social enterprise Banlastic Egypt which campaigns to ban single-use plastic.

Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt (Peter Nicolls/PA)

When Mr Yassin asked about their trip to Egypt, Camilla replied: “It’s been absolutely brilliant, but it’s been too short, too quick. I would like to see more – you just dip in.”

Speaking about their visit to the country as newlyweds in 2006, she added: “It was the first long-distance trip we did after we were married, so it will always stick with me.

“It was very exciting. I have a lot of happy memories here.”

Camilla’s late father Major Bruce Shand served in North Africa during the Second World War and she also spoke about his connection with Egypt.

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall
The Prince of Wales signs a visitors’ book alongside his wife the Duchess of Cornwall at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Peter Nicolls/PA)

“My father was a soldier, stationed at Cairo,” she said. “His driver was killed by a bullet, and I was able to go to the cemetery and lay flowers at his grave in Alamein.”

During the visit, the duchess stepped on to a film set and met teenagers from Camera Chica, a workshop project with the British Council.

One budding filmmaker asked whether it was her first time in the country, and she again mentioned her 2006 trip with Charles: “It was one of the first trips I did after we got married so it was very special.”

On her thoughts about Egypt and Alexandria, she explained: “What I have seen of it, it’s lovely. It’s always very exciting for me to see the sea.

“I love seeing the sea, so I enjoyed driving along the seafront there. Sadly we haven’t got a lot of time to see everything, so next time I’ll have to come back and see some more.”

The royal couple saw the pyramids at Giza on Thursday – approaching the entrance of one – and also posed for pictures in front of the Sphinx.

Charles and Camilla
The royal couple posed for photos in front of the Sphinx in Giza on Thursday (Peter Nicolls/PA)

When asked about her sightseeing, Camilla replied: “I did see the pyramids. We had a wonderful tour. I got up quite high and I got halfway inside and decided to come out again.

“We got to see the Sphinx, which was very, very exciting. One of the best memories I think. You’re very lucky to have such wonderful treasures.”

In one off-topic question, the teenage directors politely asked the duchess to name her “favourite movie”.

She told them: “It’s one that was made long before any of you were born called Gigi.

“Probably all the people in it are dead now because I’m so old. It’s a lovely musical.”

The prince and the duchess’ tour of Egypt ended with a torrential but short shower at Borg el-Arab Airport.

As they stepped from their motorcade the heavens opened and umbrellas were swiftly produced to shelter the royal couple as they walked up the plane’s steps.

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