Charles & Camilla in Malaysia – organgutans, religious temples & Jimmy Choo

Throughout this week, Prince Charles and Camilla have been continuing their tour of south-east Asia, spending four working days in Malaysia. It is the couple’s first visit to the country.

The first day, following on from a quick stop in Brunei, saw The Prince of Wales tour the national Islamic Arts Museum with the ruler of the state of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, on 3rd November.

Interestingly, Clarence House revealed that Charles has been learning to read and write Arabic for around six years, stemming from his interest in the culture and its art.

The Duchess of Cornwall recently met the Sultan at Oxford University, when a new centre named after him was opened.

prince charles – who has been learning arabic – views art at the islamic art centre with the sultan of perak (clarence house)

“For me, ladies and gentlemen, this museum serves as a reminder of just how important it is that all societies are able to preserve – and be proud of – their cultural heritage,” the Prince told guests.

“I am particularly delighted that the Museum has such strong connections with my own School of Traditional Arts which itself aims to ensure that traditional arts and skills continue to enrich our changing world.”

As her husband enjoyed the local art, the Duchess visited the International School ParkCity, joined by Raja Zarith Sofiah, The Queen of Johor. Camilla toured the campus and officially opened the new building, by signing a commemorative plaque.

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The Duchess of Cornwall then met students who were engaging in a creative writing workshop for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. Back in Singapore, she had met a runner up from a previous year.

Prince Charles then moved on to WORQ, a co-working space for start-up companies. He met with entrepreneurs and students who were showcasing products of their design.

the prince of wales meets with young entrepreneurs in malaysia (clarence house)

Camilla’s afternoon saw her head to PERMATA Negara, whose programmes were founded by the First Lady of Malaysia with the objective of providing a platform that enables children to achieve their potential through cultural learning.

The Duchess met children who were decorating flower eggs and watched cultural performances by the students.

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The University of Nottingham’s Malaysia campus welcomed the future King to open the Commonwealth Youth Summit to end his day.

Regrouping, the Prince and Duchess met The King of Malaysia, The Yang di-Pertuan Agong XV Sultan Muhammad V, at Istana Negara.

charles and camilla met the king of malaysia (clarence house)

The evening saw a dinner in honour of the royal visit, hosted by by The Agong (King) of Malaysia and the heads of the Malaysian Royal Households, and attended by dignitaries and even shoe designer, Jimmy Choo!

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He made Camilla’s shoes for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 wedding. Speaking of The Duchess of Cornwall, Choo said: “She is a style icon. She dresses wonderfully and has impeccable taste – well she chose me, didn’t she?”

The designer was helped by the Prince’s Trust when setting up his business. “He is a truly amazing man,” said Mr Choo of Prince Charles. “What he does for charity is remarkable. What people don’t realise is that he actually helped me when I was a young man.
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“The factory I was working in, a shoe factory, had closed. His Prince’s Trust gave me £40 a week to help me and I used it to start my business. I would probably have been on the dole now had it not been for him.”

The 4th November saw the couple attend church in Kuala Lumpur. St Mary’s Cathedral hosted the service in honour of the Prince and Duchess.

The sermon was given by the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in South-East Asia, the Most Reverend Datuk Ng Moon Hing, who paid tribute to the missionaries who brought Christianity to the region and the efforts of British troops in Malaysia during the 20th century.

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The royal couple signed the visitors’ book before departing.

After the service, The Duchess of Cornwall went to visit The Lost Food Project, an initiative hoping to stop food wastage. The organisation reclaims high-quality surplus food from supermarkets and manufacturers and distributes them to a variety of charities. 5,000 meals a month are created from this food, minimising waste and composting any food unfit for consumption.

Camilla helped chop up strips of papaya, adding a squeeze of lime, and dished it up with plates of rice, curry and vegetables to the Lighthouse Children’s Welfare Home.

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“This looks and smells delicious, I think we should stay for lunch,” she commented.

The home houses 60 disadvantaged children, from ages 1 to 18.

The royal guest giggled when she was given a tea towel reading “HRH The Duchess of Cornwall”.

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The Prince of Wales was visiting the Taiping Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery as his wife dished up lunch. It is one of 35 Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemeteries in Malaysia, created by the British Army after the defeat of Japan.

prince charles at Taiping cemetery in malaysia (clarence house)

Charles laid wreaths at both the Muslim Cemetery and Christian Cemetery, and met with locals and military personnel there.

Later in the afternoon, the future King attended a Conservation Summit at the Royal Belem State Park, accompanied by the Sultan of Perak, to discuss current conservation issues, showcase success stories and to deliberate possible new and innovative solutions to emerging issues confronting Malaysia over the next two decades. It was hosted by WWF.

The Prince of Wales participated in discussions on the Central Forest Spine, the Coral Triangle and the Heart of Borneo.

a tour on Temenggor Lake for prince charles (clarence house)

Temenggor Lake was next on Prince Charles’ agenda, where he had a narrated tour on the area’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife. The Prince also heard about the park’s work to prevent poaching and illegal wildlife trade activity.

The 5th November was a rest day for the very busy couple!

Returning to work on the 6th, Charles and Camilla were welcomed to Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching with a traditional dance performance.
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The village is a living museum that showcases the lifestyles and customs of indigenous tribes from the state of Sarawak, and the couple were shown examples of traditional Sarawak dwellings, cooking and craft demonstrations.

The Prince of Wales tried to use a blowpipe, used for hunting, usually with a poison dart. It is used by the Penan people and others to hunt everything from wild boar and lizards to monkeys.

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Those who watched the Prince called him a ‘natural’, as Camilla looked on, amused.

The Prince and Duchess were also given a ride on an elaborate raft across the village lake.

Following this, Charles went to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in the heart of the Borneo rainforest. In a regular feeding location for the orangutans who are rehabilitated at the centre, the Royal handed over a banana to one hungry ape.

Orangutans are only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra and are threatened because of the destruction of their habitats for logging, mining and sometimes due to forest fires. Prince Charles is a passionate conservationist to protect animals like the orangutan.

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7th November saw Prince Charles and Camilla head to Penang, where they expereinced four different religions in one day! This was a celebration of the diversity of the region.

Firstly, they visited St George’s Church, which has been declared as one of the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia, before heading to Kapitan Keling Mosque, where the couple learnt about its history and architecture.

prince charles and camilla at st goerge’s church (clarence house)

Next came the Buddhist Han Jiang Temple, followed by the Hindu Sri Mahamariamman temple. Here they were given elaborate garlands.

All of these places of worship are located in a small area, commonly known as Street of Harmony.

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After this meander into various religious sectors, Prince Charles took part in a discussion at Seven Terraces in George Town, a hotel built from restored 19th century terraced houses, talking about heritage.

The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Teochew Puppet and Opera House, which aims to preserve traditional Chinese skills from its home in Penang, Malaysia.

Camilla posed for a photograph with the women wearing the elaborate make-up, headdresses and colourful costumes of Chinese opera performers. Inside, she was shown props and puppets, as well as musical instruments.

The Prince of Wales went to visit the Royal Malaysia Armed Forces Butterworth base, where he met with a British amateur diver who has been helping to safeguard two historic Second World War battleships, which sunk off the Malaysian coast.

HMS Prince of Wales, where Churchill and Roosevelt signed the Atlantic Charter, and HMS Repulse both sank near Kuantan, Pahang, on December 10, 1941. Stephen Flew, 54, has been diving to the wrecks as a hobby, also keeping an eye out for scrap metal scavengers, who have been targeting the vessels, which are now teeming with marine life.

A former patron of the British Sub-Aqua Club, Prince Charles was keen to hear about their training; Prince William is now patron.

In the evening, the future King and Queen attended a reception to celebrate Malaysian art and culture.

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Charles and Camilla then travelled to India to complete their tour.

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