Our royals roll out red carpet for their royals

06 November 2011 - 04:50 By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER and BIENNE HUISMAN

PRINCE Charles and his wife Camilla wrapped up their whirlwind tour of South Africa yesterday with a generous dollop of humour.

Pimms and lemonade flowed freely as the Prince of Wales stroked sheep on the manicured lawns of Cape Town's colonial five-star hotel, the Mount Nelson.

Charles, a campaigner for the environment and the benefits of wool as a sustainable resource, charmed onlookers with a short speech.

"The final straw for me was when I heard, to my horror, of a new type of sheep that sheds its wool by itself," he joked.

The Duchess of Cornwall was touring Masiphumelele, an informal settlement near Fish Hoek. Earlier Charles had donned a bib and hard hat while cruising on a fishing boat in the city's harbour - and asked the crew if they ever got tired of eating fish.

The royal couple were whisked between stops including Kirstenbosch Gardens, the University of Cape Town and township community centres.

The royals will fly to Tanzania today and take part in celebrations for the country's 50th anniversary of independence.

They arrived in South Africa on Wednesday at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma, and visited Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town on a trip which focused on trade, investment, education and ecological issues.

Charles last officially visited South Africa in 1997 with his son Prince Harry. This was Camilla's first official visit.

The couple were hosted by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and his partner, Gugu Mtshali, at a dinner on Thursday.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, meanwhile, told Charles on Friday about rampant rhino poaching in South Africa.

Charles and Camilla dined at Ondini Palace in Ulundi, northern KwaZulu-Natal, where a traditional Zulu repast of tripe, steamed bread, beans and maize meal was served.

Also on the menu was roast chicken, rosemary and garlic leg of lamb, and beef curry with creamed spinach, butternut and potatoes.

Others who dined in the air-conditioned glass marquee included premier Zweli Mkhize and his wife May, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Goodwill's wives Queen Thandi Ndlovu, Queen Zola Mafu and Queen Buhle Mathe.

Charles and Camilla were greeted at the palace by an honour guard of Zulu warriors in traditional dress, and serenaded by royal praise-singers.

Charles, in a speech referring to the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war, said: "I had been really looking forward to coming here on this occasion with my wife.

"It is a particular pleasure to return during this hugely important year, as your majesty [King Goodwill] is celebrating the 40th anniversary of your reign."

Charles presented King Goodwill with a silver cup as "testament to the connection between both royal families". Britain' s Queen Victoria gave King Cetshwayo a similar gift when the Zulu king visited her in 1882.

"Our relationship hasn't always been entirely smooth but it has always been characterised by deep admiration and respect," Charles said.

Charles was invited to the re-enactment of the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana - in which Zulu warriors inflicted a telling defeat on better-armed British forces - in January next year.

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