Prince Charles ‘visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth was canceled at the last minute by the Department of Defense – which was meant to be the highlight of the last day of the Royals’ Middle East tour.
The voyage was drawn to one of the ships F35 stealth aircraft crashed on Wednesday.
Hours before his arrival on board, Clarence House said, “The visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth has been canceled for operational reasons.”
Despite this disappointment, the prince was received with loud applause on Friday on the Greek campus in the middle of Cairo.
Groups of business people and young entrepreneurs jostled each other personally for a few moments, the prince eager to tell everyone about his initiative for sustainable markets and his big push to work more closely together companies and governments to cope with the climate crisis.
In Egypt, the crowds have certainly come to see them, in part I suspect because so many roads in Cairo and Alexandria were closed, the convoy and security increased significantly.
But the first major overseas tour since the beginning of the pandemic would always attract more attention than other visits, and Prinz Charles and Camilla ticked all the boxes that would have expected number 10 and the Foreign Office.
Finally, the government visited Egypt and Jordan. There was a lot of discussion about common interests, close working relationships and friendships.
There were the great moments at the point on the banks of the Jordan where Jesus Christ is believed to have been baptized, and the pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza.
The prince was able to speak at length about his primary passions, how we are coping with the climate crisis and promoting interreligious dialogue; Whether he raised the human rights issue with Egypt’s controversial President Sisi is less clear.
With fewer column inches, the Duchess of Cornwall has also done her fair share of quiet diplomatic work, refocusing on the promotion of women and children’s rights, including the British Council’s visiting projects.
It was something special to see how Camilla walks up six narrow flights of stairs in a run-down apartment block in the middle of one of Cairo’s largest slums and meets women on the roof who are supported in their search for work.
As hard as the palace plans these tours, there are of course always things that do not go quite as expected.
The Queen’s discomfort has also put additional focus on the trip and her heirs – although he told me this week that she was “okay”. At home, too, there were headlines about the prince’s charitable foundation. Another story that has already overshadowed other engagements at home.
Prince Charles and Camilla keep smiling.
They were inundated with crowds and cameras as they exited the famous Alexandria Bibliotheca. Over the years the prince has developed a very thick fur and one thing is never in question, he always knew what to expect and what the future held.