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Prince Charles calls for protection of planet during Cairo visit

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pose in front of the Sphinx. Source: Reuters.

CAIRO: Britain’s Prince Charles appealed for a common effort to preserve the environment after visiting historic Cairo and the Giza pyramids on the first of a two-day trip to Egypt.

After arriving in the Egyptian capital from Jordan, Charles and his wife Camilla were received by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and First Lady Entissar Amer before heading to Al Azhar, the 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam learning.

Later, the prince met students who were studying at the Al-Azhar Mosque. “The most important thing is to emphasise what we have in common not what divides us,” the prince said to one group of women. “Do remember that we share so much.”

In comments during an evening reception at a restaurant overlooking the pyramids, Charles, 73, said ancient Egyptians understood the sacred geometry of nature and that this knowledge was essential to life and death. “Like our rather more modest ancient stone circles in England, the pyramids remind us of a connection to our planet that we have over time forgotten,” he said.

The heir to the British throne said that during meetings with Al Azhar’s Grand Imam and some of its students and teachers he had been reminded of the many Koranic verses that speak of the importance of caring for the planet. “We should heed such wisdom and rediscover a sense of the sacred by learning to live within the bounds of nature, rather than thinking we can go on ignoring it,” he said.

Britain would be with Egypt, which is due to host next year’s COP27 climate summit, in the “epic struggle to protect and restore our environment”, he said. Charles said he had also had the “special pleasure” of meeting one of Cairo’s remaining craftsmen with the knowledge to make traditional minbars, or mosque pulpits.

He also attended a multi-faith reception with Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb and Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Alexandria Dr Samy Fawzy. The Middle Eastern trip is the first overseas tour by senior British royals since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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