Abu Dhabi: The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall kicked off their three-day tour of the UAE with a visit to Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, welcomed the British royal couple before they attended a meeting on religious tolerance inside the mosque.
Known for his appreciation of art and culture, Prince Charles and Camilla walked around the architectural master piece, seemingly admiring its distinctive features. After a short stop in front of the media, they headed to another part of the grounds where they signed the guest book.
In line with the theme of the visit, religion tolerance, members of a number of faiths were invited to meet the royal couple. They shook hands and spoke the 50 or so people gathered at the mosque.
"The Duchess was just so humble, and she spent a good time chatting to us...this was such a special experience for us," said Sara Saeed Al Hameli, President of the Zayed University Student Council, who met Camilla at the event along with her fellow students.
Al Hameli said the Duchess told them that she was very impressed with the sheer number of women that are in leadership positions in the UAE.
"She said she had never seen that in any other country...she also said she was very impressed with people's positive attitudes in the UAE," added Al Hameli.
The couple are scheduled to attend the inauguration of the UK-UAE Year of Culture at Jahili Fort in Al Ain on Monday as well as a number of other events.
Their packed schedule in the emirate of Abu Dhabi will see them part ways at times. Prince Charles is expected to visit Masdar City while Camilla will tour the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, attend a Women's Empowerment Conference in the Capital and visit the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.
Charles and Camilla are on a week-long tour of the region which started in Oman on Saturday and are expected to visit Bahrain later.
This was the couple's second visit to the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and the eighth time Prince Charles is visiting the UAE since his first tour in 1989.