The Prince of Wales showed the Saudi Royal family his dance moves when he took part in the time-honored sword dance called the “Ardah” during his three-day tour of the Middle East. Dressed in traditional Arab clothing called a “thobe”, Prince Charles enthusiastically performed the dance along with other male members of the Saudi Royals to commemorate the warrior tradition of the Shammar Tribe. In modern Saudi culture, the all-male performance features hundreds of young and old Saudi males dancing, singing, and brandishing swords.
This traditional ceremony takes place every year during the Janadriyah Festival, a 17-day event that celebrates Saudi culture and heritage. The Ardah, however, is also performed in other events such as weddings and national holidays. The dance symbolizes the importance of the warrior in the establishment of the Saudi kingdom. It is believed to have originated from the nomadic warriors’ practice of chanting with their swords to boost their courage or celebrate victory.
The 65-year old British monarch is also due to visit Qatar after his Saudi trip. He has visited the two nations twice this year already, and his trip to Saudi Arabia marks his tenth since he first arrived in the country officially 28 years ago. Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who is the former head of the Saudi Intelligence Service, served as Prince Charles’ host. Abdulaziz was also appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister by King Abdullah last year.
According to the Associated Press, Buckingham Palace released a statement confirming Prince Charles’ plans of meeting King Abdullah before heading off to his two-day visit to Qatar. Before the Prince’s arrival to Saudi Arabia, the British Ambassador Jon Jenkins said that Prince Charles intended to initiate discussions on reconciliation in the Middle Eastern region. The Prince of Wales has close ties to the Saudi Royal family. He was their guest of honor on his previous visit, which the Prince took as an opportunity to get to know the country better.
Image via Wikimedia Commons