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Camilla closes eyes to Sikh rite

The Duchess of Cornwall doesn't have the stomach for surprises, especially the martial kind, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 19:06 IST
Vijay Dutt

Prince Charles might be the quintessential British – unflappable whatever the circumstance – but wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, doesn't seem to have the stomach for surprises, especially of the martial kind.

So when a blindfolded Uptej Singh raised his sword to slice through a melon placed on a trusting colleague’s chest at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Hounslow, Camilla cringed and covered her eyes with her hands.

Even Prince Charles gripped the arm of his chair as the scimitar flashed. Uptej, a42-year-old IT engineer was taking part in a spectacular martial arts to mark Hola Mohalla – whereSikhs practise military exercises and stage mock battles to mark their warrior heritage. The ceremony also marked Commonwealth Day in London.

The sword, however, landed with perfection, cleaving the melon into two, much to the relief of the royal couple.

Prince Charles could not help laughing when Uptej Singh later told him, "Don't try this at home."

The Prince joked too, "I'm so glad thatthe Health and Safety Executive have managed to clear the way in which thisextraordinary demonstration was carried out."

First Published: Mar 18, 2006 19:06 IST