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When fear gripped Camilla

Duchess of Cornwall covered her face as a blindfolded Uptej Singh tried to cut a melon put on a colleague's chest, says Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 19:21 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

After decades of witnessing dramatic events all over the world, it will take a lot to surprise Prince Charles or make him tense. The same cannot be said about his new wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

She put her hand to cover her face as 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.

She would have preferred to be herself blindfolded. She made it obvious that she was afraid to look at what was about to happen. But the wonder was that even Prince Charles gripped the arm of his chair as roll of drums reached the crescendo and the scimitar flashed.

Uptej Singh, a 42-year-old IT engineer was taking part in a spectacular martial arts to mark Hola Mohalla, when Sikhs practise military exercises and stage mock battles, characterising their warrior heritage. It also marked Commonwealth Day in London.

The slicing was however perfect 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 that the Health and Safety Executive have managed to clear the way in which this extraordinary demonstration was carried out."

He also witnessed the traditional martial art Gatka, which was originally practised by Sikhs to defend themselves against the Mogul invaders.

First Published: Mar 14, 2006 19:21 IST