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Prince Charles takes part in Saudi Arabian sword dance

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Media captionPrince Charles, wearing a traditional Saudi uniform, danced with a sword

The Prince of Wales wore traditional robes and carried a sword as he took part in a ceremony as part of a festival of culture in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Charles joined members of the Saudi royal family for the Ardah - or sword dance - in the capital Riyadh.

The prince wore a traditional ankle-length garment, known as a "thobe", for the all-male ceremony which is usually performed at events such as weddings.

He is touring the Middle East, where he is visiting Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

10th trip

It is his second visit to the two nations in just under a year and his 10th official trip to Saudi since he first toured the nation in 1986.

The Ardah features hundreds of Saudi Arabian men and boys dancing and singing in formation with swords in hand.

The ceremony was performed to celebrate the Janadriyah Festival, an annual cultural event lasting about two weeks which marks all aspects of Saudi life and is being held this week in Riyadh.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The prince was taking part in the annual Janadriyah Festival, a celebration of Saudi culture and heritage
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The event took place at a stadium in the Saudi capital of Riyadh
Image copyright AFP/getty images
Image caption AP reported Buckingham Palace as saying the prince plans to meet the Saudi king before a two-day visit to Qatar

The prince's host was Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the former head of the Saudi intelligence service who was named as the second deputy prime minister by King Abdullah last year.

The Associated Press news agency reported a Buckingham Palace statement that said the prince had also planned to meet the Saudi king before he heads to Qatar for a two-day visit.

British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jon Jenkins had said in a statement prior to the prince's visit that the royals were expected to discuss the need for reconciliation in the region and their hopes for its future, AP said.