Royal tours 'aren't a holiday’ says Duchess of Cornwall - but she’s still got ‘snap in her celery’

“We might be dressed up and photographed against the pyramids - but we are not on holiday.” Credit: AP

The Duchess of Cornwall has insisted royal tours, like the one she has just completed with Prince Charles, are ‘not a holiday’ and are focussed on doing work for the country.

Camilla was speaking while flying back from the four-day tour to Jordan and Egypt, the first overseas tour for any member of the Royal Family since the pandemic.

“Once you get started”, she said, “you slightly remember you have done it before” and admitted to the visit to two Middle East countries having “gone in a flash”.

After being filmed and followed around the Pyramids in Egypt, ancient sites in Jordan and meeting Kings and Presidents as well as children in a library, she admitted to feeling relieved that she can still do all of it “well into her seventies”.

“I like to think we have still got a snap in our celery”, she said, referring to a phrase used recently when she attended the Oldies of the Year awards in London.

Listen to the latest episode of ITV News's The Royal Rota podcast on Charles and Camilla's tour of the Middle East:

She is currently 74 years old and Charles, 74, and the tours can be both physically and mentally testing - even for those of much less advanced years from their office or from the media.

This four-day tour began in Amman in Jordan, moved to an ancient site at the border with Syria and then took in the Egyptian capital Cairo and Mediterranean port of Alexandria.

It included walking around the ruins of Umm Qais, the site of the ancient city of Gadara which dates back to the 4th Century BCm as well as the famous Giza Pyramids and Sphinx near Cairo.

“We are not on holiday”, the Duchess said.

“We might be dressed up and photographed against the pyramids like tourists - but we are not on holiday.”

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive to meet the president of Egypt in Cairo Credit: PA

Camilla described Royal Tours in a different way.

“We are working for the government and country and trying to make a difference”, she insisted.

Jordan, she said, “has been a great ally for 100 years and we want to celebrate this.”

Prince Charles spoke at a reception in Jordan to mark its formation a century ago.

The Emirate of Transjordan was created in 1921 as a British protectorate when the UK and France were redrawing the map of the Middle East after the First World War.

The Prince spoke of the bonds between Britain and Jordan and the close ties his mother, the Queen, enjoyed with Jordan’s former King Hussein who both ascended to their respective thrones in 1952.

The schedules in each country are crammed with visits and the Prince used many of them to press home the urgent need to tackle climate change following the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow and next year’s COP27 summit, which is being hosted by Egypt.

The Egyptian environment minister was at some of the engagements in Cairo and Prince Charles took the opportunity to use his visit as a way of getting politicians and scientists into the same room.

His speech overlooking the pyramids was attended by Egypt’s prime minister and nine other government ministers.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets children during a walking tour of Umm Qais in Jordan Credit: PA

Camilla also does a lot of work to promote the education of women and girls and to highlight the problem of gender-based violence.

She attended a women’s centre in Amman with Jordan’s Queen consort, Queen Rania.

Camilla also spoke about the lockdown and how so many people have “been at home working” and that meant on this tour, the first for nearly two years, it felt “quite strange to up sticks” and set off overseas again.

The couple - as well as palace aides, diplomats and the press - travelled on board an RAF plane, a Voyager, which is used for senior members of the Royal Family and the prime minister on official business.