Prince Charles strikes painfully awkward figure as he takes part in Middle Eastern knife dance

The royal joined hundreds of Saudi men in a ceremony at the start of his three-day tour of the Middle East

Granted, there is rarely a public appearance that goes by in which Prince Charles doesn’t look like a cardboard cut-out wearing a mask of his own face (Scroll Down To Watch The Video).

But last night, the royal put on a particularly awkward display when he indulged in a spot of knife dancing at the start of his three-day tour of the Middle East.

Swamped in a traditional Saudi full-length outfit known as a 'thobe', the first in line to the throne joined several members of the Saudi royal family in an Ardah ceremony celebrating the country's cultural heritage as part of the annual 17-day Janadriyah Festival in the capital of Riyadh.

And he made sure he got properly involved, too, thrusting his ceremonial dagger into the air and jigging along in time with hundreds of men and boys, his chequered headdress slipping to and fro and occasionally obscuring his vision.

The Prince's host for the event was Prince Mugrin bin Abdulaziz, the second deputy prime minister and the former head of the Saudi Intelligence service.

At the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the royal tour of the Middle East will continue with a fly-by to Gulf State Qatar.

Prince Charles' most recent jaunt comes less than a year after he made his 10th official trip to Saudi Arabia.

But the Prince of Wales' visit has led to a serious backlash, too. Human rights campaign groups like Amnesty International have lobbied the royal to raise concerns with key officials over human rights abuses in the country.

Most pointedly, the Saudi Arabian government has come under heavy criticism for its restriction on freedom of speech, a lack of a fair and open legal system and its repression of women’s rights.

Qatar is also under scrutiny for its human rights track record ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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