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Royals DO carry cash (but not enough!) Queen Camilla asks market vendors if she can settle up later after running out of shillings in Nairobi – after showing off her dance moves with local women


There’s an old tradition dating back to the 1500s that royals don’t carry cash, but it turns out that’s not quite true. 

Queen Camilla had her shilings ready when she enjoyed a spot of early Christmas shopping in a local Nairobi market earlier on day two of her official visist to Kenya with King Charles.

During a visit to an equine charity, the Queen was honoured with a robe and showed off her moves during a Masai dance.  

Then she browsed the local farmers market at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals, and showed her passion for jewellery by purchasing bracelets and necklaces designed by locals.

But after running out of money, for the rest of the Queen’s shopping spree an aide had to go round stall holders getting their details to pay them later. 

Queen Camilla met with local vendors at a farmers market at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals, and managed to squeeze in time for Christmas shopping

Queen Camilla met with local vendors at a farmers market at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals, and managed to squeeze in time for Christmas shopping 

She hadn’t expected to be honoured with robes or take part in a dance.

But Queen Camilla is always one to take things in her stride.

So when a group of ladies invited her to don a beautifully embroidered red cloak and join them as they sang and danced on a visit to an equine charity in Nairobi, Her majesty was more than happy to oblige.

With a cheery smile, the 76-year-old royal allowed the women to dress her and then, clasping the hands of one lady on each side, she walked through the dusty courtyard.

The Queen was wearing a beautiful cream shirt dress by Anna Valentine which, in a thoughtful gesture towards her hosts, featured embroidered giraffe panels.

The moment came as she visited a project in her role as patron of the equine welfare charity Brooke. It is currently working with the Kenyan Society for the Protection and Care of Animals to rescue working donkeys at risk and promote their welfare.

On her way in she met chair of the KSPCA Emma Ngugi and her rescued street dog, Sifu.

She is also known a Her Majesty for the way she sweetly rules the stables and it was therefore deemed ‘protocol’ that she should greet the other Her Majesty present on the day.

Camilla, who is also a great dog lover and has two rescues of her own, couldn’t resist bending down to give her a stroke.

While at the sanctuary Queen Camilla indulged in some early Christmas shopping – only to find out she had run out off cash.

Community members presented Queen Camilla with a shuka, an embroidered robe, at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals today. Her majesty is pictured above in the special attire

Community members presented Queen Camilla with a shuka, an embroidered robe, at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals today. Her majesty is pictured above in the special attire 

Camilla petted a dog who bore the same name, Her Majesty Sifu (pictured), during a visit to the Brooke Donkey Sanctuary in Nairobi

Camilla petted a dog who bore the same name, Her Majesty Sifu (pictured), during a visit to the Brooke Donkey Sanctuary in Nairobi

Camilla, who is also a great dog lover and has two rescues of her own, couldn’t resist bending down to give her a stroke

Camilla, who is also a great dog lover and has two rescues of her own, couldn’t resist bending down to give her a stroke

She bought jewellery, a blanket, a basket, hand creams and some cashew butter from a temporary market at the sanctuary.

She started off by using the cash held by an aide to pay 4,000 Kenyan shillings for the sisal basket made by Grace Maina. ‘It’s beautiful!’ the Queen told her. ‘I think I should buy one.’

But by the time she bought a blanket from another stall her aide only had enough cash to pay for half.

For the rest of the Queen’s shopping spree the aide had to go round stall holders getting their details to pay them later.

At one stall run by Shininah Dajom the Queen spotted a jar of cashew butter and said: ‘That’s one up on peanut butter!’

Camilla enjoyed a shopping trip at the local market, where she got a head start on her Christmas shopping

Camilla enjoyed a shopping trip at the local market, where she got a head start on her Christmas shopping 

Camilla later visited a donkey sanctuary in the local area, which is working towards the protection of donkeys and promoting their welfare, in Karen District of Nairobi

Camilla later visited a donkey sanctuary in the local area, which is working towards the protection of donkeys and promoting their welfare, in Karen District of Nairobi

Dajom was unperturbed when she realised she would have to be paid the 3,000 shillings later. ‘What that means is that the money is in the bank, not in the hand,’ she laughed. She added later: ‘Her Majesty’s credit is very good!’

But she also quickly realised that she had missed a good business opportunity. ‘Perhaps they should pay me 3,000 sterling pounds,’ she joked.

At one point, as aides lugged her wares, the Queen said: ‘Beautiful things,’ before adding: ‘I’ve got a rather large haul.’

Sam Semat, who ran the jewellery stall, revealed that she had bought three bracelets and one pair of earrings.

‘She asked me what materials they are made from,’ he said afterwards.

‘She also asked what impact it would have on me if she buys. I told her it is good for employment.

‘She said she was doing her Christmas shopping.’

Camilla was able to see the animals up close, after learning about how the charity is improving their welfare

Camilla was able to see the animals up close, after learning about how the charity is improving their welfare 

During the visit to the Brooke Donkey Sanctuary, Camilla also heard how women use local materials including sisal to make harnesses for donkeys

During the visit to the Brooke Donkey Sanctuary, Camilla also heard how women use local materials including sisal to make harnesses for donkeys

The sanctuary is run by the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals (KSPCA) in partnership with the equine charity Brooke East Africa. The Queen is president of Brooke. 

As she arrived she was introduced to the sanctuary’s rescue dog Sifu, who is nicknamed Her Royal Highness. Emma Ngugi, chair of KSPCA, said later: ‘I introduced my human colleague first, because it seems polite. Then I said to the Queen, ‘Protocol dictates that I also have to introduce you to Her Royal Highness, Queen of the KSPCA Sifu’ At that point Sifu obligingly presented for a tummy rub, and the Queen had a little cuddle.’

In the centre’s veterinary clinic Queen met an ex-champion racehorse called Pardon Me Nicely who was rescued after being abused and a donkey called Olekisasi who was a recent rescue.

As the Queen went to stroke the donkey, who was more interested in eating his lunch than paying attention to the royal visitor, she said: ‘He looks very happy – he has got a whole crate of carrots.’

As the Queen heard how Olekisasi had been found trapped in a ditch, she said: ‘How terrible.’

She also heard how women use local materials including sisal to make harnesses for donkeys. As she watched a donkey being fitted with his harness, she said: ‘It makes it much more comfortable [for them].’

As she watched that donkey also tuck into a bucket of carrots, she tried to give him one herself, but without success. ‘Have another one!’ she said. ‘No? His mouth is much too full!’

As she ended the engagement with singing and dancing she was asked to wear the ceremonial red cloak she was given by a group of Maasai women: ‘That’s very kind. Do I get to keep this? ‘



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