Prince Charles bored Turkish schoolchildren with a speech on poetry and religious tolerance yesterday (26.11.07).

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Charles was forced to talk over many of the 3,000 school children who gave up listening and started chatting amongst themselves during his 15-minute talk at Konya’s Mevlana Cultural Centre, in southern Turkey.

According to the Daily Express, even Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, fidgeted and constantly glanced at her watch throughout the address.

The speech – in which the prince quoted from the Islamic holy book the Koran – was written for Islamic scholars and religious students, but the local mayor invited parties of schoolchildren to attend the event.

Royal aides blamed teachers for not keeping the children in order. One said: ‘You’d think they could control their pupils.’

Charles and Camilla were visited Konya to mark the 800th anniversary of the birth of Muslim poet and philosopher Celaleddin Rumi, whose followers created the city’s traditional dance of the Whirling Dervish.

Charles – who had been invited to participate in the celebrations by Konya’s Metropolitan Municipality – was accompanied by an entourage of 24, including his wife.

Charles and Camilla were given a tour of the Mevlana Museum and then watched a show of Whirling Dervishes held in their honour at the Mevlana Cultural Centre.

The dance involves raising one arm in the air and pointing the other at the ground, while spinning around repeatedly to induce a trance-like state of meditation.

After the performance the prince gave his speech during which one despairing man in the audience, sitting behind Camilla, held his head in his hands.

Earlier in the day, Charles and Camilla visited the mausoleum where the remains of Rumi lie.

The royal couple are on a five-day tour of Turkey at the request of Britain’s Foreign Office, who hope the visit will help to strengthen relations with the government in Ankara as protection against Islamic extremism.

It is also hoped the trip will show Turkey they are welcome as members of the European Union.