Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have been accused of disrespecting skilled Inuit throat singers after they were filmed unable to contain their laughter during a traditional welcome ceremony in Canada.
Footage from the official welcome ceremony at Nunavut Legislative Assembley in Iqaluit, Canada on Thursday showed Charles and Camilla giggling like schoolchildren as a couple of female Inuit singers performed an indigenous throat-singing activity in front of them. The royal pair struggled to maintain their composure, with Camilla covering her mouth in an attempt to stifle her reaction and Prince Charles trying to keep a straight face by scratching his nose. At one point, Camilla, wearing a headscarf and sunglasses, caught Charles’s eye and began cry-laughing. Charles joined in, chuckling in the middle of the performance.
Metro notes that it’s unclear if the performers were aware of Charles’s and Camilla’s reactions, but they continued on like professionals.
Meanwhile, the royal couple have been accused of showing a lack of understanding of the traditional welcome ceremony and a lack of respect for the Inuit performers. British media have been particularly harsh with the two. The Daily Mail called Prince Charles the “prince of wails” while the Daily Express called the pair’s behavior “embarrassing.”
After the footage was posted on YouTube, hundreds stormed the comments section to criticize Charles’s and Camilla’s actions.
“They just show how ignorant they are!” one YouTube user wrote.
“Wow, total disrespect. [T]hey should issue an apology!” another said.
Another pointed out that Prince Charles and Camilla should have held back their laughter and noted that among the people on the stage, only the two were laughing. The commenter noted that Charles’s son, Prince William, and William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, did a better job when they met with indigenous people during their trips to Canada.
“They were professional, respectful and inclusive; unlike those two immature children giggling at the wrong time and place.”
“Bad form from Charles & Camilla. Hurtful & unexpectedly immature,” someone wrote on Twitter.
But there were also those who were quick to defend the prince and his wife, saying that the whole point of the performance was to get people laughing.
Inuit throat-singing or katajjaq is a unique musical performance that involves two singers, usually female, performing a duet and competing to see who can last the longest. It involves having to produce two or more notes at the same time and is a very difficult breathing skill to master. During the competition, the first performer to laugh, stop singing, or run out of breath loses.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Canada on Thursday and ended their royal visit in Ottawa during the weekend. Their trip coincided with the country’s celebration of its 150th birthday.
The footage of Charles and Camilla laughing during the welcome ceremony comes on the heels of a royal biographer recently revealing that the couple’s initial attraction was based off their shared sense of humor.
[Featured Image by KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images]