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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prince Visits Almaty

ALMATY, Kazakhstan () -- Prince Charles, touring far-flung Central Asia to promote British business interests, took time to talk to architects and environmentalists in the Kazakh capital Almaty on Friday.

Schoolchildren waved flags as the prince strolled amid tight security around Panfilov Park in the center of the city and visited the wooden Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Asked by the children where his crown was, the heir to the British throne, who was wearing a dark pinstripe suit, quipped: "I keep a fold-up one in my pocket."

An aide said the prince was visiting the former Soviet republics of Central Asia to promote British business interests and "soak up the atmosphere." He is the second and most senior member of the British royal family to visit the region since it broke away from Moscow in 1991.

Officials briefed the royal visitor on Almaty's environmental problems and he met students at the city's school of architecture.

Charles arrived in Almaty from Turkmenistan where he had been shown the desert nation's famous Akhal Tekke horses and visited the old Silk Road town of Mary, around 300 kilometers east of the capital Ashkhabad.

He now travels on to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where he plans to visit the mosques and bazaars of Osh, Samarkand and Bukhara.