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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 10:26 GMT
Charles homeward bound after tour
Prince Charles with 104-year-old Bechu Prasad
Bechu Prasad was born in the same year as the Queen Mother
Prince Charles is on his way home to be reunited with bride-to-be Camilla Parker Bowles after a two week tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

He spent the final day of his tour in Fiji on Castaway Island where he met the country's oldest resident, 104-year-old Bechu Prasad.

More than 5,000 people gathered to see him at the Prince Charles Park stadium for a traditional ceremony.

The prince visited Fiji to see work done to protect its threatened coral.

Humid climate

The prince arrived in the island on a speedboat, enduring the hot and humid climate in a suit and tie, and was greeted by singing islanders.

He watched divers examining the coral as part of an environmental survey.

Later, hundreds of schoolchildren lined the streets to wave at the royal visitor as he visited the city of Laukota.

When he met 104-year-old Mr Prasad he told him: "I hope I live as long as you."

Punjab-born Mr Prasad did most of the talking, waggling his finger at Charles.

Mr Prasad, who has a strong media profile in Fiji thanks to his appearance in numerous television adverts, was born in the same year as the Queen Mother.

Marching bands

Later at the Prince Charles Park rugby and football stadium, in Nadi, the prince was treated to a traditional beating the retreat ceremony as the sun was setting.

The venue was built for Charles' visit to the country in 1970.

Spectators spilled onto the grass verges to see him watch the marching military bands and parading Fijian troops.

Shortly after the event, the prince left for the UK.

He is due to arrive back on Saturday morning and is expected to spend the weekend at countryside retreat Highgrove, Gloucestershire, with fiancee Mrs Parker Bowles.

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