KUALA LUMPUR: Prince Albert II of Monaco was accorded a state welcome at Istana Negara in conjunction with his four-day inaugural state visit to Malaysia.
Upon his arrival at 11am yesterday, the Prince of Monaco and his delegation were greeted by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, along with other Cabinet ministers and top government officials, were also present to welcome the distinguished guests.
The welcoming ceremony commenced with the Royal Malaysian Air Force central band performing the national anthems of both Monaco and Malaysia, followed by a 21-gun salute.
Prince Albert then inspected a guard of honour comprising four officers and 103 rank-and-file personnel from the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment.
As a symbol of unity and friendship, Prince Albert and the King then planted Pokok Keranji (scientific name: Dialium indum), a fruit tree, in the palace courtyard.
The royals then proceeded to a meeting, during which they discussed matters concerning bilateral relations.
In conjunction with the visit, Bernama reported that Sultan Abdullah also conferred the nation’s highest award, the Most Exalted Order of the Crown of the Realm (DMN), and the First Class Family Order of the Crown of Indra of Pahang to the Prince.
Prince Albert conferred the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with Monaco’s highest order, the Grand-Croix de l’Ordre de Saint-Charles.
To further commemorate the occasion, the King and Queen also hosted a state banquet in honour of the Monaco Prince and his delegation.
Since his arrival on Monday, Prince Albert, who was accompanied by ministers, senior officials and a business delegation, launched the Monaco Honorary Consul Office and visited the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
Before leaving for home tomorrow, Prince Albert is also scheduled to visit the Malayan Tiger Conservation Centre and the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre in Pahang.
In a statement, Wisma Putra said the visit by the Prince held significant importance as it provided an excellent opportunity for Monaco and Malaysia to further strengthen relations, with prospects for future collaboration in various fields.