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Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana sailed through the...

By
NAGUIB MEGALLY

PORT SUEZ, Egypt -- Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana sailed through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia today to bring their 2-week honeymoon cruise to a happy ending.

The yacht carried the heir to the British throne and his beautiful bride to the 'Sea of Corals' after a 15-hour voyage through the Suez Canal that cost the British treasury $16,000 in tolls.

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The luxurious 5,000-ton yacht, heading a convoy of 30 vessels, left Port Said at the canal's northern end shortly before midnight Wednesday and after a 5-hour stop in the Great Bitter Lakes, reached the canal's southern end at 3:15 p.m.

As the yacht sailed past Port Suez and into the Red Sea, Charles and Diana appeared at the rails to look at the scores of Egyptians and journalists who turned out to see them off.

Both appeared suntanned and happy. Diana wore a pink summer dress and Charles a blue shirt and white shorts. Then, the convoy slowed down and a motor launch brought to the Britannia a bouquet of roses and lilies sent by five Suez City couples who happened to be getting married Thursday evening.

Security measures were strict in Suez City and also in the area around the Bitter Lakes where the convoy stopped to allow another convoy, moving in the opposite direction, to pass.

While in Port Said the royal couple had dinner with President and Mrs. Anwar Sadat.

The royal couple were given a tumultuous welcome by thousands of Egyptians who thronged the waterfront, as fireworks lit the night sky. But the highlight was the dinner hosted by Charles and Diana aboard the 5,000-ton luxury yacht.

Sadat and his wife, Jihan, arrived in a motor-launch flying Egyptian and British colors. They shook hands warmly, as the crowds cheered, and then went inside for a dinner of lamb, fish and fruit that sources said was 'tailored to Sadat's simple tastes.'

British ambassador Sir Michael Weir, who dined with them, said, 'It was very, very delightful, something like a family occasion.'

Sadat awarded Charles the Order of the Republic, First Class, one of Egypt's highest decorations. The governor of Port Said presented him with the key of the city and gave Diana a silver box with Arabic inscriptions.

After the Sadats disembarked, Charles and Diana stayed on deck waving and smilingly at crowds who ignored sweltering 87-degree heat to catch a glimpse of the bride and bridegroom.

Nearly an hour later the Britannia, leading a convoy of 30 ships, started its 15-hour journey through the 103-mile-long canal.

The canal, which once included one of Britain's largest military bases, was evacuated in June 1956. British troops returned Oct. 31 of the same year during the crisis over the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company.

Port Said bore the brunt of the Anglo-French intervention, which ended in December 1956, and to many Egyptians became the symbol of resistance against imperialism.

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