The Prince of Wales and Robert Mugabe discussed women in general and the charms of Ghanaian girls in particular during their "courteous" encounter at the Pope's funeral, the Zimbabwean leader claimed yesterday.
Mr Mugabe, 81, gave a detailed account of his chance meeting with Prince Charles when he addressed the ruling Zanu-PF party's 240-strong central committee in Harare.
"We were discussing, you know, about girls," Mr Mugabe told Zanu-PF's supreme policy-making body, according to Zimbabwe state media.
"He [Prince Charles] told me he was in Ghana and that they were nice women there. And I said to him: 'I married in Ghana' and he said, 'Oh!' " Mr Mugabe congratulated the prince on his marriage, regretting that the couple could not celebrate beside Victoria Falls. "I said we wished him well because he was being wedded to his Camilla. I said, 'I'm sorry I can't invite you to have a honeymoon in Victoria Falls."
Despite disliking the British government, Mr Mugabe has a deep admiration for the Queen and took the opportunity to ask the prince to pass on his best wishes.
Mr Mugabe welcomed the Queen when she paid a state visit to Zimbabwe and opened a Commonwealth conference in Harare in 1991. She, in turn, invited him to Britain and awarded him an honorary knighthood during his state visit in 1994.
Mr Mugabe claimed that Tony Blair "fled" when he realised that the alphabetical seating plan at the funeral placed the British delegation beside -Zimbabwe's.
A spokesman for Prince Charles said on Friday that he had been "ambushed" by Mr Mugabe. "From what we understand, Mr Mugabe manoeuvred himself and lent over at a point in the service when people shake hands."
A Clarence House spokesman said yesterday: "We are not going to be drawn on any conversation, if any took place. If there was a -conversation it was a private thing.
"We have said that the prince was caught by surprise and put in a difficult position."
Clarence House reiterated the statement issued on Saturday that Prince Charles found the Mugabe regime "abhorrent".