BUCHAREST, Romania — Britain's Prince Charles joined in a traditional folk dance Thursday during a visit to Romania, the first stop in a three-nation trip seen as an effort to reassure European Union nations that Britain remains a close ally.
The prince's nine-day tour is designed to "highlight the U.K.'s relationship with European partners" in areas such as military ties and combating human trafficking, according to his official website .
Britain formally triggered two years of negotiations to leave the EU on Wednesday.
Romania's ambassador to Britain, Dan Mihalache, said Romanians were concerned about their future status after Britain formally leaves the bloc. He estimated there are up to half a million Romanians living in Britain— many more than the 190,000 officially registered there.
"We don't have a formula, we have many varieties; that's what I've heard from British officials," Mihalache said. "Probably during the negotiations, a formula will be defined."
He said the embassy has advised Romanians to get a resident's permit and to make sure they were working on a legal contract.
Meanwhile, Charles visited an open air museum in Bucharest that features rural houses from Romania's different regions. He joined women and girls dressed in embroidered peasant blouses in a traditional jig known as the "hora" and watched craftsmen painting eggs and religious icons on stone and wood.
Charles is enamoured of Romania's rural traditions and owns two properties in the northwest Transylvania region, which he visits every year. He even boasts of sharing common lineage with Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century Romanian prince who was the inspiration for the Dracula character.
The heir to the British throne later visited the Vacaresti wetland park, which was developed from a project initiated by late Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu in 1986 to connect Bucharest to the River Danube, 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of the city.
The project was abandoned after communism ended in 1989.
He also met Patriarch Daniel, who heads the Romanian Orthodox Church to which more than 85 per cent of Romanians belong. He earlier met Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu.
The next stop on Charles tour' is Italy, where he plans to meet up with his wife, Camilla. After that, the royal couple will head to Austria.
Alison Mutler, The Associated Press