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Sun 21 May 2017 09:35 AM

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In Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump opts to keep her head bare

The First Lady dressed conservatively in a long-sleeved, black pantsuit accented with a wide, gold-colored belt

In Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump opts to keep her head bare
US First Lady Melania Trump chats with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at a ceremony where US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabias King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ignoring President Donald Trump's past admonition, US first lady Melania Trump did not cover her head Saturday when they arrived in Saudi Arabia on the opening leg of his first international tour since taking office.

Two years ago, then-citizen Trump criticised then-first lady Michelle Obama's decision to go bare-headed on a January 2015 visit with her husband.

"Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies," Trump tweeted at the time, including a short-hand spelling for "enough".

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear an abaya in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia also cover their hair and face.

But head coverings aren't required for foreigners and most Western women go without.

While Mrs Trump dressed conservatively Saturday in a long-sleeved, black pantsuit accented with a wide, gold-colored belt, her below-the-shoulder brown hair blew in the breeze at King Khalid International Airport in the capital city of Riyadh.

She followed the example set by other, high-profile Western women, including Mrs Obama.

On visits this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also shunned head coverings. Then-first lady Laura Bush generally went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a headscarf that she received as a gift.

Hillary Clinton, on trips to Saudi Arabia as Obama's secretary of state, also did not cover her head.

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, a senior White House adviser who is also accompanying her father, also left her head uncovered.