Stephen M. Silverman
June 30, 2005 11:15 AM

In his first apparent retreat from Neverland since his June 13 acquittal on child molestation charges, Michael Jackson began a “very, very private” vacation at a prince’s palace in Bahrain, the Associated Press reports, relying on official sources close to the tiny Gulf kingdom’s royal circle.

Jackson, 46, and his three children arrived via private plane from Europe on Wednesday night for an indefinite stay, the official said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because private visits involving the royal family are not authorized to be announced.

“He’s come here to retreat and relax and enjoy the calmness of Bahrain,” the official said, adding that, besides the star’s children, no other Jackson family member was in tow.

Another official said Jackson was a guest of Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the king’s son, in one of the royal palaces. Sheik Abdullah, believed to be in his early 30s, is a friend of Jermaine Jackson’s.

Jermaine Jackson reportedly has close links with Bahrain’s royal circle. In January, he and Sheik Abdullah announced plans to launch a charity theme song written by the royal, says AP.

As for Jackson’s destination, according to the country’s official tourism Web site, Bahrain’s nickname is “island of golden smiles,” and it is situated in the Arabian Gulf, off the east coast of Saudi Arabia. According to the site, “Arabic is the official language, although English is widely understood.”

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