Queen Elizabeth gets warm welcome

ABU DHABI — At the Invitation of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom landed in Abu Dhabi for the second time in 31 years.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Thu 25 Nov 2010, 1:23 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:10 PM

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. AFP

Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, her son Prince Andrew and her 30-member staff, the queen arrived in a chartered British Airways jet at 9pm.

On arrival, the Queen, the Duke and their accompanying delegation were received by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State and head of the honorary mission accompanying the Queen, British Ambassador Dominic Jermey, a number of senior state officials, and members of the British diplomatic mission.

Gen Shaikh Mohammed shook hands with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip welcoming them to the UAE, and stressed that the visit opens a new phase in the close relations of cooperation and friendship between the two countries and their peoples.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010.

Gen Shaikh Mohammed accompanied the Queen and her entourage up to her motorcade, which drove off from the Presidential Airport towards the mausoleum of the Late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

At 10.15 pm, the royal delegation entered the main courtyard of the mosque. Dressed in an ankle-length white gown and wearing a white hat with a soft white scarf, the queen stooped to remove her shoes before entering the mosque.

Arriving at the tomb, Queen Elizabeth paid respect to the soul of Shaikh Zayed, recalling his deeds, wisdom and his hallmark personality of a tolerant and loving leader who sought to extend bridges of friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world and who was resolute on building a modern nation that focuses on preparing capable and enlightened citizens.

Queen Elizabeth and Gen Shaikh Mohammed were then escorted on a tour of the Grand Mosque by Shaikh Abdullah, Dr Hamdan bin Mussalam Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf (Endowments), and Dr Ali bin Tamim, Board Chairman of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The tour covered the courtyard, the marble columns and domes inside the mosque.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip also attended part of the Holy Quran recitation session by the Quran memorisation students at the mosque.

This visit by the head of the Church of England to the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque is reflective of the multi-faith dialogue and tolerance that is common to both the UAE and the UK, home to 1.6 million Muslims.

The building of the Grand Mosque, a project by the Abu Dhabi Municipality and British consulting engineers Halcrow Group and Hill International, involved more than 3,000 workers and 38 well known companies. British artist Kevin Dean designed many of the inlaid floral designs, while Speirs + Major, the company that managed the lighting of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, did the architectural lighting design.


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