UAE: Queen Elizabeth II 'had a strong gracious personality', says Al Habtoor chairman

He recalls that late monarch loved meeting his children, answering their questions


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sat 10 Sep 2022, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Sep 2022, 4:27 PM

Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor, said all his meetings with Queen Elizabeth II were memorable and she loved seeing his children and took time to converse with them and answered many of their questions.

The Queen passed away at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, UK, late on Thursday.

Al Habtoor, who knew the Queen personally and had many interactions with Her Majesty along with his sons, grandsons and granddaughters, offered his condolences to the Royal Family and the British people on the passing away of the Queen.

"I met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for the first time in 2013 at the Al Habtoor Royal Windsor Cup, a polo event held at the Queen's grounds in Windsor, UK, sponsored by Al Habtoor Group. This was an event that we hosted for five years, and which Her Majesty never missed. Many times, she was also joined by His Royal Highness Prince Philip," says Al Habtoor.

"Since 2013, we have corresponded on various issues. Her Majesty was very gracious; she always took the time to answer and deliberate on the topic of discussion. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to introduce my sons, grandsons, and granddaughters to her. She loved seeing our children, welcomed them with big smiles and took the time to converse with them and answer many of their eager and exciting questions," the Al Habtoor chairman told Khaleej Times.

Al Habtoor said Her Majesty also stood out for him with her graciousness and elegance, and had a good wit, sense of humour, strong personality, mental strength, and alertness. She also had a great love of horses.

"She had a strong, gracious personality that one cannot help but admire."

He said all the meetings and interactions were memorable, but two instances stand out.

"I remember the first instance was during the World Cup. I asked the Queen about the World Cup… I recall the conversation like it was yesterday. I asked her if she was following the World Cup games, and she replied briefly: 'Sometimes Philip watches them on the television, and I take the remote control and switch it off a few minutes later.'"

I went on to add, 'I don't think the Italian coach Fabio Capello speaks English.'

She smiled and said, 'I don't think the players are listening to him anyway!' I couldn't help the laugh that escaped from me then," said Al Habtoor.

Sharing the details of the second most memorable interaction with Her Majesty, Al Habtoor said he took his granddaughters to meet her for the first time during the Diamond Jubilee on the 60th anniversary of her coronation in 2012.

"When she was greeting them, one of my granddaughters Mariam bint Ahmad Al Habtoor, who was younger than 10 years old, curtsied and congratulated her on the Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty smiled wholeheartedly, thanked Mariam and stood there for a few minutes to converse with the children. She was a symbol of graciousness and kindness," said Al Habtoor.



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