16 May 2022

William pictured in UAE offering Queen’s condolences after ruler’s death

16 May 2022

The Duke of Cambridge has travelled to the United Arab Emirates to deliver condolences on behalf of the Queen and the royal family on the death of the country’s ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The duke paid his respects during a meeting with the federation’s new president and ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday.

William’s visit to the oil-rich emirate comes as presidents and prime ministers descend on the UAE from around the world.

The duke flew in overnight to carry out the duties on behalf of the Queen, a sign of William’s increasing responsibilities.

It is the first time second-in-line William has been asked to pass on the monarch’s condolences following the death of a foreign head of state.

The duke was pictured, wearing a dark suit, black tie and in a mask, sitting next to Sheikh Mohammed in an image released on the Twitter account of the British Embassy in the UAE.

Sheikh Khalifa died on Friday at the age of 73 after years presiding over the country’s rapid transformation into a global business hub and regional power centre.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his state visit in 2013 (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Archive)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also travelled to the UAE on Sunday to offer condolences, along with other leaders including Israel’s president after the two countries opened formal relations in 2020.

As crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed has served as the nation’s de facto leader since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014.

He has helped turn the UAE, which has a population of 10 million, into an influential state.

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