DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Britain’s Prince William began his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, where the future monarch is highlighting his passionate work around wildlife conservation and climate change.
Prince William’s visit marks a milestone in relations between the UK and the United Arab Emirates, a western-allied Gulf Arab nation ruled by hereditary rulers. The prince is expected to meet the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the son of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The headline-grabbing divorce settlement and custody battle for Sheikh Mohammed has unfolded in British courts over the past year.
Queen Elizabeth II first visited the United Arab Emirates as a monarch in 1979, while Prince Charles’ last visit was in 2016.
The former British protectorate is a magnet for British nationals, whose culture permeates almost every aspect of expat life in this country of over 9 million people, where foreigners make up around 90% of the population. population.
According to the British Business Group in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, more than 100,000 British citizens live in the UAE and more than 6,000 British businesses operate in the country.
The Duke of Cambridge’s visit coincides with Britain’s National Day at Expo 2020, the world’s fair taking place in Dubai. Prince William is expected to tour the UK pavilion and tour the $7 billion Expo site, where he will discuss the importance of conservation efforts with young Emiratis, government officials and conservationists.
One initiative close to Prince William’s heart is United for Wildlife, which the Duke set up in 2014 to help facilitate efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
Prince William, who is traveling without his wife, Catherine, will also use his time in Dubai to draw attention to the Earthshot Prize.
Launched by Prince William and the Royal Foundation at the end of 2020, the Earthshot Prize held its first-ever awards ceremony late last year, offering five prizes of one million pounds (1.36 million) to innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists seeking solutions to the world’s greatest. environmental problems.
This year’s award ceremony will be held in the United States. Last year’s finalists will present their innovative solutions to an audience at Expo after a speech by the Duke.
Among the founding financial partners of the award is Dubai-based global port operator DP World in partnership with Dubai Expo 2020.
The Duke, like his father Prince Charles, has long used his platform to advocate for greater environmental awareness, warning that the Earth is at a tipping point and faces irreparable damage unless actions are taken. action is taken to fix the planet.
He began his UAE tour with a visit to Abu Dhabi’s Jubail Mangrove Park to learn about local conservation efforts in the emirate.
The Duke of Cambridge is also expected to meet British sports figures as the Queen’s Baton Relay circles the Dubai Expo site to pavilions of Commonwealth countries – mainly territories with former colonial ties to Britain .
The baton contains a message from Queen Elizabeth and travels to all 72 nations and territories ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Katie Holmes, chief executive of the British Business Group in Dubai, said Britons were really excited about the prince’s visit as it sent a positive message about strengthening a bilateral relationship so well established by Queen Elizabeth II, who has celebrated 70 years on the throne on Sunday.
“He is very well regarded as a member of the royal family and he is the future of the British monarchy, so I think there is interest from that point of view. But it is also a celebration of the ‘Expo,’ said Holmes, who is among those invited to attend an evening performance at Expo which will be attended by Prince William.
The territories of the United Arab Emirates have attracted British attention since the early 18th century, when the region was considered part of a strategic Persian Gulf trade route with links to India and other British colonies. . The territories, ruled by various tribal sheikhs, later became a British protectorate and remained so for 150 years until the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.
Oil wealth has helped quickly transform the wet coasts of Abu Dhabi and Dubai into a breathtaking metropolis of skyscrapers and countless five-star hotels. South Asian migrant workers have borne the brunt of building and paving the cities of the United Arab Emirates from the desert. British nationals, however, have largely benefited from the higher wages, warmer winters, lower tax rates and luxurious living conditions accorded to Western expatriates in the Gulf.
British nationals occupy critical teaching positions in the country, but also work in a range of positions as hairdressers, fitness trainers, estate brokers, bartenders, hotel managers and event planners, to name a few.
British accents dominate English radio broadcasts and British pub culture is popular in Dubai. In a rare move, the United Arab Emirates has granted citizenship to Sir Tim Clark, the British chairman of long-haul carrier Emirates, who helped build the Dubai-based airline into a globally recognized brand.
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