The British Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the British Embassy in Dubai held events on the evenings of Tuesday 19th April and Wednesday 20th April respectively to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The events were hosted by Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the UAE, in Abu Dhabi, and by Paul Fox, British Consul General, in Dubai.
On behalf of the UAE Government, the guests of honour in Abu Dhabi were His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education was the guest of honour at the Dubai celebration. A number of representatives from the Northern Emirates’ ruling courts were also present for the event in Dubai.
Both events saw several hundred guests including senior government figures, diplomats, business people and some of the leaders of the 120,000-strong British community in the UAE.
The celebrations started with the playing of the Emirati and British national anthems, which in Dubai were sung by children of the Embassy’s staff, followed by cake cutting and speeches by Ambassador Parham and Consul General Fox.
Guests at both events were entertained by live music played by the band of the Royal Marines, and enjoyed quintessentially British food and drink. In Abu Dhabi guests, were treated to short Shakespeare performances to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The Queen’s Birthday Party is the United Kingdom’s annual national celebration. The events also served as important opportunities to celebrate the relationship between the UK and UAE.
The event in Abu Dhabi was sponsored by Aston Martin, BP, Atkins, SERCO and MMI; in Dubai Al Habtoor Motors was the primary sponsor, with generous contributions from MMI and Fortnum and Mason. Several Bentley and Aston Martin cars were parked on the grounds of the Embassies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, displaying British automotive excellence and style.
Speaking at the event in Abu Dhabi, British Ambassador Philip Parham said:
Our Queen vowed to serve her people and devoted her life for the common good. Last September, the Queen became the longest serving English monarch. She has now reined for over 64 years, during which she has seen twelve Prime Ministers starting with Churchill, twelve US Presidents starting with Truman, seven Archbishops of Canterbury and seven Popes. I’m honoured to be able to mark this occasion here in the United Arab Emirates - a country with which our partnership is – as His Highness Sheikh Khalifa said during his 2013 state visit to the UK – founded on “deep-rooted and steadfast friendship.
During the event in Dubai, British Consul General in Dubai Paul Fox said:
During Her Majesty’s reign the UK has undergone massive change. However she has proved to be the most potent symbol of continuity the UK has known, providing a counterpoint to this far-reaching change. In doing so she has shown a dutifulness and commitment to her country and people, providing a balm of institutional continuity. She is also the UK’s greatest Ambassador, as shown by her popularity abroad, especially in this region and her very special friendships with His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.
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