The British Ambassador Michael O’Neill CMG this evening joined over a thousand guests of the British Embassy to celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, with guests of honour His Excellency Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, and the Mayor of London, Mr. Boris Johnson.
Members of the British and Qatari communities, the Diplomatic Corps and international media, business and government leaders, teachers from the eleven British schools in Qatar, and British Embassy and British Council staff attended the event which also celebrated partnership between the UK and Qatar.
In his speech at the reception, Ambassador O’Neill said:
‘It is a great pleasure to welcome you all tonight to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday. I would particularly like to thank His Excellency Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, for joining us this evening. I would also like to thank our Platinum Sponsors Shell and Coutts, and our Gold Sponsors W S Atkins and PWC, for their support.
This has been a rich year for Qatar-UK relations and an exciting time for the United Kingdom. We had a record number of high-level visits in both directions. A highlight was the visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to celebrate the Qatar-UK partnership in such areas as culture, education, science and sustainability. The warm relationship between our Royal Families was reflected in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations when Their Highnesses the Emir and Sheikha Moza joined Her Majesty the Queen for lunch at Windsor Castle.
The London Olympic and Paralympic Games also made this year exceptional. They allowed millions of visitors to enjoy a wonderful global festival of sport, and to see the best of Britain and its people. We congratulate the Qatari team on its medal-winning successes, and the presence for the first time of three female Qatari athletes - including a graduate of Doha College. We are delighted that Qatar will play a central role in the London Olympics legacy through its investment in the Athletes’ Village.
We are also pleased to see bilateral ties going from strength to strength in foreign policy, trade and investment, defence and security, and education, building on existing links between our two countries in broader areas of Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
As we celebrate the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture we look to broaden and deepen further our existing relations. Qatar UK 2013 provides an excellent platform to highlight existing partnerships and forge new ones in art, education, science and sport.
Finally I extend my sincere thanks to all our friends from the British and Qatari communities, as well as my Diplomatic colleagues, for their support. I would also like to thank the British Embassy team for their tremendous efforts over the last twelve months.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
‘I am delighted to be able to mark the Queen’s Birthday here at the British Embassy in Doha. While London looks back on what was a fantastic summer of sport during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Qatar looks forward to what I’m sure will be a hugely successful World Cup in 2022. Today’s festivities give us a perfect opportunity to share our experiences, hopes and expectations and to celebrate the growing ties between our two great cities.