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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Sheikha Alia Al Qassimi meeting Sheikh Zayed in the 1980s — video

Sheikha Alia on meeting Sheikh Zayed during one particularly memorable National Day:

I was about 7 years old and was performing a dance as part of my school group for the late Sheikh Zayed. All of the rulers were there, and Sheikh Zayed requested to see me. I went to him, sat on his lap and, I promise you, I can still hear his voice in my ear today.

He asked me who I was and when I said I was Alia Al Qassimi he was surprised. Ironically my uncles were sitting on the right and left-hand side of him, but as I looked much younger than my age, they didn’t recognise me immediately either.

We then talked about my schooling and I remember how sweet, gentle and incredibly warm he was.

• For more of our exclusive with Sheikha Alia, click here