x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

British schools favoured by UAE Royals

Nothing emphasises the close ties between the Royal families of the UAE and United Kingdom better than the parade ground at the elite Sandhurst military academy.

Nothing emphasises the close ties between the Royal families of the UAE and United Kingdom better than the parade ground at the elite Sandhurst military academy.

Over the last five decades, more than 200 Emiratis have passed out from the Royal Military College, the most from any Arab nation.

They include Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Sandhurst has also been attended by many members of the British royal family, including princes William and Harry.

Sheikh Mohammed was there at the same time as Prince Andrew, a friend he first met while attending Gordonstoun school in Scotland.

Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan, the son of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, graduated from Sandhurst in 2009.

Leading British universities and schools have educated many members of the UAE's Royal families.

After Sandhurst, Sheikh Hamdan went to the London School of Economics. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister for Youth, Culture and Community, completed his schooling at Millfield School before attending Magdalen College, Oxford.

Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, had a lengthy period of study in the UK.

The president of the American University of Sharjah and University of Sharjah, he has been visiting professor at Exeter University, among others. He earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Cairo University before gaining a doctor of philosophy from the University of Durham in 1985 and a doctor of philosophy in political geography, also at Durham, in 1999.

The Royal families have also made sizable contributions to British institutions.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid, the late Ruler of Dubai and Vice President, made a personal donation to the English Royal College of Surgeons in December 1992. It was to support the establishment of an Institute for Ageing Research and Medicine of the Elderly, to cement the relationship between the two countries and to help UAE students gain access to medical studies.

Also under his patronage, the Al Maktoum Institute was established in Dundee in 2001. The research centre specialises in Islamic studies and offers postgraduate programmes.

mswan@thenational.ae