The Omani government and its people reacted to Thursday night’s passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth, with profound anguish and sadness.
Beloved of millions at home and abroad, the late Queen had a deep and special connection with Oman, as exemplified by the sincere warmth, affection and esteem shared by the country’s Royal Families for each other. This was reflected in the unbridled graciousness with which the two countries received each other’s monarchs while on state visits, replete with pageantry and displays of genuine cordiality. It is the strength of this royal friendship – robust, personal and enduring – that has come to characterise the relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Kingdom over the past five decades.
Under the respective reigns of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said and Queen Elizabeth II, relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Kingdom blossomed and prospered immensely. The UK is currently the largest provider of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Oman, with bilateral ties having diversified to encompass cooperation in political, military, economic, cultural and other facets of the relationship.
While the foundation of this special relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and the UK were jointly laid by the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the late Queen Elizabeth II, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik -- whose links with the British royal family and with the UK in general are similarly deep-rooted -- has seamlessly sustained and nourished these fraternal ties in the interest of the two countries and their peoples.
A highpoint in royal relations between the two countries came in 2010 when the British Monarch travelled to Muscat for the first time, accompanied by the late Duke of Edinburgh. The visit was characterised by great joy, festivity and pageantry that reflected the appreciation and admiration that the respective monarchs had for each other.
More recently, in December 2021, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik met with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle during a private visit to the United Kingdom. A final tribute of affection came in May this year when, at the direction of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the Omani Royal Cavalry took part in the Royal Windsor Horse Show held in the UK on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II.
While an era in royal relations between Oman and the UK may come to an end with the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, her legacy will continue to sustain and inspire fraternal ties between the two countries for decades to come.