‘Beacon of selfless leadership’: UAE residents pay respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II

Some residents were included in her birthday honours lists in years gone by

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The British community in the UAE and people who have close ties to the UK have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96 on Thursday.

They fondly remembered the monarch, who served in the role for seven decades, from 1952 to 2022.

Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to the UAE, said the queen was "our greatest diplomat".

“It was with profound sorrow that we all learnt of the death of Her Majesty the queen. This is a massive loss for the UK and those in the UAE and across the world who admired her as much as I did," he said.

"I would like to thank His Highness, the President of the UAE and His Highness the Prime Minister for their kind words, and to thank all citizens and residents of the UAE for their support at this difficult time."

Some residents who were included in her birthday honours lists in years gone by also paid their respects to the queen.

Quote
She told me a horse-racing anecdote from Dubai and recalled the state visit from [the late] Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed
Richard Oliver, British businessman

Mark Leppard, headmaster at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to education in 2015.

“I am greatly saddened to hear of the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.

“She has been the most wonderful, dedicated monarch and public servant, one I am hugely proud of.

“BSAK was honoured to host a visit by The Queen in 1979, and in 2010 the school choir performed a music recital in her presence when she visited Abu Dhabi.”

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., May 29, 2018. 
Portraits of BSAK Headmaster Mark Leppard - story is on a time capsule which was burried 25 years ago, and now can't be found. They think they've built over the original location.
Victor Besa / The National
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Section:  National

Speaking of his MBE, Mr Leppard said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

“She will be sadly missed by not only Great Britain, but also by so many across the entire globe,” he said.

“She has been a beacon of selfless leadership. My thoughts and prayers go to her family at this sad time.”

Richard Oliver, a British businessman and former UAE resident, also paid homage to the history-making monarch.

During his time in the Emirates, he helped to build commercial and community links between his home country and the UAE, which led to him being conferred the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) several years ago.

“This has been a truly sad day for our country. I last met her majesty the queen in 2019 when I received the OBE from her at Windsor Castle,” he said.

“She was completely on message. She told me a horse-racing anecdote from Dubai and recalled the state visit from [the late] Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

“She was 93, at work, on duty and an inspiration to us all.”

Levi Duchman, the first resident chief rabbi in the UAE, also sent out a tweet in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

“My late uncle Rabbi Nachman Sudak, the Rebbes head Shliach to England, received an award from her majesty the queen,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth II recognised his lifetime of achievement on behalf of Jews and non-Jews by conferring the status of Order of the British Empire.”

Michael John Reed, 36, a musician in Dubai said: "Where do you start with a woman who has reigned for 70 years?

"A woman who embodied dignity and grace, guided, not just Great Britain but the entire commonwealth through trial and turmoil of 7 decades, watched and adapted as the world changed and modernised around her and her establishment.

"She lived her life for Great Britain, served a nation with everything she had. Great Britain meant the world to her, and she meant the world to us! RIP your Majesty."

On Friday, the UK embassy in the UAE said that condolence messages can be left online at https://royal.uk or a QR code can be scanned to pay tributes.

Updated: September 09, 2022, 8:58 AM
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