Sandhurst: the military academy in the UK that trains Arab royals

Established in 1812, the institution runs a gruelling 44-week course that tests the physical and mental strength of its young cadets

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For decades, foreign royals, particularly those from the Middle East, have learnt to be military leaders at Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Established in 1812, the academy runs a gruelling 44-week course - broken down into three 14-week terms - that tests the physical and mental strength of its young cadets.

During training, all officer cadets learn to live by the academy’s motto: ‘serve to lead’.

Term one focuses on basic military skills, fitness and decision making.
Term two hones in on the development of leadership skills where cadets select their future corps or regiment.
And in term three, cadets embark on training exercises in the UK and overseas.

Predominantly serving would-be officers for the British Army, the academy has a tradition of attracting cadets from overseas too.

Each year, about 1,500 foreign students complete training at Sandhurst.

The Crown Prince of Ajman's son is honoured at military ceremony in the UK

The Crown Prince of Ajman's son is honoured at military ceremony in the UK

Many elite families from the Middle East have sent their sons and daughters to train there, and royal alumni include King Hussein of Jordan and his son King Abdullah II.

On Friday, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, watched his son Sheikh Zayed bin Mohamed graduate from Sandhurst decades after his own graduation from the academy.

Other notable graduates to come from the UAE include Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

To prepare further for his future role in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed attended Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, which is now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

During the latter stages of the six-month course, he was awarded the Sword of Honour for achieving the highest mark of any foreign and commonwealth officer cadet in his intake.

Known as one of the world's most prominent military academies, Sandhurst has been described as the place where future leaders get to know each other.

Maj Gen Duncan Capps, the commandant of Sandhurst, told The National that he was proud and impressed by the Emirati contingent that passed through Sandhurst this year.

“I applaud every one of the international cadets including the seven officer cadets from the UAE who commissioned today, who without exception have been extraordinary ambassadors for their country," he said.

In 2017, Emirati Ahmed Al Mazrui became the recipient of the Sword of Honour from Sandhurst.

He was recognised as the best international cadet in his class and was congratulated personally by Sheikh Mohamed.