UAE Rulers attend funeral for Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed

Funeral prayers were held at Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed The First Mosque in Al Bateen

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UAE Rulers gathered in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to lay to rest Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed.

Beneath overcast skies, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, led members of the country's royal families as they performed funeral prayers for his brother at around midday.

Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed the First Mosque in Al Bateen was packed, with prayers attended by the rulers of Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, dignitaries and scores of officials.

Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, were among those carrying Sheikh Sultan's body from the mosque after the prayers.

He was taken to Al Bateen Cemetery, across the road, where he was laid to rest.

There he was surrounded by his sons and extended family who covered his body and recited a final prayer over him, their sandy hands cupped before their faces.

Earlier, traffic was re-routed to make way for a convoy of cars surrounded by police patrols and carrying representatives from each of the emirates, which weaved through the streets of Abu Dhabi to reach the mosque.

After the funeral, Al Mushrif Palace was opened for condolences. Well-wishers offered their condolences at the palace between asr and maghrib prayers (3.20pm and 5.40pm) to Sheikh Sultan's sons, Dr Sheikh Hazza and Dr Sheikh Khaled.

Also in attendance were King Hamad of Bahrain, Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Khalid Al Sabah, and from Saudi Arabia, Prince Khalid bin Faisal, Governor of Makkah Region, and Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Energy.

Afghanistan's acting Minister of Defence, Asadullah Khalid, was also present.

Al Nahyan family will continue to receive condolences on Thursday and Friday between 10am and midday prayers, and again between asr and maghrib.

Sheikh Sultan, the President's Representative, died on Monday while receiving medical treatment abroad.

His body was returned to the UAE on Tuesday for the burial.

Sheikh Sultan, the second son of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's Founding Father, was born in Al Ain in 1955.

He was educated at Millfield School in Somerset and attended Sandhurst Military Academy.

The former deputy prime minister was appointed the President's Representative, a post he held until his death.

Known as the was the "Father of Heritage" for his love of Emirati culture and tradition, Sheikh Sultan was patron of an annual heritage festival held at Sweihan racecourse in Abu Dhabi.

The Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Heritage Festival included camel and saluki races, a camel beauty contest and traditional markets that sold handicrafts and hosted traditional activities.

Since his death was announced on Monday, along with a three-day nationwide mourning period, Sheikhs, Emiratis and residents have paid tribute to the royal.

Eissa Al Falahi, who was Sheikh Sultan's aide for 40 years, described him as a warm person who felt a deep connection with the people and the country's history.

"He was accessible and you could walk into his majlis any time you wanted," Mr Al Falahi said.

"There were no restraints or barriers between the people and him. If you needed him and wanted to see him, he was there.

“There will never be any man like Sheikh Sultan. He left a gaping hole in our hearts.”