Queen Elizabeth hosts Sultan of Oman at Windsor Castle

Oxford-educated Omani ruler accompanied by his wife to meet 95-year-old British monarch

Britain's Queen Elizabeth with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman and his wife, Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah. AFP
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq al Said, to Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

The Middle Eastern ruler was joined by his wife, Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah, for the meeting.

The British monarch, 95, wearing a pale blue dress, her trademark pearls and a sapphire brooch, was pictured smiling and shaking hands with the sultan at her castle in Berkshire, near London.

The Queen is still carrying out only light duties, including virtual and the occasional in-person audiences, after being ordered to rest by royal doctors and spending a night in hospital for tests on October 20.

Her face-to-face meeting with the Omani ruler is a demonstration of the importance the UK places on its relationship with the Gulf state.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, a former culture and heritage minister who studied at the University of Oxford, came to power after the death of his cousin, Sultan Qaboos, last year.

He has since been on a diplomatic offensive to boost Oman's profile and trade links with the rest of the world.

In July, Sultan Haitham met Saudi Arabia's King Salman for his first official visit since he became ruler, as the two countries agreed to establish maritime, agricultural, industrial and logistics projcts.

Oman’s Vision 2040, which was drawn up under rule of the late Sultan Qaboos, aims to advance several sectors of the economy.

As part of the ambitious plans, Oman expects to earn more than nine billion rials ($22.5 billion) a year from tourism by 2040 as it attemts to diversify its economy away from oil income.

Updated: December 15, 2021, 3:31 PM