Friday, January 21, 2022

Queen Elizabeth meets sultan of Oman at Windsor Castle

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has welcomed the sultan of Oman to Windsor Castle.

The 95-year-old monarch meet Haitham bin Tariq al Said in person on Wednesday.

The Middle Eastern ruler was joined by his wife, Her Highness, The Honourable Lady Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah.

The monarch, wearing a pale blue dress, her trademark pearls and a sapphire brooch, was pictured smiling and shaking hands with the Sultan at her Berkshire castle.

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 undergoing tests on Oct. 20.

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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 Oxford, came to power after the death of his cousin Sultan Qaboos in 2020.

Sultan Qaboos was the Arab world’s longest-serving ruler.

Meanwhile, the queen is still to make a final decision on whether to hold her traditional pre-Christmas family party next week.

However, plans are fully in place for the festive lunch the monarch hosts each year for her extended family, and preparations are under way.

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But it is understood the Queen is still considering whether the get together should happen amid rising COVID cases and the surge in the Omicron variant.

The queen is due to hold the lunch in Dec. 21 at Windsor, where she has been staying for most of the pandemic, The Sun newspaper said.

The last year’s 2020 gathering was unable to take place because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Most years, the queen invites her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her at Buckingham Palace before she departs for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham.

The palace is undergoing major renovation works at present.

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The pre-Christmas celebration gives the head of state a chance to catch up with relatives who were unable to travel to Norfolk for Christmas Day.

The wider family is also usually invited, including the queen’s cousins, the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and the Michaels of Kent.

This Christmas is the queen’s first since the death of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh.

dpa/NAN

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