It has been announced that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will visit Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November. This will be the first time that the pair will have visited all three countries together, although they have made a number of visits to the individual countries since Prince Charles first visited The Sultanate of Oman in 1980. The visit is being made at the request of the British Government, and at this stage the itinerary has not been disclosed, although it is believed the intention is to warm the United Kingdom’s strong relationships with key partners in the region.
With talk of the United Kingdom beginning negotiations with the European Community, to leave possibly at the beginning of 2017, it is clear that negotiations with other possible markets must continue apace to fill any possible voids in the export market. Hence it is clear this will be one of the main drives behind the visit, though some others may wish that the subject of human rights is also high on the agenda.
The Kingdom of Bahrain was last visited by the Prince in 2014, on his previous visit in 2007 he was accompanied by the Duchess. It is a former dependency of Britain dating back to the early nineteenth century, although gained independence in 1971. Unlike a lot of Arab countries, it’s economy is not dependant solely on oil, it has also become the banking hub of the area following the troubles in Beirut and the island kingdom also has a thriving tourist industry. In addition to a friendship agreement with the United Kingdom dating back to independence, it also has a free trade deal with the United States.
The Sultanate of Oman, has the longest reigning monarch within the Middle East, it’s absolute monarch, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has ruled since 1970. In 2010, the UNDP said that the economy of Oman was the best improved in the region over the previous 40 years. Like Bahrain, it has signed a trade deal with the United States as supplies fruit such as dates, as well as having a thriving tourist industry rather than depend on oil revenue. The couple last visited Oman in 2013
The United Arab Emirates are seven individual kingdoms who have operated as a group since the 1970’s. They have close links with the Royal family in that the rulers of Abu Dhabi, the Maktoums, have like Queen Elizabeth a keen interest in horse-racing. The United Kingdom and Germany are two of the largest exporters into the Emirates, though a recent trade deal has been signed with Japan.
Be sure to keep looking at Royal Central to keep up to date with both the William and Kate’s tour of Canada and Prince Charles and Camilla in the Middle East.