Prince Harry's visit to Oman goes ahead despite Sultan's illness

by hellomagazine.com Prince Harry has touched down in Oman at the start of a three-day tour of the Middle East. Unfortunately, the nation's ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said – who had extended a personal invitation to the Prince and his brother the Duke of Cambridge – to visit the gulf state has been taken ill. He is in Germany receiving medical treatment.

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Prince Harry was met by the Sultan's cousin in the absence of the ruler himself

While Prince William had prior commitments, Harry was eager to make the trip, intended to strengthen ties between the two royal families and their countries. On Tuesday the Queen's 30-year-old grandson was welcomed at the airport by the Sultan's cousin.

He will meet British embassy staff, see the Nizwa Fort and Grand Mosque in Muscat, before flying to Dubai to play polo in a fundraising match for his Sentebale charity.

However, the absence of the 73-year-old sovereign undoubtedly casts a shadow over the trip.

In a sign of how serious the situation is the National Day Parade marking his accession to the throne 44 years ago was cancelled for the first time in his reign. The event on November 18 was due to be the centrepiece of Harry's trip.

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The sultan is in Germany receiving medical treatment

The Omanis are famous horsemen and when the Queen visited in 2010, the sultan laid on a 'surprise', which turned out to be a parade involving 800 horses.

Qaboos bin Said Al Said, a Sandhurst-trained soldier and a former intern at Suffolk Country Council, is a determined Anglophile. He has twinned his palace with the Tower of London and owns the world's only camel-mounted bagpipe band.

During her tour, the musicians welcomed the Queen with a rendition of Scotland The Brave.

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