Brits living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) turned out in their droves to celebrate the 88th birthday of the Queen this week.
Parties were held at the British embassies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, with representatives of the 120,000-strong expatriate community in attendance.
Both began with the national anthems of the UAE and the UK, performed under fluttering Union flags and twinkling lights, followed by a cake cutting ceremony.
Flown out especially for the occasion were the Salamanca Band and Bugles of The Rifles, who played at both events.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest serving monarch in the history of the UK, having come to the throne in February 1952.
Top officials from the UAE were also in attendance as well as British expats. They included Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of culture, youth and community development, and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, minister of development and international cooperation.
Ambassador Dominic Jermey addressed the crowd on the close relationship between Britain and the UAE, stating that the Queen’s birthday was a good time to reflect on this.
He said: “There is much to be proud of in the long-standing friendship that spans well over two centuries and I’m delighted that I and my teams in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are playing our part in building stronger, wider and deeper bonds between our two great countries.”
Edward Hobart, consul general, went on to elaborate on this point, highlighting trade, investment and education as areas that have benefitted particularly from the ties.
The parties were sponsored by Aston Martin, the car manufacturer that is intrinsically British. Modern and vintage models were on display at the events, along with other symbols of Britain.
Neil Slade, general manager of the company extended his best wishes to Her Majesty on her birthday.