The Duke of Cambridge concluded his official visit to Kuwait and Oman in the Middle East yesterday. He spent his final day in Oman conducting engagements that reflect his personal passions, such as conservation and the outdoors, with his professional pursuits as a future Monarch.
The visit to the region came at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The visit to Oman specifically was to “highlight the deep bonds of friendship between the United Kingdom and the Sultanate of Oman, where we share a long history and a common interest aimed at peace and prosperity”. The Duke’s trip is also to focus on the shared security interests of the two countries, especially security.
The Duke of Cambridge was received by Sayyid Ibrahim bin Said bin Ibrahim al-Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of #Musandam, with true Omani hospitality. #RoyalVisitOman pic.twitter.com/rpwQh7kp3u
— UKinOman 🇬🇧🇴🇲 (@UKinOman) December 3, 2019
The Duke began his day in Muscat by donning a lab coat at the Oman Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) Marine Science Centre. The tour was led by a representative from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CFEFAS), a part of the UK-Gulf Marine Environment Partnership Programme. The organisations are collaborating to address the impact of climate change on marine life and exploring ways of creating sustainable fishing.
CEFAS is the ‘UK’s most diverse centre for applied marine and freshwater science and research, covering an unrivalled breadth of specialist areas to provide a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to all our customers’ needs. The organisation is engaged with the government of Oman and provides a variety of services to the country’s vital aquaculture industry.”
In keeping with this theme the next stop was a visit with local fisherman on a beach near Muscat. He chatted with the fishermen whilst they repaired their nets; the Duke had a go and was even complimented on his skills.
With the help of an interpreter he asked about the effects climate change has had on the industry and then enjoyed a refreshing glass of lime juice with his hosts.
The final stop of the day was a trip to Suwaih, a village near Wadi al Arbaeen, about a 90 minute journey from Muscat. Wadi is Arabic for valley, and the Duke apparently made the dusty, bumpy journey through twisty mountainous roads by car.
It is understood the Duke was eager to experience life outside the capital and was at once greeted by a welcoming committee of local children.
A group of local musicians provided a more official greeting, after which the Duke was invited into an outdoor seating area to speak with the village elders.
Speaking to the media, Outward Bound Oman instructor and acting translator Abdul Rahman said, “The Duke wanted to know what life was like years ago compared to now and one of the elders told him they travelled by donkey. Roads were only built in this area in the 1980s and electricity didn’t arrive until the 2000s.”
William was keen to understand the challenges faced by the remote village.
The Duke’s final activity in the region was participating in team-building exercises with a group of young Omani men. Outward Bound Oman hosted the activities, which were “designed to develop skills including leadership, resilience, and teamwork,” according to Kensington Palace’s Instagram page.
Founded in 1941, Outward Bound prides itself on experiential learning and emphasises reliance on one’s inner resources to overcome any and all challenges. Its founder, Kurt Hahn, formerly Headmaster at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, instructed TRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Essex and instilled in them many of these same core values.
It was therefore a touching and personal end to a successful trip.