Coronation spotlights closer ties between King Charles III and the Arab and Muslim world
DUBAI: As the UK prepares for the coronation of King Charles III on May 6, royals from around the world are set to attend the formal swearing-in of Britain̵7;s new monarch.
Following tradition, the coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey where Charles will be anointed with holy oil and crowned with the 17th-century St Edward’s Crown, which has been molded to fit his head.
Thousands of people are expected to gather at the Abbey and its surrounding streets in London for the historic event, its proud grandeur and to swear allegiance to their new king.
Among them would be a person of Arab royalty; The ruling family that shared close ties with the House of Windsor over seven decades during the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II and whose members are well known to the new British monarch.
Charles’ affinity for the Arab world and the Middle East has forged a bond with the region. He also has a keen interest in Islam, a fact that has led him to study the faith in depth and adopt many of its tenets.
Islamic art adorns many of Britain’s royal palaces. Charles has been an enthusiastic participant in interfaith dialogue between leaders of monotheistic religions and presented the OBE award to Saudi national Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, who organized the Islamic Art Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Such is his enthusiasm for the Middle East that Charles has told friends of Gulf royals that some of his most profound experiences in life have been spent in the Hijaz desert where prophets once roamed and where the region’s history and its great faith lie. It was fake.
The coronation will be attended by national and international heads of state, royal families and their representatives from around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.
Echoing the ties his late mother Queen Elizabeth forged with the Middle East, King Charles is expected to continue the close ties for which he is renowned during his reign.
For example, he considered the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia a personal friend, and after his death in January 2015, Charles personally visited his successor, King Salman, to express his condolences and pay his last respects to his friend. Took a flight to Riyadh.
Charles last visited the region in November 2021 with his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, to Egypt and Jordan to discuss and strengthen inter-religious dialogue.
In Jordan, he also visited Syrian and Palestinian refugees, who are most dependent on Saudi and British donations to function.
In total, Charles has made 12 official visits to Saudi Arabia, seven to both the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, six to Qatar and five to Jordan.
His appreciation and love for the Middle East is also reflected in his watercolor paintings, where he often draws inspiration from Wadi Arkam and Diriyah in Saudi Arabia as well as Aqaba in Jordan.
The then Prince of Wales established several charitable foundations in the Middle East, most notably The Prince’s Foundation, dedicated to “realizing the Prince of Wales’ vision of creating communities for a more sustainable world.”
The Foundation focuses on education, appreciation of heritage, and creating equal opportunities for young people in the UK and abroad. It runs satellite programs in more than 20 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where it has established centers.
In Jeddah’s old city, Al-Balad, it has established an arts and crafts centre, allowing students to participate in the Ministry of Culture’s restoration projects there.
At the Tantora festival in AlUla, held in winter from January 10 to March 21, 2020, the Foundation featured an exhibition titled “Cosmos, Color and Craft: The Art of the Order of Nature in AlUla”. It also ran a series of practical workshops in collaboration with the Royal Commission for AlUla.
The new king, although without executive powers, retains the title of protector of the faith and supreme governor of the Church of England. For many, his interest and warm views on Islam are a hopeful sign.
After the 9/11 attacks on America, Charles, a longtime believer in Islam who studied the religion’s textiles, gardens and architecture, doubled down on his views opposing Islamophobia.
Quoting the Holy Quran during his visit to Pakistan in 2006, he said: “Only those who have a heart pay attention; Only those who have a heart believe or see the sign.”
Charles, who also serves as patron of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, learned Arabic for six months before his Gulf tour in 2016.
In 2020, he visited the Palestinian territories for the first time and wished for “freedom, justice and equality” to the Palestinians, while repeatedly urging the British government to improve the conditions and living standards of the Palestinians.
While his ascension to the throne means he will no longer be able to freely express his views, he has made his views on the Middle East and Islam clear.
With more than 3 million Muslims in the UK, Islam is the second largest religion in the country, and its new monarch’s views on it are well known.
Following news of Queen Elizabeth’s death on 8 September, prayers and sermons were held in her honor across the country. Friday’s sermon was held at Cambridge’s Central Mosque, where Islamic scholar Abdul Hakim Murad repeated and read a few lines from a speech by Charles. He added: “Whether we are monarchists or not monarchists, or care about that or not, what matters is that in a time of rising Islamophobia, there are some people who want to stand with us.”
Charles was once quoted as saying, “Islam can teach us a way of understanding and living in the world today, which Christianity itself is the poorest to lose.” At the heart of Islam is an integral view of the universe. protection.”
In 2006, at Al-Azhar in Egypt, the leading university for Islamic teachings, the then Prince of Wales said: “We are in a debt to the scholars of Islam in the West, because it was thanks to them that the classical literature was established in Europe during the Dark Ages. The treasurers of learning were kept alive.
In 2010, during a speech at Oxford University, Charles said: “The Islamic world is the custodian of one of the greatest repositories of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge available to humanity.”
At a time when Islamophobia and xenophobia are on the rise across the West, the new British monarch is empowering Muslim communities, a stance unparalleled by any other Western political figure.
Charles was one of the few people to publicly oppose the European ban on the burqa and condemned a Danish cartoon that insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
King Charles III: Official visits to the Arab world
Prince of Wales embarks on first GCC tour to Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia: Prince Charles meets with British forces deployed for the Gulf War
GCC: Prince Charles meets with the royal families of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Qaboos of Oman and King Fahad and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia: Met with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and received a white Arabian horse and a pair of swords as gifts.
Kuwait: Participated in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s independence.
Saudi Arabia: Participated in the Janadriyah festival, dressed in traditional Saudi clothing and participated in the Ardaah dance, which attracted global attention
Qatar: Visited the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Heritage Library and the Anglican Center at the Religious Complex
UAE: Meets Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
Bahrain: Meets King Hamad at Manama’s Bustan Palace
Jordan: Visited the Zaatari refugee camp
Saudi Arabia: Visited AlUla and the historic Hejaz Railway
UAE: Visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Palestine: Visited Bethlehem, Birthplace of Jesus
Jordan: Visits Al-Maghtas, where Jesus was baptized, and collects water from the Jordan River
Egypt: Visited the Giza Pyramid Complex, Al-Azhar Mosque and Bibliotheca Alexandria
Prince Charles visits the National Library in Doha, Qatar
Saudi Arabia: King Salman welcomes Prince Charles on a two-day private visit to the Kingdom