Eyes of Middle East, Arabs on King Charles III as moment to shine arrives at last

London: His moment to shine, his moment to step out of the shadows has finally come.

As Britain’s King Charles III ascended the throne after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II the previous year, he knew from a very young age that he would inherit.

His immediate ascension as head of the British monarchy on 8 September was met with mourning and respectful reflection in Britain and globally, but his coronation on 6 May promises to be an altogether more celebratory affair.

As the eyes of the world turn to London for an event packed with centuries of history, tradition and pageantry that has not been seen for 70 years, so will interested Arab observers from afar and those who call Britain home Will be

Given Britain’s inextricable links with its royal past, traces of which can still be seen and felt in the Middle East, it is perhaps inspiring that Britain’s monarchy has enjoyed close relations with the region for decades, particularly the monarchies of the Gulf region. have maintained good relations with. ,

This is thanks in no small part to Charles’ admiration for the Middle East and the Islamic religion in particular; He has read the Quran, signed his communications with Arab and Muslim leaders in Arabic, and as Prince of Wales, chose Jordan and Egypt for his first foreign trips since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

In a rare break from constitutional rules demanding a strictly non-political stance, Charles has also openly expressed sympathy for the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

This is an area close to his heart.

And for some, Charles’ coronation will mark the beginning of even closer ties between Britain and the Arab world, a sign of warmth and well wishes expressed by regional missions and organizations in the UK.

In an opinion piece for Arab News, the Saudi ambassador to the UK wished Charles a “long, prosperous and happy reign” and thanked him for “the work he has done over his long life of service to build bridges between our two countries”. Already done.”

The head of the Palestinian mission in the UK, Hussam Zomlot, said he “looks forward to working with the king to resolve the Palestinian issue, an issue for which the UK has a unique historical responsibility and in whose resolution we look forward to He will play a unique role.” progressive role.

Commenting on Charles’ “historic visit” to the occupied Palestine territory, he said: “During his visit, he walked through the streets of Bethlehem with Palestinian Christian and Muslim leaders, not only underlining their message of unity, but Also demonstrated the multi-faith nature of the Palestinian people.

“We sincerely hope that King Charles will come again as Emperor of a free and independent State of Palestine. We join him in his desire, expressed in 2020, that we, the Palestinian people, will also enjoy freedom, justice and equality. Must be enjoyed,” he said.

Jordan’s ambassador to the UK, Manar Dabbas, described the coronation ceremony as “a promising new era that builds on the great legacy of centuries past.” He added that his country regards the event as “the start of a promising new chapter in the strategic bilateral relationship between Jordan and the UK – a partnership which two years ago entered its second century.”

Highlighting Jordan’s work in hosting the world’s second-highest number of refugees per capita and its many initiatives to combat climate change, Dabas said: “It’s climate, biodiversity, refugees, The defense is a moment of triumph for international advocates of promoting civilizational and religious contact and coexistence, and advancing humanity.

“Indeed, Her Majesty’s globally recognized efforts and her unwavering passion for these issues are a beacon of hope for millions of people around the world.

“King Charles III, even during his previous capacity as Prince of Wales, played a huge role in cementing this long and deep partnership (and) I am sure Their Majesties King Abdullah II and King Charles III will continue to support our relationship.” Will take it afresh.” Horizon and level,” he said.

Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s ambassador to London, said Charles would build on the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II, “who was a source of strength and inspiration to countless millions around the world.”

He said: “With a deep and wide-ranging association spanning over two centuries, Bahrain and the UK share a unique and enduring bond, reinforced by the long-standing friendship between the two royal families, I have no doubt that during the reign of King Charles, these ties will be further strengthened at all levels.”

Omar Badour, CEO of the London Arabia Organisation, said Charles “clearly loves the Arab world” and “personally values ​​relations with the region”.

Bandar Reda, secretary-general and CEO of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, said the coronation would “mark a new era” for Britain, and would be “watched keenly by people around the world, including the Arab world, where (Charles) is close Arab-British”. He is highly respected for his positive role in promoting relations.

And George Kannan, CEO of the London-headquartered Arab Bankers Association, congratulated the king on his coronation, saying: “As Prince Charles, the king made many trips to the Middle East, and we are grateful for the work he has done.” To strengthen ties between the UK and Arab states and enhance our commercial and cultural links.

He added: “While we remain saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we look forward with optimism and confidence to the reign of King Charles III, and pray that it will be long and happy.”

This sense of optimism is shared by UK-based Arabs.

Richard Jabara, a Lebanese-Italian investment banker, plans to be at Westminster Abbey to witness an “iconic moment in British history” and believes Charles will do his part in giving the monarchy a solid foundation and a symbol of stability for Britain. Will continue mother’s work.

“I think there is a lot of respect between King Charles and the Middle East,” he said. “It would be great to have a monarch who understands Middle Eastern culture. Hopefully he can inspire more people in the UK and globally to learn about the Middle East.”

Mohammad Al-Derbasti, a Qatari student at the City University of London, told Arab News that he would definitely be tuning in to watch the coronation.

“I am convinced that King Charles’ admiration for Islam will lead to closer ties between the UK and the Middle East,” he said. “His visits to the occupied West Bank and public displays of sympathy are examples of this.”

Palestinian Janan Kawash, a student at University College London, agreed, saying she believes Charles will leave behind a “more inclusive” Britain for his successor, William, Prince of Wales.

“When Charles visited the West Bank (in 2020) and expressed his sorrow over the suffering of the Palestinian people, it was an unprecedented show of support by a Western leader, let alone a member of the British royal family,” she told Arab News. told.

Domestically, it is expected that the King’s role as “defender of the faith” as head of the Church of England, with his self-proclaimed commitment to being “defender of all religions”, will heal a deeply divided split. can start. British Society.

Al-Darbasti said, “From his charitable work at the Prince’s Trust and his acceptance of different religions and cultures, I think King Charles’ reign will be known for greater understanding between Britain’s ethnic groups and a reduction in hate crime.”

However, Charles and his reign will not be without cynicism, and there are some Arabs living in Britain who share a different view. For some, their role as a powerless figure will render them ineffective at making a real impact.

“I will not be watching (the coronation) personally,” said Lebanese-British trainee solicitor Yara El-Haij. “In practical terms, they will have no impact on UK-Middle Eastern relations.”

She said: “Despite his verbal expressions of solidarity with issues across the Arab world, Charles’ role as king is little more than symbolic power; They do not have the right to bring change on the basis of their political views.

In an era of ever-increasing isolationism and polarisation, the rapidly changing and developing Middle East finds itself a leader in almost every field, while the UK and the wider Western world face challenge after challenge.

Charles, whatever his opinion of Arabs across the region and of people living in Britain, will doubtless be keeping an eye on how the new monarch guides Britain – inherited from his mother – through such trials What role can they play from and on what kind of global stage.