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The Independent

Veteran Kuwaiti ambassador recollects three many years of reminiscences with the Queen

A veteran Kuwaiti diplomat has recalled his fondest reminiscences with the Queen over three many years of formal friendship.

Khaled Abdulaziz Al-Duwaisan, 75, the longest-serving ambassador to Britain, mentioned he beloved the Queen for her vitality, information and sense of humour.

Talking with the PA information company from his residence in Kuwait on Friday, Mr Al-Duwaisan mentioned he met the monarch on greater than 150 events, with the ultimate time being for her Platinum Jubliee this summer time.

The Queen greeting Mr Al-Duwaisan at a St Paul’s Cathedral service in February 1996, earlier than dedicating a memorial to British servicemen who had been killed within the Gulf Warfare (PA Archive/PA)

(PA Archive)

Reflecting on this encounter, the recently-retired ambassador mentioned: “I can’t imagine that at this age, her thoughts, her physique, her sense of humour – she was fantastic.

“On a private stage, she appreciated me. I really like her in fact.”

Mr Al-Duwaisan, who joined Kuwait’s Ministry of International Affairs in 1970, recalled their first assembly in 1993 when he was simply months into the job as a London-based ambassador.

Mr Al-Duwaisan giving a speech in the course of the Easter Banquet hosted by Lord Mayor of the Metropolis of London (Yui Mok/PA)

(PA Archive)

Attributable to royal protocol, his diplomats had to make sure they by no means turned their again to the Queen, which concerned them strolling backwards whereas sporting a conventional males’s cloak, referred to as a Bisht.

Mr Al-Duwaisan mentioned: “I had about seven diplomats with me, and all of them had been sporting the gown – the massive gown taller than them – as a result of that is our system.

“I used to be afraid that in the event that they return they are going to fall, and it could be embarrassing.”

The veteran ambassador mentioned that after some dialogue, he discovered a manner for the lads to manoeuvre safely across the Queen. “She appreciated it,” he mentioned.

I really feel unhappy now to recollect all this with Her Majesty the Queen, however I say to myself, that is life, she lived a very good life, she lived a protracted life. Britain won’t be the identical as when she was in energy.

Veteran Kuwaiti ambassador Khaled Al-Duwaisan

Mr Al-Duwaisan was later invited for a dinner at Windsor Castle along with his spouse, the place he sat beside the Queen.

“I’ll always remember that she has a system prior to now, to ask the ambassador to remain in Windsor Fortress, so I went with my spouse at 5 o’clock on the reception and personal dinner,” he mentioned.

“I used to be on her proper. So we speak about lots of issues, in fact they informed me to not speak about politics.

“We had a protracted dialog about her youngsters, going to Kuwait – and the Kuwaitis who’re coming to England.

Mr Al-Duwaisan in the course of the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in June 2019 (Victoria Jones/PA)

(PA Archive)

“I mentioned to her, that’s as a result of the relation between our two international locations could be very shut – very, very shut.”

“She confirmed me an enormous sword given to King George V from the Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber, the daddy of the present emir,” he added.

“I really feel unhappy now to recollect all this with Her Majesty the Queen, however I say to myself, that is life, she lived a very good life, she lived a protracted life.

“Britain won’t be the identical as when she was in energy.”

Mr Al-Duwaisan talking on the Easter Banquet at Mansion Home within the Metropolis of London in April 2022 (Victoria Jones/PA)

(PA Wire)

In 1995, the Queen made Mr Al-Duwaisan an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

He grew to become Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in 2003, a task which has seen him advise greater than 750 newly-arrived heads of mission about diplomatic life in London.

Mr Al-Duwaisan mentioned the Queen’s loss of life has been felt deeply in Kuwait, with many official buildings bearing the British flag to mark her passing.

He mentioned the monarch offered a way of stability and fostered an essential relationship between the UK and Kuwait throughout years of turmoil within the nation, together with by way of the Iraq invasion in 1990.

The King, who was then the Prince of Wales, assembly Mr Al-Duwaisan throughout a reception on Horse Guards Parade (Christopher Radcliffe/PA)

(PA Archive)

Britain despatched its largest single deployment of troops for the reason that Second World Warfare to defend the nation, at round 35,000 servicemen and girls.

Western powers additionally feared Iraq would invade Saudi Arabia and seize the area’s oil provides.

Kuwait grew to become a British protectorate in 1899, and in 1961 it gained independence.

Mr Al-Duwaisan met King Charles III on a number of events, together with 3 times in Kuwait, and he believes “the longer term might be good” beneath his reign.

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