Princess in the Emirates
Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, made a significant impact when she visited the conservation mountain area, Wadi Wurayah, in the emirate of Fujairah, UAE.
The 33 year old heiress-apparent to the Swedish throne was in the UAE primarily to attend the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi where she also attended and spoke at the Young Future Energy Leaders gathering.
The Princess had a busy schedule, officially opening the Swedish pavilion at the Summit, visiting the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), inspecting the Masdar Institute, inaugurating the Swedish SymbioCity Office at Masdar City and opening the new IKEA store on Yas Island.
In Dubai, Princess Victoria went to the Swedish LEED Platinum certified ESAB facilities in Jebel Ali Free Zone [see some of the pictures] and stopped by the Scandinavian Seaman’s Center.
Informality in Fujairah
In addition to the more formal ambassadorial duties the Swedish Princess was keen to add a more relaxed event by travelling to Fujairah to visit Wadi Wurayah, the first protected mountain area in the Emirates. This was a chance to learn, to give valuable international recognition and to lend support to one of the UAE’s major environmental projects.
While the Princess arrived in Fujairah on time the drizzle and cloud cover forced her helicopter to land at the airport and travel by car to the mountain site.
Princess Victoria was warmly greeted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the Crown Prince of Fujairah, his brother, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of the Fujairah Authority for Culture and Information, officials from the Crown Prince’s Office and the Fujairah Municipality, Her Excellency, Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EWS-WWF as well as several of the EWS-WWF staff members involved in the Wadi Wurayah conservation project.
After meeting and greeting in the open air where display boards communicated the work of Wadi Wurayah, conversation continued over refreshments served in a tent that was decorated with more pictures depicting the wadi’s wildlife.
Some informal speeches were made overlooking the Wadi Wurayah dam against the scenic backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. During this time, Her Excellency, Razan Al Mubarak, presented the Princess and the Prince with a colourfully illustrated book on Wadi Wurayah, as a memento of this important meeting.
The Princess was enquiring, engaging, vivacious and generously appreciative of the opportunity to visit Wadi Wurayah. In her formal speech in Abu Dhabi she had spoken passionately about her country’s commitment to the environment where her father, His Majesty the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf is also the President of WWF-Sweden. At Wadi Wurayah the Princess turned the pages of the book with great delight and then expressed her eagerness to experience firsthand the richness of this area.
Walking the Wadi
The Princess and her aides accompanied Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Rashid as they drove to the waterfall followed by a dozen land cruisers that received a thorough going workout as they twisted and rocked up the river bed.
When the cars reached the waterfall Sheikh Mohammed took the royal party to see the pools, where the supply of water all through the year is the key to why this area is able to sustain a large number of mammals, fish and plants.
The Princess was keen to get into the great outdoors. She scaled the rock face with great agility and appeared to enjoy as much walking around the wadi as time permitted.
All Good Things…
The royal party returned to the hospitality tent outside which gifts were exchanged and farewells were made. Clearly, the Princess had enjoyed the outdoor experience and the gracious hospitality of the Fujairah Crown Prince. Her only regret was the limited time but invitations were quickly extended to the Princess to return for a longer period.
As her helicopter lifted and soared across the now sunny and clear skies the Princess was able to get some stunning aerial views of this Fujairah wonderland. As the royal party concluded those on the ground were left ruminating over the significance and usefulness of what they had experienced.
Spectators were left in no doubt as to the passion and commitment to the environment of these royal representatives. This should give their respective constituencies great hope to know that in the future they will have a genuine concern for the environmental impact of any change that they are implementing.
The visit by the heir-apparent of Sweden to the UAE’s first protected mountain area underscores the importance of the vision and decree by His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah and the ongoing support given by His Highness, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah.
The visit of the Princess in her own right and on behalf of her father, His Majesty the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and President of WWF-Sweden conveys international recognition to what the Fujairah Government is doing as well as the EWS-WWF personnel working in Wadi Wurayah.
Spawning a Lasting Friendship
“I’d like to come back,” are words that slip glibly off our tongues when we depart but this Princess seemed genuine about her enjoyment of the day and her endorsement of the Wadi Wurayah project. Could this visit signal the beginning of a new partnership between Sweden and Fujairah, UAE? Princess Victoria’s country has a rich and proud history of environmental responsibility. Fujairah has an amazing National Park that is being developed for the world to enjoy. At this juncture, when new animal and plant species are being discovered every year, when a Visitor’s Centre is on the drawing board, Park Rangers are needing to be employed and trained and outdoor educational opportunities have only just begun, a Swedish-Emirati partnership makes good sense and would be mutually beneficial.
If something like this was to happen in the future, yesterday’s event would certainly have been a right royal visit.
Take a Look
Some photos of the visit of Her Royal Highness to Wadi Wurayah are in this photo album.
H.R. H. Crown Princess, Biography, Swedish Royal Court.
Personal Website of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah.
The Royal Treatment for Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah, FIF, 19 January 2011.
This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.
Images: The Princess enjoyed walking around Wadi Wurayah.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Posted by Geoff Pound at 6:29 PM