Queen ‘terrorized’ Saudi prince driving on country roads in Balmoral – ‘slow down!’ | royal | New

The Queen has played a vital role in promoting the UK on the world stage, meaning she has often been deployed to charm prime ministers, presidents and other royals from abroad . Many political figures around the world have expressed their admiration for Her Majesty, but there was an incident where she took a very influential figure by surprise.

In 1998 Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited the UK. During the trip, he went to see the Queen at Balmoral Castle. Former UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles recalled how Abdullah was “terrified” as the Queen led him into the estate.

The monarch was an experienced driver, having learned during the Second World War, and served as a mechanic and military truck driver for the British Army’s Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service.

But in Saudi Arabia at the time, women were still banned from driving (the law was changed in 2018). The Saudi Crown Prince was therefore uncomfortable jumping in the passenger seat with the Queen.

Sir Sherard wrote for the Sunday Times: “After lunch the Queen had asked her royal guest if he would like a tour of the estate.

“Invited by his foreign minister, the gracious Saudi prince, an initially hesitant Abdullah agreed. The royal Land Rovers were lined up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind.

“To her surprise, the Queen climbed into the driver’s seat, turned on the ignition and drove off. Women are not – yet – allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.

Sir Sherard explained that the Queen was not content to just roam the estate at a relaxed pace. Regardless of who sat in the passenger seat, she floored him on country roads. But this was met with a panicked response from Prince Abdullah.

The British diplomat continued: “Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and focus on the road ahead.”

The Queen told this story to Sir Sherard when he became Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 2003. When the diplomat had his first meeting with Prince Abdullah, he said he “brings greetings from Her Majesty the Queen, who had shared with me good memories of their journey”. through the Highlands.

Prince Abdullah replied: “I suspect, Ambassador, that Her Majesty drives the ship of state more regularly than she drives a Land Rover.”

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Sir Sherard added in his article that “you are not supposed to repeat what the Queen says in private conversation”, but this story was “too funny not to be repeated”.

Following the announcement last Thursday of the Queen’s death, world leaders around the world paid their respects. US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said Her Majesty “was a stateswoman of unparalleled dignity and steadfastness who has deepened the fundamental alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States “.

French President Emmanuel Macron added: “I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

Even leaders of countries with more strained relations with the UK paid tribute. Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed “sincere sympathy to the British royal family, government and people”.

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Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s website published a message addressed to King Charles by Russian President Vladimir Putin which read: “Your Majesty, please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.”

The statement added that “Elizabeth II rightly enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects” and that Putin extended “sincere sympathy and support to members of the royal family”.

Many world leaders will attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday. Controversially, Chinese President Xi was invited despite his country’s aggression against Taiwan and human rights abuses against the Uyghur population.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a Beijing-sanctioned Tory MP, told Politico it was “astonishing” that Chinese representatives were invited.

He added: “How can they ban Belarus, Russia and Myanmar and not say no to China?

“They have a huge record of human rights abuses, including what we believe to be genocide, the destruction of churches and the persecution of Christians.”

Toya J. Bell