We love every single one of these.

He’s the ruler of Dubai, the vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, and one of our favourite sources for wise life advice.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been one of the UAE’s most beloved icons for decades, and has particularly shaped Dubai into the city we know today.

But did you know he’s also an avid equestrian? A keen footballer? An intrepid desert camper?

Many of the ruler’s favourite pursuits have been captured by photographers over the years, as well as some of his most heart-warming exchanges with family members.

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And, as a keen Instagrammer, HH Sheikh Mohammed himself often shares a nostalgic throwback image or two with his 2.6 million followers.

So, to brighten up your mid-week, we’ve looked back through the archives to unearth some of our favourite photos ever taken of the royal…

Sheikh Mohammed is a regular at the world’s greatest racetracks, as the founder of the Godolphin racing stable. Here he is pictured at New York’s Belmont Park in 1995.

The royal is also a keen rider, as well as a thoroughbred owner.

#sheikhmohammed #dubai #mohammedbinrashid #hhshkmohd #uae

A post shared by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (@hhshkmohd) on

In fact, he’s pictured riding in many of the throwback images he shares.

It turns out he’s also a football fan, pictured here having a kickabout in an undated photo.

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He’s a frequent face at Royal Ascot, pictured here at the prestigious races in 1992.

من الرَيَّال؟ Do you recognize the man in the photo?

A post shared by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (@hhshkmohd) on

The ruler appears to have spent much of his youth exploring the UAE’s rugged desert.

Here he is relaxing with a drink and his hunting falcons.

This desert snap is a particular favourite of ours.

Sheikh Mohammed is known for his ability to strike up a close bond with animals, which he looks to have done with this racehorse at the Kentucky Derby in 2000.

And this gorgeous little fluff ball.

sheikh mohammed

In one of the earliest shots we could find, HH Sheikh Mohammed is pictured with former Prime Minister Harold Wilson at 10 Downing Street in 1969. The royal was joined by Sheikh Rashid Bin Said al Maktoum, Sheikh Maktoum and Sayed Mahdi Al Tajir for the visit.

Proud father Sheikh Mohammed is pictured here with a young Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan.

The royal also shared this image of himself with sons Hamdan, Maktoum and the late Sheikh Rashid.

Here’s one from a 1970s conference.

A younger Sheikh Mohammed is pictured here with Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

 
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It’s not particularly old, having been taken in 2014, but this tale (which we hadn’t heard before) just sums up what kind of leader Sheikh Mohammed is.

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Images: HH Sheikh Mohammed/Instagram, Getty