Many happy returns to the Crown Prince of Dubai.
He’s one of the UAE’s favourite royals, and HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum turns 35 today. We know we’re not alone in being huge fans of the poet-adventurer-prince, so we thought it was only fair we celebrated.
Here’s 10 things you might not have known about the man also known as Fazza.
He loves animals
If Sheikh Hamdan was our friend, he’s the one we’d be calling when our pets were acting weird. The man has an incredible bond – and a gentle touch – with animals. Who could forget the time he earned the lasting affection of a little fish by freeing it when it got stuck? Not us.
His best friend is an adorable kid
Mohammed bin Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi, the son of royal associate Ahmed Jaber ‘AJ’ Al Harbi, is extremely close to Sheikh Hamdan’s heart. He often joins the royal’s entourage while travelling, and the two clearly share a special bond.
He went to military school
His Highness graduated from Sandhurst School in England in 2001, crediting his military education for teaching him the value of teamwork and perseverance. Sheikh Hamdan later went on to study at both the Dubai School of Government and the London School of Economics. Which leads nicely into our next point…
He’s patron of a university here in Dubai
Sheikh Hamdan is president of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, founded in 2009. With a focus on business and health studies, the university offers a mix of online and in-person teaching.
He’s a family man
Even the briefest look at Sheikh Hamdan’s Instagram shows how much he loves his family. Whether he’s spending time with the next generation, or looking back to his forebears, His Highness appreciates those closest to him.
He lost his elder brother in 2015
حزني على راشد هو أغلى حزن وآنا من نباه الطـيب أوصيت العيون انـها بدمعي تكرمه لو الـحزن يقدر يـردّه ما ذخـر جفنـي بكـاه حزنت لين الشمس تصبح في عيوني مظلمه لو آتـمنـّى شـي من دنيا الفـنا كان الـمنــاه إن العمر يقسـم ما بين اثنين حتى أقسـمه واعطيه نصف العمر واشوفه على قيد الحياه واعلّـمه وش كبـر قـدره في الصـدر واعلّـمه إنّه هنا في القـلب لين العمر ياصل منتـهاه وانّي أحارب حزنـي بذكره وطيـبه واهـزمه
Sheikh Hamdan’s clear devotion to his family only makes this point sadder. His Highness’s elder brother, Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died of a heart attack at just 33. Sheikh Hamdan has said before that “Rashid’s death is my heaviest sorrow.”
He loves to travel
Sheikh Hamdan isn’t one to let his grief hold him back, though. Just this year he’s travelled to the USA, New Zealand, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Italy (among others). That’s got to be a full passport.
He loves a bit of adrenalin
Those holidays don’t tend to take place on a beach with an ice-cold coconut water, though. Sheikh Hamdan is a little more adventurous than that, whether it means skydiving or spear fishing. We’re sure he makes it look a lot easier than it really is.
He’s a keen photographer
And appreciates others’ work, too. You’ll often find Faz sharing pictures he’s taken himself, and last year he lent his own collection to a public photography exhibition. Nice one.
He’s a bit of an athlete
We’ll watch this one from the sidelines, thanks. Please do note the personalised tee shirt.