Many happy returns to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

We love to celebrate a birthday around here, especially when it comes to the royal family. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has just turned 57.

So, we thought it was about time we rounded up a few facts about Sheikh Mohammed.

Read on for the need-to-know info on the Abu Dhabi leader.

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He was born in Al Ain

Sheikh Mohammed was born in Al Ain on March 11, 1961, and called the Garden City home throughout his teen years. He attended schools there and in the capital.

He attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Like many of the UAE’s leaders, Sheikh Mohammed then went on to Sandhurst, the elite military training centre southwest of London.

He can fly a helicopter

So perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that the Crown Prince can pilot a helicopter. Video of him at the controls emerged last year, and it’s safe to say we were slightly impressed.

His face has lit up these iconic Dubai buildings

sheikh mohammed

Both the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab were illuminated with Sheikh Mohammed’s face this January, after HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum asked that the city honour him for his hard work.

He’s a major humanitarian

Last June, Sheikh Mohammed pledged Dhs110 million towards ending polio worldwide. It’s just one of his many humanitarian moves.

His father was the UAE’s Founding President

HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan appointed his younger son Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in 2004.

There’s a species of lizard named after him 

When his conservation fund funded work that led to the discovery of a new species of wood lizard, researchers named the creature after Sheikh Mohammed. The Peruvian creature is called Enyalioides binzayedi.

He’s an animal lover

Last summer, when inspecting a building site with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed spotted an endangered hobura bustard nesting.

The pair made the call that to protect the rare bird, the building site would need to be moved. Nice one.

He loves to recognise good works

sheikh mohammed bin zayed

You’ll remember Jawaher Saif Al Kumaiti, the brave Emirati woman who saved a burning driver with her friend’s abaya back in October.

Well, Sheikh Mohammed likely remembers her too. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi met with her at the time to praise her “spontaneous humanitarian act.”

He’s the father of nine children

Sheikh Mohammed married Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan in 1981. The couple have four sons and five daughters.

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