December 30, 2012
Captured here is a rare moment between official engagements when a father and son can relax.
It was spotted by Guy Gravett, a photographer for BP who was attending an oil industry function on Das Island in 1962, the year Abu Dhabi became an oil exporting nation.
Through an open door, Gravett frames Sheikh Zayed, then the Ruler’s representative in the Western Region, deep in conversation, while next to him, a young boy reaches out his hand seeking reassurance in his father’s arm. Above them hangs the official portrait of Elizabeth II, sovereign of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. In those days, Abu Dhabi was one of the Trucial States, administered by the UK.
Four years later, Sheikh Zayed would become Ruler of Abu Dhabi. In 1971, he was chosen as the first President of the United Arab Emirates, while today, the boy, like the nation, has grown into adulthood.
* James Langton