Dubai: The UAE's British residents on Friday celebrated the royal wedding with equal doses of pomp, circumstance and good old-fashioned fun at events public and private, united in a spirit of patriotism and pride.
Most of Dubai's usual Friday brunches took on a royal wedding theme, screening the ceremony on big screens amid red white and blue buntings.
Over 700 revellers
Most of them were sold out ahead of time, including the Arabian Ranches Polo and Equestrian Club garden party, which saw over 700 revellers celebrating the "best of British".
"It makes me feel very proud to be British," said Andrea Greenfield, a Dubai resident at the event, who accessorised with a Union Jack flag over her shoulders.
"Kate looks stunning, it's nice to see everything running on time and very organised, and nice to be celebrating with other people. It's been a long time since Diana and Charles got married — I was too young to really appreciate it then, so it's nice to be old enough to celebrate it now," she said.
A sense of pride
Many of the other British guests agreed that the wedding brought with it a sense of pride for their country, and being in Dubai for the occasion only reinforced the sentiment.
"I think that the one thing that the UK has left is its heritage, its history and its culture, and it's something we should be very proud of. Prince William was born to do the job and I for one am very happy to be here," said Richard Holmes, a Dubai resident for four years. Being in Dubai made the event "really apparent."
"You're more aware of you own culture and your own patriotism when you're away from it. You talk to people back home and they say, it's all hype and I'm the one saying, ‘come on, this is what we've got, this is what we're about'.
When you're away from it, you realise how important it is to the rest of the world that we've got this culture and history. Kings and queens have been forever. I think it's a massive thing. I am not a stout patriot, or a stout royalist, but I think it's brilliant."
Monarchy in action
Alongside the Britons were several Australians, including the event organiser Susan Farrow, of British expat network Dubai Reunited. "It's not just British, but also Australians, Americans and those from the Commonwealth. We all remember Diana's wedding and William is close to our hearts," she said.
"From an Aussie point of view, it was nice to see the monarchy in action," said Cameron Paul, an Australian who moved to Dubai three months ago, adding the event was also a great way for the expat community to feel more united. "I came here to hang out with expats in Dubai and to celebrate something that doesn't happen very often."
Despite the searingly hot summer afternoon, those gathered on the polo club's terrace were turned out in their regalia, from bowler hats and feathered fascinators to suits and formal dresses.
One element that united all was the common agreement that Catherine Middleton's dress, designed by Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton in ivory satin and lace, was as elegant and understated as the princess herself, and that was a good thing.