Dubai: British expats and other residents in the UAE expressed their love for UK’s late Queen Elizabeth II as they made their way to sign a condolence book set up by the British Embassy in Dubai at the QE2 (Queen Elizabeth II) ship at Port Rashid in Deira on Saturday.
“We came to pay our respect to a very humble, gracious and powerful woman, who at such a young age was given a big responsibility and did her absolute best service. We felt very sad losing her,” British national Claire Spring, 41, who came with her young children to sign the book of condolence, told Gulf News.
The longest-serving British monarch passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. UAE leaders earlier expressed their sincere condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and the people of UK, and the UAE announced on Friday that flags in the country as well as its embassies abroad will fly at half-mast for three days. There was also a 96-round gun salute ― symbolising the years lived by the queen - on a UK Royal Navy ship on Friday in Dubai.
Where to offer condolences
On Saturday, the British Embassy in the UAE tweeted: “Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the British Embassy in Dubai have arranged two locations where members of the public will be able to offer their condolences.
“In Dubai, condolences can be given at the QEII at Port Rashid between the hours of 10am and 6pm from Saturday, September 10, onwards. In Abu Dhabi, condolences can be given at St. Andrew’s Church, Al Barq Street, Al Mushrif between the hours 12-6pm from Monday, September 12, onwards.”
Love and reverence
The mood over the weekend at the retired British ocean liner, which has been converted into a floating hotel, was of love and reverence for the queen.
With the Union Flag on the right and the UAE flag on the left, a mid-size table draped in blue and decorated with a bouquet of white flowers was placed for people to write their messages as they looked at the framed photograph of Queen Elizabeth II.
“It’s such an emotional day today,” said UK national Grace Emmerton, adding: “With the passing of our queen and watching the coronation of King Charless III, I also remembered the feeling of losing of my grandparents who served in the UK military and navy.
“Coming here at QE2 hotel was touching as I heard stories about this ship from my Nanna who left city to countryside, and my great grandparents who travelled on this iconic cruise ship QE2 to settle in America,” added Emmerton, who has been living in Dubai for 10 years.
Another British national, Lee Gleave, also came to “honour the legacy and wonderful life” of the late queen. He said: “Queen Elizabeth, you’ve been so amazing. You made me so proud being British. Now, rest in peace.”