The United Arab Emirates’ President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has named his eldest son, Sheikh Khaled, as crown prince of Abu Dhabi on March 29. The position of the crown prince of the UAE’s richest emirate is a position traditionally held by the leader-in-waiting.
The late Wednesday announcement was part of the biggest political shake-up since 62-year-old Sheikh Mohamed, also called MBZ, became president May 2022 after the death of his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa. MBZ’s brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed became the Vice-President, joining Dubai’s ruler and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the role.
Two other brothers of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – Tahnoun bin Zayed, the UAE’s national security adviser and chairman of the ADQ sovereign wealth fund, and Hazza bin Zayed – became deputy rulers of Abu Dhabi, which controls the bulk of the country’s oil reserves.
Sheikh Khaled’s appointment was welcomed by other Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as leaders of the UAE’s six other emirates. The 41-year-old crown prince is a jiu jitsu aficionado, and has served as a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and as chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, and sits on the board of state oil giant ADNOC. He has been closely involved in youth and environmental projects as well as sport, promoting jiu jitsu and helping bring NBA basketball games to Abu Dhabi.