HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was born in Salalah, the most southerly city of the state then known as Muscat and Oman, on 18th November 1940. He was the only son of the late Sultan Said bin Taimur and the eighth direct descendant of the royal Al Busaidi line founded in 1744 by Imam Ahmad bin Said. Sultan Qaboos spent his childhood in Salalah. When he reached the age of 16, his father sent him to a private school in England, and in 1960 he entered The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an officer cadet.
After passing out of Sandhurst, he spent a year with a British infantry battalion on duty in Germany and then held a staff appointment with the British army. Later, speaking to young officers at a passing out parade, Sultan Qaboos recalled his own military training. The values that I absorbed have remained with me forever afterwards, he said. I learned that discipline is not just something one imposes on others; it is something that one has, above all, to apply to oneself, if one is to be a worthy leader of men. I also learned the true meaning of service: that is, to give, and not to expect to receive, and that it is the team, and not oneself, that matters. I learned that with responsibility comes obligation.
Having finished his military service, His Majesty studied local government in England and then embarked on a tour of the world. When he returned to Oman, he spent six years studying Islam and Omani history in Salalah. On the abdication of his father and his subsequent accession on 23rd July 1970, Sultan Qaboos moved to Muscat to implement his vision for the countrys development.
Like his famous ancestor Imam Ahmad, the founder of the Al Busaidi dynasty, an outstanding leader who had ended a turbulent era of civil wars and brought peace and stability to Oman, Sultan Qaboos inherited a stagnant, conflict-ridden country. In his first address to the nation, he declared that the country would be unified as the Sultanate of Oman, with a new flag, and ended restrictions on freedom of movement. He called on Omanis who had left the country to return home in order to contribute to the
challenges that lay ahead and to use their talents and expertise to modernise a once powerful nation that had fallen into poverty and decline.
Apart from his role as ruler, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is a man of diverse interests. He has been an enthusiastic horseman since childhood and enjoys other outdoor pursuits, including walking and tennis. His military training has left him with a keen interest in weapons and military equipment; he is an adept marksman and is proud of the Omani shooting teams numerous international successes. He has studied a variety of subjects ranging from religion to astronomy and the environment, languages, literature and history. His passion for music led him to establish the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra in 1985.