Oman National Day, and Harald of Wales

I’m delighted to announce that we have a privileged inside line on the visit of Prince Harry to the Sultanate of Oman in honour of the Omani National Day, 18th November, which happens also to be the birthday of the Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said (an honorary General in the British army, I notice). A colleague of one of our long-term students, Major Mohammad Al-Alawi, took the following photo spread.

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And here are the same events, related by the Omani news service.

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What is the actual name of our genial Prince Harry?

It seems that Harry must be short for something: Harold? Harald? And the royals always go for meaningful strings of the names of their illustrious forebears, like South Sea islanders eating the heads of their deceased fathers in order to imbibe their mojo (I made that up, I think).

It seems like too much effort and not much fun to Google it. Perhaps we can work it out from first principles, or rather, the law of averages. Cry – God for Harry! England and St. George! is Henry V talking about himself, so I suppose Henry is more likely than the rather more left-field Harald, but there has to be something unexpected in the mix. There’s almost certainly a George in there somewhere. Perhaps a Charles. William is unlikely, unless they forgot about his brother when they were naming him. Victoria? A nice idea, but improbable. Edward, perhaps. Clarence?!

So this is my best guess: Prince Harald George Charles Edward Wales. Second guess: Henry George Charles Victoria Wales.

I refuse to look into the matter any further. Answers on a postcard, or whatever passes for a postcard in this day and age.

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The Omani daggers of OISE

KhanjarStudents and teachers at OISE Cambridge will have noticed statuettes of glass daggers spreading like a virus of dream objects around the school in recent weeks. I am looking at one now, a present (as I believe are all the rest) from Colonel Masoud al Mashani of the Omani army, currently studying at the Cambridge school, who must have arrived with a suitcase full of them.

The dagger – known as the Khanjar – is also on the Omani flag, and is a national symbol of the country. Men wear centre-belt it as a badge of office, or as head of the family.

What is that makes a dagger – instrument of lethal vengeance, among other things – a fitting gift? Continue reading