Queen Elizabeth II tours Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

UK's Queen tours the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque accompanied by Gen Sheikh Mohammed (WAM)

At the invitation of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday evening in their second state visit to the UAE - the first having taken place in 1979.

They were received by General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State and head of the honorary mission accompanying Her Majesty, and a number of senior state officials, the British ambassador to UAE, Dominic Jermey and members of the British diplomatic mission.

Sheikh Mohammed welcomed them to the UAE and stressed that the visit opens a new phase in the close relations of cooperation and bonds of friendship between the two countries and their peoples.

Sheikh Mohammed accompanied Her Majesty and the entourage for a tour of the mausoleum of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, Foreign Secretary William Hague MP and a number of senior British officials are accompanying Her Majesty on this visit.

Arriving at the tomb, Queen Elizabeth paid respect to soul of Sheikh Zayed, recalling his deeds, wisdom and his hallmark personality of a tolerant and loving leader who sought to extend bridges of friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world and who was resolute on building a modern nation that focuses on preparing capable and enlightened citizens.

Queen Elizabeth and Sheikh Mohammed were then escorted on a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Dr Hamdan bin Mussalam Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf (Endowments), Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque board and Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court. The tour covered the courtyard, the marble columns and domes inside the mosque.

Queen Elizabeth greeted the local and international media representatives before entering the mosque. She marveled at the beauty of the mosque's architecture, Islamic designs and calligraphy.

She and Prince Philip also attended part of the Holy Quran recitation session for the Quran memorisation students at the mosque.

As the Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church (Church of England), Queen Elizabeth is considered the first leader of other religion to officially visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

As one of the most visited buildings in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center was established 2008 to manage the day to day operations, not only as a place of worship and Friday gathering, but has been a place of learning and discovery through its education and visitor programs. Its doors' are open for everyone to come and appreciate the splendour of the building, take a guided tour or simply visit to soak up the tranquility and artistic splendor.