Over 200 photographs of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the royal family, including a young Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

[Abu Dhabi - Royal Family]. [Three photograph albums of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the royal family].

[Pakistan, ca. 1970s].

Oblong folio (440 x 340 mm). 3 vols. 189 black and white and 73 colour photographs, ranging from 303 x 257 to 145 x 120 mm, some with later typed captions. Two volumes in contemporary calf, one in contemporary blue leather.


At once a wide-ranging and an intimate portrait of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004), the UAE's founding father, in over two hundred previously unseen photographs. The range of the statesman's life is apparent: on several visits to Pakistan in the early 1970s, Zayed is photographed at state dinners and diplomatic meetings, dining with Dubai's Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum (1945-1921), in discussion with Qatari Sheikh Nasir bin Khalid Al Thani with one of his falcons on his arm, and having a private chat in a car with Pakistani president Yahya Khan (1917-1980).

Several rare photographs show Zayed's young son Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current ruler of Abu Dhabi; Mohammed accompanies his father on a visit to Pakistan in 1973 at just twelve years old, poses for the camera in two solo portraits, and in 1974 is photographed with his young brothers: Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (b. 1963), former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan (b. 1965), former National Security Advisor of the UAE and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1948-2022), Zayed's eldest son and second president of the UAE, also appears in several photographs of political meetings, as does Sultan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1953-2019), Third Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, shown sipping tea in Karachi Palace.

Zayed's more relaxed side also appears: Zayed is shown using a telescope, playing billiards, carem, and the piano, and horseback riding and practicing falconry in the Pakistani countryside. Numerous photographs show the ruling family at work or relaxing together in their residences in Pakistan with their children or at work together with other dignitaries from the region. Often shown in political scenes, sometimes alone but often alongside Zayed, are Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and his son, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan (ca. 1930s-1989). Hamdan's brothers Tahoun, Saif, and Mubarak bin Mohammed Al Nahyan were staunch supporters of Zayed and held high positions in the government (Mubarak was the first interior minister of the UAE), and all appear regularly together or separately, both at work and at ease.

Pakistani president Yahya Khan had been "one of the very first international leaders to reach out to Sheikh Zayed after the UAE had been founded and had, prior to this, in July 1970, been instrumental in creating an agreement to provide technical assistance to the then Trucial States. With the December 1971 union agreement approaching, Pakistan was quick to forge even closer ties, and Khan had been one of the first foreign leaders to offer his congratulations and reiterate his country's support when the UAE was born. Full diplomatic ties were then quickly established, and Pakistan became one of the first to extend recognition to the new country [...] All his life Sheikh Zayed had held a personal affinity for Pakistan. He had hunted there extensively, came to know the people, its culture and lands, and enjoyed close ties with leaders" (Wilson).

Numerous photos printed by Karachi's "Eveready Studio". Altogether a fascinating collection spanning much of the Abu Dhabi royal family and the political actors of the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Pakistan, and Iraq, centered around the founder of the Emirates himself. A fine, unpublished set, previously unknown and without counterparts in the UAEhistory, Keystone or Hulton/Getty press photo archives. In excellent condition.


Cf. Graeme H. Wilson: Zayed - Man Who Built a Nation (Dubai 2013), pp. 111f.

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