When Sheikh Mohammed learned English in Cambridge

"In 1966, the year of discovering oil in Dubai, my father ordered me to travel to Britain to learn English."

In this chapter, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, talks about his life in Cambridge, where his father sent him to learn English. He talks about the way he lived there, and how his father suddenly asked him to return.

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"My father never had any difficulties while dealing with the British who used to visit him. They were either military officials or traders. He always met them with a nice smile, as he met American diplomats or investors.

All these meetings were in the presence of translators.

Despite the fact that all my father's visitors returned with a great impression about him, his face's features seemed very serious when they leave. He used to light up his pipe, look at my mother and tell her that the children must go soon.

Once he said that, she looked very sad.

To that, he gently put his hand on her shoulder, and said: "Latifa, I can't let them feel the same inability of speaking this language, the language of the people we are in need."

Learning English was very important to him, because Dubai in the 1960s was dealing with huge companies, and the rate of development was magnificently accelerating.

In 1966, the year of discovering oil in Dubai, my father ordered me to travel to Britain to learn English.

In August 1966, I arrived at Ms Samers' house in Cambridge, and she seemed a very kind woman. Once I closed the door of my room, I was really homesick.

At night, Ms Samers told me that dinner was ready, and it was beef, mashed potatoes and green peas.

I always remember my father's calls, in which he asked me about the progress of the English lessons.

He gave me two pound sterlings a week, which wasn't enough for me. I had to work in collecting tree leaves to make some extra money. But my father had a two-in-one deal, he taught me English and he taught me the value of the money.

One day, I answered a call that changed my whole life. My father asked me to return home immediately.

He said there was a very important meeting. I took the first flight to Dubai in the next morning.

In what he is calling his "incomplete biography", His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has broken his latest book, Qissati (My Story), into 50 chapters, narrating 50 stories in his 50 years of serving the nation. Khaleej Times got a signed copy of the book from the Dubai Ruler and everyday, we will be featuring excerpts from each of the 50 chapters.

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