British Royal Family and Prime Minister lead tributes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos

HM Sultan Qaboos meeting HM The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip in 2010

The Queen has led tributes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who died on Friday. He has been succeeded by cousin His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

The Queen said she is “deeply saddened” by the death of the ruler of Oman, whom she described as a “good friend” of the royal family.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 79, led the Gulf Arab country for half a century with “wise leadership” and a “commitment to peace and understanding between nations and between faiths”, read a statement from the Queen.

She said of the Middle East’s longest-serving ruler: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.

“His devotion to Oman, to its development and to the care of his people was an inspiration.

“He will be remembered for his wise leadership and his commitment to peace and understanding between nations and between faiths.

“He was a good friend of my family and of the United Kingdom, and we are thankful for all he did to further strengthen the bond of friendship between our countries.

“My State Visit to Oman in 2010 remains a cherished memory.”

Meanwhile it is reported that Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend a condolence ceremony at Al Alam Palace, alongside the Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff. They have travelled to Oman to attend the first three days of mourning for Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. A royal spokesman confirmed that Charles has met the new Sultan, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

In a statement on Saturday Mr Johnson said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of the death of the Sultan.

He said: "He will be remembered for his devotion to the development of Oman into a stable and prosperous nation, and as the father of the nation who sought to improve the lives of the Omani people.

The Sandhurst-trained Sultan came to power in 1970, and undertook a massive programme of modernisation.

Sultan Qaboos studied local government in Suffolk as an 18-year-old – holding a post with Suffolk County Council – and also spent a year serving with a British infantry battalion in Germany.

Just last month, the Duke of Cambridge held an audience with the Sultan at the Palace of Bait Al Baraka at the end of a four-day tour of Kuwait and Oman.

William said he was “truly honoured”, and that “it was clear from all those I met that he will be remembered with great affection”.

He added: “His Majesty was unwavering in his commitment to improve the lives of his people, and in his resolve to work towards regional stability. I am thankful for His Majesty’s many years of friendship with my family and the UK.”

Well known Oman based British businesswoman Maggie Jeans, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours for services to Anglo-Omani relations said: "We are all saddened at the loss of Oman's beloved leader. We are sure that his legacy to Oman and the region will live on in the safe hands of his successor His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, a wise experienced statesman and former Minister of Heritage and Culture.”