Monday, 21 May 2012

Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa AL Khalifa (RAK)

One day I had a call from Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa AL Khalifa, the Prime Minister’s son to pop over to his office to see him and to bring some brochures with me. As Sheikh Ali had taken delivery of his two Porsche 928S cars by then, I was a little bewildered why he wanted to see me as surely he was not looking to buy another one?
I took a set of brochures with me and duly went into Isa’s office and fifteen minutes later I was called through to Sheikh Ali. There were two under-secretaries and a senior ranking officer waiting in Isa’s office with me but I went through in front of them.
Sheikh Ali asked if I had bought some Porsche brochures and I gave them to him. He looked through them briefly and by the way he did that, I knew he wanted to talk about something quite different. He then asked me about Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa, our partner and sponsor and the conversation got more and more personal about Rashid’s life style. I realised that he was seeking background information on Rashid as a possible suitor for his sister Sheikh Lulwa (which means Pearl in Arabic).
            I had followed the Al Khalifa Family as much as I could as an outsider and a westerner, and they fascinated me. A friend of ours had been drafted in from London a year or so earlier and had been commissioned by the Amir, Sheikh Isa, to draw up the AL Khalifa Family Tree. This was a very large document that showed the Al Khalifa Family roots from invading and occupying Bahraini Islands over two hundred years ago and all the decedents until modern day. Each member of the Ruling Family was given one original copy to keep, hand printed in gold leaf. Terry who had produced this work had produced several thousand originals.
            I had coffee with Sheikh Ali and we chatted for a while longer and then he said he needed to get on so I left. He personally walked my out of his office and I was really excited about telling Rashid what had happened. I left a message for Rashid to call me urgently and he popped into the office around 4pm that day. I told him what had transpired earlier in the day and he looked really worried. I asked him why?  He said, “If Sheikh Khalifa, the P.M. asks me to marry his daughter, he would have to!”
I had discussed this with Bob and Rob earlier and I saw this as a really good thing for Rashid personally and our business. I suggested Rashid go and see his older brother, Sheikh Mohammed who was the Bahraini Interior Minister and effectively head of Rashid’s side of their family, as he was sure to be able to offer sound advice. So Rashid went to see him at his private garden in Budaiya and popped into to see me at my house of his way home. It now looked like Rashid was going to marry the P.M’s daughter and I was delighted by this news, although Rashid was very concerned that he was out of his league both politically and financially.
A date was set for Rashid to formally meet the P.M. and Bob had a special Porsche Design briefcase made up in black leather embossed in gold leaf to carry Rashid’s financial present “Dowry” to his prospective father in law. Rashid was not at all wealthy compared the P.M.’s direct family but I told him that the Amir, who was his first cousin and also the brother of the P.M, would certainly help him out, as he must have been consulted in this matter. Sure enough the Amir assisted with a cash Dowry and Rashid came back from his successful meeting with his prospective father-in-law and the wedding date was set.

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