The Middle East is made up of countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman. When doing business and socializing in the Middle East, it is significant to know how to engage in a social setting with diplomats and or members of royalty. You should be conscious of the protocol you must follow while meeting with these royal family members.
Just like the Western Royals, royalties and diplomats in the Middle East are addressed with
‘Your Royal Highness.’ For ambassadors and ministers, they are normally addressed as
‘Your Excellence, or His / Her Excellence ’ which is a common international designation.
In the Middle East, there are numerous variations of royals between
Kings, Sheikah’s, Sheikhs, Princes, Sultans, and Amirs.
When you understand this hierarchy, it will be more comfortable doing business and understanding the social setting. What’s important is RESPECT. We should respect and show courtesy to all, in return we get respect, honor and courtesy back.
The royal families are vast in numbers. For instance, The House of Saud, the current ruling family in Saudi Arabia is made up of thousands of members. When traveling for long term business or to have a diplomatic or royal meeting in the Middle East, you should learn the family trees, last names, tribe, ranking and the part of the country they reside. It can be quite challenging and may take some time to understand and grasp the pronunciation of all the names.
It is considered respectable and honorable to understand the facts about these families and their rich history in the Middle East. Following protocol with respect and proper use of terms will earn you better opportunities in business etc.
A Sultan in the region is addressed as “Your Majesty’ while a Prince is saluted as “Your Royal Highness” followed by his position if he works for the government. The salutation is the same for a princess. A child or a male grandchild of the monarch is addressed as the Prince and Princess.
A Crown prince is “Your Royal Highness.” There are many expectations, but it is quite easy to distinguish those who are royal and ordinary people in the Middle Eastern Royalty by checking the letter that precedes their name. Take for instance H.H stands for His Highness for the President and Ruler and H.E: ‘His Excellency’ if he/she currently serves as a senior government appointee such as an ambassador or government minister. A senior government minister will be addressed as the ‘Your Excellency’ while an ambassador is ‘Your Excellency.’
When greeting a Sheikha who is not working for the government, it will be followed by her name. For the wife, she will be addressed by the name ‘Her Highness Sheikha’ followed by her name.
There are some exceptions when greeting the King of Saudi Arabia, the absolute Monarch and serves as head of state and head of govern. He is usually addressed as the “The custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”
When visiting the Middle East for business or other purposes, it is crucial to do extensive research and always respect the culture and the leaders of each country. Enjoy the experience of excitement, explorative and cultural.