Kensington Palace says it was the first official visit of the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, to the UAE.
The visit comes as Britain seeks to deepen trade ties with wealthy Arab Gulf states as part of a post-Brexit strategy.
The oil-rich UAE has pledged to invest £10 billion in Britain and say it wants a free trade agreement with the country.
Prince William, second in line to the British throne, began a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday at a time when the former British protectorate was dealing with an unprecedented but largely foiled series of missile and drone attacks.
Kensington Palace said it was the Duke of Cambridge’s first official visit to the UAE. Six of its emirates were no longer British protectorates fifty years ago when they joined a federation. The seventh joined in 1972.
The visit, at the request of the British Foreign Office, comes as it seeks to deepen trade ties with wealthy Arab Gulf states as part of its post-Brexit strategy.
William will visit the Expo 2020 World Expo hosted by Dubai and will also promote his environmental award, The Earthshot Prize, and highlight the United for Wildlife campaign against illegal wildlife trade.
“Excited to arrive in Dubai to celebrate the UK at @DubaiExpo and to discuss the crucial issue of working with the UAE and international partners to achieve a more sustainable world,” William wrote on Twitter.
The oil-rich UAE pledged to invest £10 billion in Britain last year and have said it wants a free trade agreement with the country.
But as Britain seeks to engage globally post-Brexit, opposition lawmakers and campaigners have criticized the government for prioritizing business over human rights issues.
Britain condemned a January 17 drone and missile attack that killed three civilians in the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi and was claimed by Houthis, Iran-affiliated Yemen, who is fighting the UAE as part of a Saudi-led military coalition.
The UAE has said two other airstrikes by the Houthis and a fourth, claimed by another shadowy group, were intercepted without casualties.
While the British monarch has few practical powers and is expected to be impartial, it gives Britain a measure of “soft” power in global diplomatic relations.