The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was a piece of unexpected news last Thursday from the United Kingdom, but at the grand old age of 96 years old, it sadly was not a surprise given her years of service, and the continuation of that service despite the earlier April 2021 passing of Prince Philip which brought their 73 year marriage to a conclusion.
With growing health concerns in more recent times, she had begun passing Royal duties over to now King Charles III, but earlier in the week of her passing she carried out formal duties, meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and meeting the UK's new leader in chief, Liz Truss.
With the Queen now Lying in State as preparations continue for Monday's State Funeral service, it has now been confirmed that some British schools in Dubai will close early at the beginning of next week so families can more easily gather together to watch the televised funeral. Others, will be observing a two minute silence as a mark of respect to the UK's longest serving monarch.
The funeral service itself will take place at 2pm UAE time and it will be a somber day in the United Kingdom, with a Bank Holiday declared and all non-essential shops expected to close. Even sporting events have been cancelled to observe the funeral so the likes of BetStation sports betting sites will be far less busy than expected even only a week ago until everything is back up and running again as normal.
In a letter to parents, Dubai College confirmed that it would be closing early on Monday having secured permission from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority - the regulator of private schools in the emirate.
'Queen Elizabeth II was for all of us the only British monarch that we will have known during our lifetimes. Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, the emotional impact that this news had on members of our community should not be underestimated. For many who have expatriated from the UK, this will be one of the most culturally significant events in the country's history and it is important to allow community members to share in this event.'
The school explained that their proposal would simply see a closure at the beginning of lunch at 12.25pm 'so that those interested and invested in the cultural life of the UK can watch the Queen's state funeral from the comfort of their homes in the company of their families. All extra curricular activities and events on that day will be postponed.'
For those children who do not wish to leave early or simply cannot owing to their parents' own working days, they can instead watch the broadcast live in the auditorium with regular lessons after lunch cancelled.
With the UAE being home to an estimated 240,000 Britons, there are around about 165 schools offering the British curriculum and Jared Nolan, director of UK curriculum school at the Taaleem Group, which operates three such schools in Dubai, have also confirmed that pupils will be given the option of finishing early on Monday, telling The National.
'We recognise that some of our parents and pupils in Taaleem's British Schools will want to finish the school day earlier than usual to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and watch as her life and service to the nation and the Commonwealth is celebrated. To be a part of this, albeit from afar, and join their families at home for this sad but iconic moment, will be important to many in our communities.'
Further schools, such as Horizon and Regent International have stated they will not operate early dismissal on Monday, but will instead observe a two minutes silence and others have simply stated they have approached the education authority for permission to finish earlier after seeking advice from parents, and are waiting to hear back.
It is expected international television channels will be carrying the full service.