Skeikh Hamdan, or Fazza, as he is fondly known, has been taking social media by storm; racking up over three million followers on Instagram and recently being chosen as one of the top 100 ‘global personalities’ on Snapchat.
His Instagram feed gives us a small insight into his incredible life; he loves to travel, he has an adventurous wild side, and he loves nature, animals and the people closest to him…and only last week he hit the headlines for taking home first place in the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup (an endurance ride of 160km). So, he is social media savvy and an equestrian extraordinaire, but what else is there to know about Sheikh Hamdan? Here’s 10 things every fan should know…
1. He is Crown Prince of Dubai
Sheikh Hamdan is the second of 13 kids to his father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and his mother Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, and he is the third of his father’s 23 children. His eldest brother Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed died of a heart attack in September 2015, at the age of 33. In 2008, Fazza was appointed hereditary Crown Prince of Dubai, skipping his late brother Rashid in the queue because he was, reportedly, more suited for the role.
2. He attended the same college as the British royals
Fazza was educated in Dubai at the Rashid School for Boys and at the Dubai School of Government. Then, like his father before him, he attended Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK (fellow alumni Prince William and Prince Harry), he graduated from there in 2001. He later attended the London School of Economics where he took several specialised training courses in ‘Economy’.
Fazza on education…
Education is so important in life – it is the key to everything that follows. My studies here in Dubai, then in the United Kingdom, opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. Education, knowledge and understanding enable you to look beyond today to new horizons.
Interview with Vision magazine, January 2012
3. He takes an active role in society
In 2009, he was appointed as chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, he is a member of the Dubai Sports Council, and the Dubai Autism Centre and is also head of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid establishment for Young Business Leaders. Initiatives he has launched include the “Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart Government Programme”, in 2013. The initiative aimed to lay down the foundation for a ‘smart’ government, making the government more accessible to the citizens of the UAE through the use of technology. This initiative is hugely successful.
4. He loves a good picture
Fazza loves photography (check out his Instagram page if you don’t believe us) so much so that he founded the Hamdan International Photography Award; (HIPA) in 2011. Last year, the total prize money was $120,000. The award is spread out over five different categories, last year the categories included: ‘Happiness’, ‘wildlife’ and ‘father and son’…we wonder who came up with those!
5. He is an incredible athlete
This month, Fazza took home the gold medal in a 160km endurance ride after competing against a total of 227 riders, representing 41 countries. He is also a passionate freediver (a difficult form of underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold their breath) and does everything from swimming and cycling to snowboarding, running and tennis.
6. He wants to revive the ancient sport of falconry in the UAE
Falconry is an integral part of Emirati cultural heritage. But, due to the amount of construction around Dubai and a loss of desert land, the sport has become depopularised in recent years. Fazza has been doing his utmost to make sure the sport lives on and, each year between December and May, young Emirates are being encouraged to take part in racing ‘captive bred falcon’ competitions.
7. He’s loves adrenaline sports
Everything from wing walking, flyboarding, ziplining past the Burj, flying in an Airbus A380 next to Jet Man, taking a selfie from the top of the Burj Khalifa, diving with elephants, trekking on glaciers – if it sounds terrifying, Fazza has done it.
8. He Snapchats just like the rest of us
When he’s bored, he snaps a pic and sends it to his (thousands of) friends. Sounds pretty normal right? Well, unlike the rest of us, he was one of 100 ‘global personalities’ selected when Snapchat rolled out ‘official emojis’ to verify some VIP accounts. They used a horse icon for Fazza’s account; follow what he’s up to at Faz3.
9. He publishes poetry under the name of Fazza
Why the nick-name Fazza you ask? When he first started to write Nabati poetry (Nabati is a local form of Arabic) he published using the name ‘Fazza’ which is a reference to a legendary Arab knight. Of his poetry he says…
My identity and poetic character through which I humbly attempt to rekindle joy in the hearts of people, alleviate their suffering in my own simple way. I express their hopes and aspirations.
His has written poetry for his Mum, Dad and, most recently, released a poem on the passing of his brother. Take a look at a translation here
10. He loves to travel
From Europe to the States and New Zealand; Fazza has seen it all, and he keeps his loyal followers updated with his adventures on Instagram and Snapchat wherever he goes. Here are some of our favourite pics from his travels.