It has been more than 50 years since Queen Elizabeth II visited Sudan.
During her stay in the Sudanese capital in February 1965, the queen stayed in the colonial-era Grand Hotel overlooking the Nile.
The royal visit took place during Sudan’s first decade of independence.
Her portrait still takes pride of place alongside pictures of other distinguished guests.
“The visit had good resonance with the Sudanese people and with the government of Sudan at the time. It was a very welcome visit to a great extent. Her programme included meeting large crowds of citizens, she also visited important facilities and walked around. People were happy with the visit because at the time the country had gained independence and the colonisation was in the past”, recalls Abdelmoneim Abdelmahmoud al-Hassan, general manager of the “Grand Hotel”.
Khartoum resident Belqis Rikabi, now in her 70s, recalls the day when she was taken from school to greet the Queen.
“When her car came close to our lines, I jumped on the car to touch the dress. One of the guards hit me very hard and she called out ‘no no no why’ so he stopped and I stood as she gave me the edge of the dress to check it” said Khartoum resident Belqis Rikabi.
In subsequent decades, repeated military coups and civil war between north and south Sudan have led to protracted isolation and partition into two independent nations.