Qaboos bin Said Al Said (Arabic: قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد; Qābūs ibn Sa’īd Āl Sa’īd; born 18 November 1940 in Salalah) is the Sultan of Oman, the first since the country gained independence. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Sa‘id ibn Taymur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th descendant of the Al Bu Sa’idi dynasty.
Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id was born in Salalah in Dhofar on 18 November 1940. He is the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and princess Mazoon al-Mashani. He is one of the 8th generation of the Al Bu Sa‘idi dynasty. He received his primary and secondary education in Salalah and at Pune, in India, and was sent to a private educational establishment in England at age sixteen. At 20 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined a British Infantry regiment, The Cameronians, and served in the 1st Battalion in Germany for one year. He also held a staff appointment with the British Army.
After his military service, Sultan Qaboos studied local government subjects in England and, after a world tour, returned home to Salalah where he studied Islam and the history of his country. Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is a Muslim of the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, which has traditionally ruled Oman. A religious liberal, he has financed the construction or maintenance of a number of mosques, notably the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, as well as the holy places of other religions.
In 1976 Qaboos ibn Sa‘id married his cousin, Kamila, née Sayyidah Nawwal bint Tariq (born 1951), daughter of HH Sayyid Tariq ibn Taymur, but the marriage soon ended in divorce.
Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is an avid fan and promoter of classical music. His 120-member orchestra has a high reputation in the Middle East. The orchestra consists entirely of young Omanis who, since 1986, audition as children and grow up as members of the symphonic ensemble. They play locally and travel abroad with the sultan. Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin was commissioned to compose a work entitled Symphonic Impressions of Oman and is particularly enthusiastic about the pipe organ.
The Sultan’s birthday, 18 November, is celebrated as Oman’s national holiday. The first day of his reign, 23 July, is celebrated as Renaissance Day.