Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the son of the Emir of Fujairah, one of the kingdoms comprising the UAE, has defected to Qatar via that country's London embassy, two sources have told The Telegraph.
As the eldest son of the emir, 31-year-old Al Sharqi, who served as chairman of the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority, was expected to be appointed as Fujairah's crown prince. However the royal reportedly had a falling out with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan after the latter proposed naming Al Sharqi's younger brother as the crown prince, an Emirati palace source said.
Qatar and its Gulf neighbors have been locked in a major diplomatic row for over a year now, with Saudi Arabia and three other countries, including the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain initiating a blockade of the tiny Gulf monarchy last June. The countries have accused Qatar of contributing to the financing of international terrorism, a charge which Doha has denied.