Warm welcome for the Queen in desert sultanate

The Queen said goodbye to Oman yesterday and immediately received an invitation to return from the country's Sultan.

The two heads of state have known each other for many years and despite the fact the sovereign last visited Oman in 1979 it is thought they have kept in touch during his frequent private visits to the UK. The Arab ruler staged an equestrian extravaganza in the Queen's honour at the weekend that featured displays of horsemanship, riding stunts, races and even two goats who bowed for the Queen.

And she was presented with two fabulous gifts: a 21-carat gold engraved vase and a Faberge-style egg containing a musical carousel.