This is a picture of Sultan Qaboos back in 1970 sitting next to “The White Sultan“, Timothy Landon. There is a good chance that you have heard little or nothing about this man as he tried, succesfully it seems, to stay under the radar throughout his life. This is reportedly the only pic ever taken of him! The whole story is quite intriquing really, like something you see in the movies. (You know, the part where the FBI/CIA agent whispers, “This is the only known photo we have of him from many years ago” in some secret ops room….)
You can read more about this incredibly important individual to the history of Oman and yet widely unknown to the public by checking these sources: TimesonlineObituary, The Guardian Obituary, The Telegraph Obituary, The Independent Article, and The London Evening Standard’s article, “The Rise of the White Sultan” (written while he was living). Many of the things written about him seem to be after his death…
Here are some things I find fascinating about “The White Sultan”:
- He was born in Vancouver, Canada (That’s where I’m from!) to a British military father and Canadian mother. He held a Canadian passport until his family moved back to Britain after WWII.
- He served in both the British and Omani armies and then he got out of the spotlight to become HM’s right hand man in London, handling major partnerships from there.
- It is reported that Sultan Qaboos sent him 1,000,000 English pounds each year on his birthday (other reports say on Christmas).
- His connections eventually made him one of the wealthiest British citizens ever (wealthier than the Queen!) and how he acquired his wealth is another great mystery. (Some say through real estate, others say oil and others say simply through shrewd investments. Gun smuggling sure helped as well!)
- Omanisation (a popular topic these days) seems to have originated with this man!!!
- As advisor and friend to HM Sultan Qaboos, he was pivotal in the coup at the Salalah palace and in the success of the Dhofar War.
- Sayid bin Taimur’s one regret in life, reportedly made on his deathbed, was that he hadn’t had Landon killed. Wow! That should give you a pretty clear idea of just how influential this man was to HM Sultan Qaboos and indeed to the current prosperity that the Sultanate now enjoys!
- At his death, it is estimated that his assets were worth more than £500m! (Not bad for a small town Canadian boy! 🙂 )
- Like HM Sultan Qaboos, Timothy Landon had a great love of classical music and generously supported musicians.
Born on August 20th, Timothy Landon would have turned 69 yesterday. He died in July of 2007.
My question to Omani readers out there is this: How much is known about “The White Sultan” in Oman?! More personally, how much did you know about this individual, Timothy Landon, who seems to have played such a crucial role in the history of the Sultanate of Oman? I think they should turn the life story of this mystifying man into a big screen action film.
Now Not coming soon to a theatre near you: “The White Sultan of Oman”!