Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed power over to his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on 25 June.

In a televised address to the nation, Sheikh Hamad said: “As I address you today; I declare that I will hand over the reins of power to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani; and I am fully certain that he is up to the responsibility; deserving the confidence; capable of shouldering the responsibility and fulfilling the mission.”

Sheikh Tamim had been the heir apparent and was widely expected to take over from his father following a story in the UK’s Daily Telegraph in early June that stated the handover would begin by the end of this month. The story also said that the transition would also involve Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, stepping down at the same time.

Sheikh Hamad’s speech made no reference to the prime minister.

The 33-year old Sheikh Tamim, who is the son of Sheikh Hamad with his consort Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, has played a prominent role in Qatar’s development in recent years. He is the head of the Supreme Committee overseeing the hosting of Fifa’s football World Cup in 2022. His role on the international stage has been less high profile, although it is widely expected that he will continue the policies of his father in regional hotspots such as Syria, Lebanon and Libya.

Sheikh Hamad has been in power since 1995, following a bloodless coup that involved him seizing power from his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani. Since then, he has overseen a period of unprecedented development in Qatar that has seen the country’s economy grow to have the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world.

With economic growth, the country’s profile skyrocketed internationally with active involvement in regional conflicts and hosting major sporting events such as the 2006 Asian Games, and the 2022 World Cup.

His health has been an issue over the past few years and he was said to have undergone a kidney transplant in 2012.