Maintaining his iron grip on Egypt for 30-years has earned Hosni Mubarak the rather flattering title of the Pharaoh. But while his personal wealth estimated in some quarters to top £20 billion may draw comparisons to the country's ancient rulers, his popularity among the Egyptian people is far less convincing. During his unopposed time in office, he has managed to maintain a degree of relative stability, while enjoying good relations with the West and Israel. But it has often come at a cost, with many of his o`pponents complaining of poverty, corruption and state brutality. Married to Suzanne, the daughter of a nurse from Pontypridd, Wales, the 82-year-old former Air Force officer is no stranger to the perils of high office, having survived at least six assassination attempts. Born in 1928 in the village of Kahel-el-Meselha on the Nile River Delta, Mr Mubarak, was destined for a career in the armed forces, graduating from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1949. After the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal, opening the door to political power. A loyal servant of President Anwar El-Sadat, he was appointed Vice President in 1975 and performed an important role in cementing Egyptian's relationship with the West. His elevation to the top job came in October 1981 when President Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists. Backed by a constant era of emergency rule, affording the state draconian powers of arrest, Mr Mubarak cemented his position by opposing Islamic extremism and maintaining good relations with the United States. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair enjoyed his hospitality at his luxurious villa in the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, when he holidayed there with his family. The Mubarak's are understood to have properties in Los Angeles, Washington and New York, as well as assets stored in bank accounts in the United States, Switzerland and Britain. His western sympathies may be explained by his half British wife, Suzanne, whose mother, Lily May Palmer, grew up in the valleys of South Wales. The daughter of a colliery manager, Mrs Mubarak's mother was working as a nurse in north London when she met a dashing Egyptian paediatrician, Saleh Thabet. As Egypt's first lady Mrs Mubarak, who is thought to have fled to London since the unrest broke out, has often credited her Welsh roots with aiding her diplomacy skills. In an interview two years ago she said: "I still have cousins in Britain. I am comfortable in both cultures, in both languages, in both worlds and that helps. And that's what I would like for the Arab world, for children from a very early age to start appreciating other cultures." President Mubarak and his wife had two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who both initially followed a career in finance. While the Alaa, the eldest, maintained a relatively low profile and showed no interest in politics, Galam, now 47, has long been seen as the heir apparent to his father's presidency. After graduating from the American University in Cairo he began a career in investment banking, working for the Bank of America in Egypt and later London. Married to Khadiga, who is 20-years his junior, Gamal lived in a five storey Georgian town house on one of Knightsbridge's most desirable streets. Gamal's political career began in 2000 when his father appointed him to the General Secretariat of the National Democratic Party. A committed Anglophile he is on record stating that his two greatest political heroes are Winston Churchill for resisting Nazi Germany and Margaret Thatcher for radically reforming the British economy. Describing his admiration for her policies, he said: "I was living in London during these years and I was able to witness the incredible metamorphosis of this country." While publicly denying any desire to succeed his father, many commentators saw the succession of power as inevitable. But with President Mubarak's grip on power weakening by the hour he and his family may soon be looking for a new home in a sympathetic state.