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A Guide to Saudi Arabia Politics: 2. Information on Royal family

2. Information on Royal family

      The royal family in Saudi Arabia, also known as the House of Saud, traces its origins to the 18th century when Muhammad ibn Saud ruled several parts of the Arabian Peninsula (PBS). The modern House of Saud was established in 1932 with the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud. Only Abd al-Aziz’s descendants belong to the “royal family” and can come to throne. Starting from 1953 (Abd al-Aziz’s death) the throne was held by his sons. There is a strict line of succession in the royal family – Abd al-Aziz’s sons, starting from the oldest, King Faisal, are ruling the country. To date, five of his sons have ruled the country: Saud (1953-1964), Faisal (1964-1975),Khalid (1975-1982), Fahd (1982-2005), and Abdullah (2005- till present) (PBD).Taking into consideration Quran’s right to have up to four wives at a time, the royal family increased significantly and currently has over 15,000 members (The Economist). The royal family holds many governmental posts and almost all political and economic power in the country. Several of Abd al-Aziz’s sons serve in the highest levels of government: Salman, Nayef, and Sultan (PBS). Almost all Abd al-Aziz’s sons are in their eighties, therefore, the third generation of Saudi kings will soon head the state.