Saudi Arabia

Last modified: 22 November 2020

The country

The state is known as Al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabiyyah as-Su’u-diyyah in its national language. This means the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country is being reigned by the Al-Saud dynasty.

The human habitation in the Arabian peninsula dates back to about 20.000 years ago. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 Abu Bakr became the leader of the Muslims and the first Caliph. The Arabs expanded their territory outside Arabia in the second half of the 7th century. The Saudi peninsula reverted however to traditional tribal rule.

In the 18th century Muhammad bin Saud established the First Saudi State in 1744, and by 1788 the state ruled over the entire central plateau known as the Najd. By the early 19th century the rule extended to most of the Arabian peninsula, including Mecca. After a short attack of the Ottoman Empire, the Al-Saud family regained power by 1824. Turki bin Abdullah Al-Saud transferred the capital to Riyadh and established the Second Saudi State. After 1865 Ottoman armies again captured parts of Saudi Arabia. The Al-Rashid family tried to overthrow the Saudi State.

In 1891 Abdulrahman bin Faisal Al-Saud had to give up and sought refuge with the Bedouin tribes in Rub’ Al-Khali, and then until 1902 the family stayed in Kuwait. His son Abdulaziz in 1902 started to overthrow the Al-Rashid family. In 1924 and 1925 he had captured not only Riyadh, but also the Hijaz, including Mecca. He united tribes into one nation. The country was named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 23 September 1932.


The current sovereign is The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia. He was born on 31 December 1935.

He is the 25th son of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia (1876-1953) and one of his at least 22 wives Hassa bint Ahmed Al-Sudairi (1900-1969).


King Salman succeeded his half-brother King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud after his death on 23 January 2015. He had been a Crown Prince since 18 June 2012.

Other details

The King is a Muslim (Sunni).

Marriage and descendants

King Salman had three wives. He first married Sultana bint Turki Al-Sudairi (died 2011).

Their children:

  • Prince Fahd (1955-2001)
  • Prince Sultan (born 1956)
  • Prince Ahmed (1958-2002)
  • Prince Abdulaziz (born 1960)
  • Prince Faisal (born 1970)
  • Princess Hussa (born 1974)

He married secondly Sarah bint Faisal Al-Subai’ai.

Their children:

  • Prince Saud (born 1986)

He married thirdly Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan Al-Hithalayn.

Their children:

  • Crown Prince Mohammed (born 1985)
  • Prince Turki (born 1987)
  • Prince Khalid (born 1988)
  • Prince Naif
  • Prince Bandar
  • Prince Rakan.

King Salman has numerous grandchildren, and probably great-grandchildren.

Heir to the throne

The heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia since 21 June 2017 is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, born in Riyahd or Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 31 August 1985.

He had been the deputy crown prince since 19 April 2015.

He is a son of Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia (1935) and his third wife Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan Al-Hithalayn.

Crown Prince Mohammad is married to Princess Sarah bint Mashhoor bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia since 2008.

Their children:

  • Prince Salman
  • Prince Mashhoor
  • Princess Fahda
  • Princess Nora

Postal address

Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion. The country is a monarchy.

The rule passes to the sons of the founding King, Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud, and to his children’s children. The King chooses the Heir Apparent and relieves him of his duties by Royal order. The Heir Apparent is to devote his time to his duties as an Heir Apparent and to whatever missions the King entrusts him with. The King may delegate prerogatives to the Heir Apparent by Royal decree. The Heir Apparent takes over the powers of the King in case the King travels abroad. He also takes over the powers of the King on the latter’s death until the act of allegiance has been carried out.

In 2006 King Abdullah introduced a new way for declaring a reigning monarch or his designated successor. He had a committee of descendants of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud created. The membership of the committee is limited to the sons of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, or grandsons whose father has died or is incapable, as well as one son each designated by the King and the Crown Prince. The amount of princes wasn’t established. The committee will be chaired by the oldest surviving descendant of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The decisions will be taken by majority vote on a secret ballot, and will have a quorum of two- thirds of its members. The committee will choose a crown prince from up to three candidates put forward by the king. The committee can however also reject all of them and put forward their own candidate. In case of rejection by the king the committee has one month to vote between the king’s candidate and their own.

The King in 2006 also set up a medical commission of five members, that has to decide whether a king or crown prince is able to continue his duties. In case the monarch is incapable, an interim council of five members will be formed by the committee of descendants of King Abdulaziz bin Saud to supervise the affairs of the Kingdom until a successor has been chosen.


The king is The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty .. (first name) bin .. (name of his father) Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia. The heir to the throne is His Royal Highness Crown Prince .. bin .. Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia. The other legitimate descendants of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud are Prince(ss) .. (first name) bin(t) .. (name of the father) Al- Saud of Saudi Arabia and are styled His/Her Royal Highness.

The Kings of Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman (1876-1953)1932-1953
Saud bin Abdulaziz (1902-1969)1953-1964
Faisal bin Abdulaziz (1906-assassinated 1975)1964-1975
Khalid bin Abdulaziz (1913-1982)1975-1982
Fahd bin Abdulaziz (1921-2005)1982-2005
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (1924- )2005-2015
Salman bin Abdulaziz (1937- )2015-


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