Insulting Royalty- Saudi Arabia and Beyond

Many countries with royal families tend to be extremely protective about defending their honor. Thailand was recently in the news because of the jailing of an Australian writer for insulting the monarchy and his subsequent pardon. A few weeks later a British professor ran from Thailand with similar charges against him. Several years ago Spanish magazines were pulled off the shelves for depicting insulting images of the royalty.

Saudi Arabia is similar to many of these countries regarding the high regard for the royal family, with an additional aspect- the Saudi monarchy are the ACTUAL rulers of the country, not just figureheads! This seems to elevate them to an even higher standard where criticism is not allowed at all and makes people very sensitive about the topic. Blogs that criticize the Saudi royals are blocked in the country as are several human rights web-sites.  Defacing the currency is a big no-no as it has images of the royalty on it. People discuss issues like corruption off the record in “safe” settings with trusted friends only. 

These cultural sensitivities were highlighted last week when the coach of the Al-Hilal football (soccer) team was fired and told to leave the country because he threw down his shirt that had the picture of Crown Prince Sultan on it. This happened right after his team won at the Crown Prince Cup. The organizers of the match did not allow the whole team to come to the podium; in anger the coach did not go to the podium and threw his shirt. The next day he was fired. His apology was not accepted.

Saudi Royalty- 2

Saudi nationals are very protective of their King and tend to treat the royalty with a lot of reverence. My disclaimer up front is that I am NOT doing any royal-bashing, I am simply trying to get a handle on the governance structure of this place (and history).

The next table lists the wives of King Abdulaziz al-Saud, and his kids (in no particular order). There were 22 declared wives, 48 legitimate sons and several others. He did not have more than 4 wives at a time. The info available is sketchy and incomplete and thus the table compiled below should not be considered accurate or reliable. The numbers are just for counting purposes, and do not specify the order in which the marriages took place. Many of the alliances were political, many from the same tribes. The Sudayri wife who bore more than 20 children (including the Sudayri 7) was considered one of his favorites.

Wife Children dates Kings
1 Wadhha bint Muhammad bin Burghush divorced
  1. (m) Turki
  2. (m) Saud
  3. (f) Nura
  4. (f) Munira
2. Saud
2 Tarfah bint Abdullah al-Shaikh Abdul-Wahab
  1. (m) Khaled
  2. (m) Faisal
  3. (m) Saad
  4. Nura
3. Faisal
3 Jawhara bint Musaid bin Jiluwi Al Jiluwi
  1. (m) Muhammad
  2. (m) Khalid
  3. (f) Anud
4. Khalid
4 bint Khalid bin Faysal Al Hithlayn
  1. (m) Jiluwi
5 Lajah bint Khalid bin Hithlayn divorced
  1. (f) Sara
6 Hassa bint Ahmad bin Muhammad Al Sudayri divorced
  1. m-Fahd
  2. m- Sultan
  3. f- Luluwah
  4. m- Abdur rahman
  5. m- Naif
  6. m- Turki
  7. m- Salman
  8. m- Ahmed
  9. f- Jawahir
  10. f- Lateefa
  11. f- Zameera
  12. Al-Takhi
  13. Mahtab ul Rashid
  14. f- Sameena
  15. m- Fahid
  16. m- Usman bin Abdullah
  17. m-Farhad Naifi
  18. m- Kamran Naifi
  19. f- Al Jawahir
  20. f- Moudhi
  21. f- Felwa



5. Fahd
7 Bint Ahmad al-Dhukayr divorced
  1. f- Jawhara
8 Bazza
  1. m- Nasir
9 Jawhara bint Saad bin Abd al-Muhsin Al Sudayri
  1. m- Saad
  2. f- Hussa
  3. m- Musaid
  4. m- Abdul Muhsin
  5. f- Al Bandari
10 Bazza
  1. m- Bandar
  2. m- Fawwaz
11 Shahida
  1. m- Mansur
  2. m- Mishal
  3. f- Qumasha
  4. m- Mutib
  5. m- Salman
12 Nura bint Hamud divorced
  1. m- Nayif
13 Fahda bint al Asi bin Shuraim
  1. m- Abdullah
  2. f- Nur
  3. f- Sita
1924- 6. Abdullah
14 Munayir
  1. m- Talal
  2. m- Talal
  3. f- Mishari
  4. m Nawwaf
15 Haya bint Saad bin Abd al-Muhsin Al Sudayri 1913-2003
  1. f- Nura
  2. m- Badr
  3. m- Badr
  4. m- Abdullah
  5. m- Abdul Majid
  6. f- Hussa
  7. f- Mishayl
16 Dalal
  1. m- Thamir
17 Mudhi Al Sudayri
  1. m- Majid
  2. f- Sultana
  3. f- Haya
  4. f- Jawza
  5. m- Majid
  6. m- Sattam
18 Nuf bint Nawwaf bin Nuri Al Sha’lan
  1. m- Thamir
  2. m- Mamduh
  3. m- Mashur
19 Saida al Yamaniyah
  1. f- Abta
  2. m- Hihlul
20 Baraka al Yamaniyah
  1. m- Mugran
22 Aisha
  1. f- Tarfa
23 Futayma
  1. m- Hammad
24 Khadra
  1. m- Abdus Salam
25 Bushra
  1. m-Mishari
26 Hussa bint Minahi al-Sur divorced
  1. f- Sultana
27 ?
  1. m- Jiluwi
  2. f- Dalil
  3. f- Salwa
28 ?
  1. (m) Khalid
29 ?
  1. (m) Muhammad
30 ?
  1. (m) Abdullah
31 ?
  1. m- Fahd
32 ? divorced
  1. m- Fahd
  2. f- ?
33 ?
  1. f- Shaykha
34 ?
  1. m- Badr
35 Al- Jazi bint Muhammad bin Hazzam Hithlayn divorced
36 Jawahir bint Muhammad bin Talal Al Rashid divorce?
37 Sarah bint Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saud divorced
38 Bint Figri
39 Wasmiyah al-Damir
40 Kalthum bint Ibrahim bin Ufaysan divorced
41 Hussa bint Sahan bin Zayd al Mutluq divorced
42 Dahha
43 Hussa bint Bandar bin Watban Mutayr


Saudi Royalty – 1

Saudi nationals are very protective of their King and tend to treat the royalty with a lot of reverence. My disclaimer up front is that I am NOT doing any royal-bashing, I am simply trying to get a handle on the governance structure of this place.

As far as I have found, since the foundation of the modern country, the kingdom has been ruled by the founder, followed by his sons. All the sons are in their 70s to 80s and the remaining members are not very healthy.

What I recently found out was that there is an Allegiance Institute that has been formed in 2006 to decide who will be the next ruler, smoothly.

Saudi kings (you can get a detailed family tree here or on Wiki):

  King: relation Mother rule
1 Abdulaziz al-Saud
founder Sara bint Ahmad al-Kabir bin Muhammad Al Sudayri 1932-1953
2 Saud bin AbdulAziz
son Wadhha bint Muhammad bin Burghush 1953-1964
3 Faisal bin Abdulaziz
son Tarfah bint Abdullah al-Shaikh Abdul-Wahab 1964-1975
4 Khalid bin Abdulaziz
(died of natutal causes)
son Jauhara bint Musa’d Al Saud 1975-1982
5 Fahd bin Abdulaziz
(died of natural causes)
son Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi 1982-2005
6 Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
son Fahda bint Asi al-Shuraim 2005-
7 Crown Prince:
Sultan bin Abdulaziz
son Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi next in line

What is more interesting are the tribal lines and the sheer number of kids that everyone around here knows about and consider you a tad slow if you do not realize they exist 🙂

I was planning on adding the table of the wives and kids of the founding king however the numbers are a little more than I had realized (the count of his kids ranges from 60+ to 90+) and different sources give different info. It’ll try to reconcile the info and it should show up in another post!