by Scott Mehl
King Salman of Saudi Arabia
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Head of the House of Saud, was born on December 31, 1935 to King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and one of his wives, Hassa bint Ahmad Al Sudairi. He and his six full brothers were known as the ‘Sudairi Seven’. Raised at the Murabba Palace, Salman received his early education at the Princes’ School in Riyadh.
At the age of 19, he was appointed Deputy Governor of Riyadh and later served a Governor from 1963 until 2011. From November 2011, he served as Defense Minister under his half-brother, King Abdullah. He was also appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister replacing his brother, the late Crown Prince Sultan. In 2012, following the death of another brother, Crown Prince Nayef, Salman was named Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister.
Salman became King of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah. He named his younger half-brother, Muqrin, as Crown Prince. However, in April 2015, he removed Muqrin and instead named his nephew, Muhammad bin Nayef, as Crown Prince. In June 2017, King Salman removed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef from all positions and named his son Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince. Previously, he had been Deputy Crown Prince.
Soon after taking the throne, Salman streamlined the government, consolidating several different areas into two main organizations – The Council of Political and Security Affairs, and the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
King Salman has made headlines for his extravagant trips to the United States and the southern coast of France, traveling with an entourage numbering in the hundreds. He has also been the source of much media speculation as to his health. Some media reports have suggested that the King is suffering from some form of dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s Disease. There has been no formal statement from the Royal Court regarding these claims.
King Salman has married three times. His first wife was his first cousin, Sultana bint Turki Al Sudairi (died 2011) with whom he had six children:
- Prince Fahd (1955 – 2001)
- Prince Sultan (born 1956)
- Prince Ahmed (1958 – 2002)
- Prince Abdulaziz (born 1960)
- Prince Faisal (born 1970)
- Princess Hassa (born 1974)
His second wife was Sarah bint Faisal Al Subai’ai (divorced), with whom he had one son:
- Prince Saud (born 1986)
His third wife was Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan Al Hithalayn, with whom he had six sons: