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Old 08-26-2005, 01:17 PM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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Why so many Saudi Princes?

Just about everytime I hear about a Saudi dignitary, whether he be a diplomat, envoy etc. he is always referred to as a Prince. How is it the case that there are so many Princes?

Is it a title like a British knighthood, or is it just the case that they have a huge royal family?
Old 08-26-2005, 01:29 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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For one thing, King Ibn Saud, the founder of the present state, had many offspring:

From wiki

The number of children that Ibn Saud fathered are unknown, and estimates range from about 50 to over 200. They include: 

   1. By Wadhba bint Muhammad al-Hazzam
         1. Saud (January 12, 1902 - February 23, 1969); reigned 1953-1964
         2. Turki (1917-1919)
   2. By Tarfah bint Abdullah al-Shaykh Abdul-Wahab
         1. Khaled (born 1903, died in infancy)
         2. Faisal (April 1904 - March 25, 1975); reigned 1964-1975
   3. By Jauhara bint Musa'd Al Saud
         1. Muhammad (1910-1988)
         2. Khaled (1913 - June 13, 1982); reigned 1975-1982
         3. Jauhara
         4. Anud (born 1917)
   4. By Bazza
         1. Nasser (born 1919)
         2. Bandar (born 1923)
         3. Fawwaz (born 1934)
   5. By Jauhara bint Sa'ad al-Sudairy
         1. Saad (1920 - 1990s)
         2. Musaid (born 1923)
         3. Abdalmohsen (1925-1985)
   6. By Hussah bint Ahmad al-Sudairy (these are known as the "Sudairi Seven")
         1. Fahd (1923 - August 1, 2005); reigned 1982-2005
         2. Sultan (born January 5, 1928); current crown prince
         3. Abdul-Rahman (born 1931)
         4. Turki (born 1932)
         5. Nayef (born 1934)
         6. Salman (born 1936)
         7. Ahmed (born 1940)
         8. Sa'ad (born 1914, died 1919) (he married Hassa al-Sudairy twice and Sa'ad was the child of their first marriage)
   7. By Shahida
         1. Mansur (1922 - May 2, 1951)
         2. Mishal (born 1926)
         3. Qumasha (born 1927)
         4. Muteb (born 1931)
   8. By Fahda bint Asi al-Shuraim
         1. Abdullah (born August 1924); current king, since 2005
         2. Nuf
         3. Sita
   9. By Haya bint Sa'ad al-Sudairy (1913 - April 18, 2003)
         1. Nura (died 1930)
         2. Badr (born 1933)
         3. Hassa
         4. Abdalillah (born 1935)
         5. Abdalmajid (born 1940)
         6. Mashael
  10. By Munaiyir
         1. Talal (born 1931)
         2. Badr (1931-1932)
         3. Mishari (1932 - May 23, 2000)
         4. Nawwaf (born 1933)
  11. By Mudhi
         1. Majed (October 19, 1938 - April 12, 2003)
         2. Sattam (born January 21, 1941)
  12. By Nouf bint al-Shalan
         1. Thamir (1937 - June 27, 1959)
         2. Mamduh (born 1940)
         3. Mashhur (born 1942)
  13. By Saida al-Yamaniyah
         1. Hidhlul (born 1941)
  14. By Baraka al-Yamaniyah
         1. Muqren (born September 15, 1945)
  15. By Futayma
         1. Hamud (born 1947)
  16. By ??
         1. Fahd (1905-1919)
         2. Sara (c. 1916 - June 2000)
         3. Shaikha (born 1922)
         4. Talal (1930-1931)
         5. Abdalsalam (1941)
         6. Jiluwi (1942-1944)
Old 08-26-2005, 01:34 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Muslims can at most have four wives; each must be maintained in the same style and custom as the others. But divorce is not a tough thing to do, so with oil wealth some Saudi royals began to cycle through wives, adding new ones in as they divorced others.
Old 08-26-2005, 01:36 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Also, IIRC, when the House of Saud gained control of the Peninsula and joined together with the founders of Wahhabi, every Saud was a "prince", not just those directly descended from Ibn Saud. In other words, the cousins and not just the sons were "princes".
Old 08-26-2005, 06:05 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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I don't know about Saudi Arabia, but in many countries, "Prince" has been a title of nobility, like the English dukes.

Thus you can have non-royal princes.
Old 08-26-2005, 06:18 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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I also suspect the Sauds bought off many potential opponents with a Princehood and financial gain.
Old 08-27-2005, 12:24 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
Also, IIRC, when the House of Saud gained control of the Peninsula and joined together with the founders of Wahhabi, every Saud was a "prince", not just those directly descended from Ibn Saud. In other words, the cousins and not just the sons were "princes".
Correct. According to "The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Sa'ud" by Robert Lacey, "Male members of the House of Sa'ud are known as "emirs", and this is usually translated as prince." The House of Sa'ud includes all male-line descendants of Muhammad ibn Sa'ud, the tribal ruler of the Eighteenth Century who first adopted Wahhabi'ism, and not to Abdul Aziz ibn Sa'ud, the founder of the modern Kingdom of Sa'udi Arabia. So there are many thousands of princes of the royal house, mostly in positions of wealth and influence, as discussed in this article. However, so far as I know, the title is not for sale.

"Prince" was used in a similar manner in czarist Russia, although again this is a matter of translation, as discussed here. The title originally referred to any descendant of Prince Rurik, so there were many princes, as for example Prince Andrei in War and Peace. After the time of Peter the Great, however, it could also be granted by the czar like an English peerage. This "debasement", to my knowledge, has not happened in Sa'udi Arabia.
Old 08-27-2005, 01:02 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Posts: 12,211
Correct, the unification of the Peninsula was done with a sword of steel and a sword of (ahem) flesh. King Abdulaziz married into many, many families, bore children with the wives and then divorced them to allow himself to forge new alliances.

All of these offspring (and their offspring) are princes and princesses. They in turn pass the title along to their prodigy. Royal-ness is determined by some system that has never been explained to me. In any case, a real-live prince has something nobody much else has, a diplomatic passport. Without one, he has no importance.
Old 08-27-2005, 03:39 PM
TellMeI'mNotCrazy TellMeI'mNotCrazy is offline
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My husband works for one of the "Sudairi Seven" (probably shouldn't say which one) but I have to confess, until Fahd died, I had no idea he was so close to the throne, and it wasn't until I read that list above that I knew exactly how close. Cool.


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