Saudi's next heir is a close confidant of the king

By AFP
Published: March 29, 2014

Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: APF/FILE

RIYADH: Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz, named second in line for the Saudi throne, is a confidant of King Abdullah who has trusted him to carry out several sensitive diplomatic missions.

Born on September 15, 1945 in Riyadh, the second crown prince is the youngest of the 35 sons of Abdul Aziz bin Saud, the founder of the kingdom.

Diplomats say he is one of the principal confidants of the 90-year-old king.

He graduated in 1968 from Britain’s Royal Air Force College, in Cranwell, and served in the Saudi air force until entering in politics in 1980.

He served first as governor of the northern province of Hail, and then of Medina in the west.

In 2005, he was appointed head of intelligence, a post that helped Prince Moqren strengthen his political experience and build a network of international contacts.

In July 2012, King Abdullah named him as counsellor and special envoy, and in February 2013, he appointed him second deputy prime minister, the post that paved the way for him to stand in line for succession to the throne.

Moqren is known for his modesty, and interest in agriculture and astronomy. He is also a staunch supporter of developing e-government services in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The father of 15 children, including six males, and married twice, Moqren presides over several associations and social organisations, like many royals.

The royal decree confirmed Moqren in his current post as second deputy prime minister.

He will be proclaimed sovereign “if the posts of crown prince and king become vacant”, according to the decision taken by “more than three-quarters” of the 34-member Board of Succession, the princes of the royal family.

Born to a Yemeni mother, Moqren would set a precedent if he accedes to the throne, by becoming the first king born to a non-Saudi mother.

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