His brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has become the new king. He, however, faces his own challenges. At 79, he is not at the prime of his health and has a myriad of political troubles to deal with ranging from an increasing number of dissatisfied citizens to a Shia coup in neighboring Yemen destabilizing the country’s southern border and ISIS threatening on the other.
However, while people are speculating how the new King will cope, let’s just take a few minutes to find out about the recently deceased monarch.
We bet you had no idea about these interesting and little-known facts about the late king (Actually, most of them hold true for the new one as well!)
Almost Innumerable Family Members
This may (or may not) sound strange, but King Abdullah married so many times and has had so many children that the exact number of his immediate family members is not available publicly.
In fact, he himself was the 10th of 37 sons of his father King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al Saud.
Rolling In Cash
His personal income of the king of Saudi Arabia was over $21 billion, making him the third wealthiest head of state in the world.
One Of The Most Powerful People In The World
Not only one of the wealthiest rulers, but King Abdullah was also the sole Arab included in Forbes’ top 10 “World’s Most Powerful People.”
King Abdullah was an expert equestrian in his youth. He has some of the largest stables in the kingdom, with over 1,000 horses. He also owned Janadria Farm, the large complex located in the suburbs of Riyadh.
Women’s Rights Reforms
Although women’s rights in Saudi Arabia have a long way to go, King Abdullah did make way for a lot of positive changes for Saudi women. He actually made history when he named 30 women to the kingdom’s Shura Council (Consultative Assembly).
He Actually Thanked God For Obama’s Presidency
King Abdullah was one of the closest allies of the United States over the past two administrations.
According to leaked WikiLeaks cables, the ruler “thanked God” for Obama’s presidency.
“Thank God for bringing Obama to the presidency,” the king answered, which has created “great hope” in the Muslim world. “May God grant him strength and patience,” Abdullah continued. “May God protect him. I’m concerned about his personal safety. America and the world need such a president.”
And now coming towards the more unsavory stuff…
Holding Four of His Daughters Hostage
Apparently, the king held four of his daughters against their will in an undisclosed location in Saudi Arabia for over 13 years.
Alanoud Al Fayez, a former wife of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, contacted Channel 4 last year in March, revealing that her daughters named Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher were taken captive by the monarch for advocating women’s rights in the country.
Urged Chip Implants Into Gitmo Detainees
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah proposed that the Obama administration implant electronic micro-chips into the bodies of Guantanamo Bay detainees to track their movements when they are released, a leaked State Department Wikileaks cable revealed.
Worst Dictator In The World
He may have been chosen by Forbes as one of the most powerful people in the world but he has also been named one of the worst dictators by Parade Magazine – frequently.
2007 Visit To Britain
In 2007 when Saudi King Abdullah visited Britain, the Queen’s Royal Band subtly protested by welcoming King Abdullah with “The Imperial March,” which is a theme song for the notorious Star Wars villain Darth Vader.