King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia and head of the Saudi Royal Family. Prior to his crowning as King he served as the Deputy Governor and then the Governor of Riyadh from 1963 until 2011. In 2011 he was appointed as defence minister and later named as Crown Prince following the death of his brother Prince Nayef. Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud was crowned King on 23 January 2015 following the death of his elder brother and highly respected Monarch, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
Early life of the King
Mohammed bin Salman was born on 31 December 1935 and is one of the Sudairi seven: a legendary and powerful alliance of seven full brothers within the Saudi Royal Family.
Young Salman bin Abdulaziz was educated at the Princes’ School in Riyadh, a school established specifically to educate the Saudi Princes, by his father and founder of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud. There he studied religion and modern sciences. The top class education he received formed the foundation of his success within the House of Saud.
Governor of Riyadh
At the young age of 19 Salman bin Abdulaziz was appointed as the Deputy Governor of the Riyadh, in 1954. The appointment lasted just one year but provided him with an insight into the country’s political system and established him as being a natural leader.
The young Prince was then appointed as the Governor of Riyadh in early 1963 – a posting that lasted for a lengthy forty-eight years. During his appointment he contributed hugely to the development and growth of Riyadh into a major urban metropolis, an economic powerhouse and social hub for the prospering nation. Salman’s modern outlook and connections in the west helped him to develop tourism in the city and draw large foreign investments to the capital.
This influx of foreign capital and tourism revenue helped the city transform its infrastructure and modernise the education system and healthcare. In describing Riyadh Salman said, “Every village or town in the Riyadh Region is dear to me, and holds a special place in my heart. I witnessed every step taken by the city of Riyadh, and for this reason it is difficult for me to think about being far away from Riyadh.”
On 18 June 2012, Salman was appointed as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and also as the First Deputy Prime Minister. Salman focused mainly on economic improvement rather than political change during his tenure as Crown Prince.
King of Saudi Arabia and leader of the Saudi Royal Family
On 23 January 2015, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud was crowned the King of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the two holy mosques. The new King issued his inaugural statement thusly “His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1am this morning.” King Salman appointed Prince Muqrin as his number two in the position of Crown Prince.