As can be attested by the previous "Royal" post, "Royal Saudi/non-Saudi Marriages and Their Children Part III--Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal", doting grandfather is not the usual image associated with Prince Al-Waleed,
yet doting and besotted grandfather are apparently apt descriptions:
"Alwaleed became a grandfather last summer when both his son and his daughter each had their first child. One night while I was there, his daughter Reem came to the palace after dinner with her baby. The prince was clearly besotted with his adorable little granddaughter, kissing her and bouncing her on his knee."
Perhaps this is partly a response to his own feelings of disconnection after the separation of his parents, when he was 5. He lived with his mother in Beirut to age 12; then attended, at his father’s insistence, the King Abdul Aziz Military Academy in Riyadh to age 18; whereupon he petitioned King Faisal to allow him to return to Lebanon. The petition granted, he returned to Lebanon for university; but the Lebanese War broke out, and he studied in the United States instead: Menlo College, California for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration; and Syracuse University, New York for a Master’s in Social Sciences.
Prince Al-Waleed has been married thrice. The first time to a half cousin, Princess Dalal bint Saud bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, thus a Royal , who is the mother of his children, Prince Khalid and Princess Reem. After they divorced, he married Princess Eman bint Naser bin Abdullah al Sudairi, of the powerful Sudairi tribe, and clan within the Royal children of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud (the Sudairi 7, all sons of the prominent Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi). They too divorced, but have no children together. His current wife is Princess Ameera bint Aidan al Taweel, a member of the well-known Nejdi Otaibah tribe, with whom he has no children.
Also, as mentioned in the previous post on Prince Al-Waleed, he is ½ Lebanese, ¼ Saudi, and ¼ either Circassian, Cherkes (most likely), or Central Asian, Armenian (often cited). His 2 children Prince Khalid and Princess Reem, are thus, ¼ Lebanese, 1/8 Royal Saudi, and 1/8 Caucasian (in the narrow sense of the term) from his side; and from their mother, Princess Dalal bint Saud bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, a Royal, at least another ¼ Royal Saudi. For reasons both political (the scant mention of her father King Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud), and cultural (the rare mention of wives and daughters), there is very little information on Princess Dalal’s mother. Due to the customary erasure of ex-wives in a man’s biography there is also little information on Princess Dalal herself.
Princess Dalal’s father, King Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (reigned 1953-1964) was the second son from Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s first, and first intertribal, marriage to Wadha bint Muhammad bin Burghush Al Uray'ir of the Bani Khalid tribe. He became the Crown Prince on the death of his older brother Turki bin Abdul Aziz al Saud (1900-1919) during the devastating international influenza pandemic of March 1918- June 1920 (global death toll 3-6% of the world’s population then, 25 million in the first 5 weeks, 50-100 million in total). Crown Prince Saud became King Saud on his father’s death.
King Saud was the only Al Saud to inherit the throne by primogeniture rather than fraternal succession (from one brother to the next among the sons of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud). He was also the only Al Saud of the KSA to be forcibly deposed following a longstanding rivalry with his half-brother Faisal, the next in line; a rivalry that was particularly acute after King Saud increased the national debt inherited from his father, and made unfortunate political alliances in foreign affairs. His image became that of a profligate, a nepotist (placing his sons in all, rather than just some, key positions), and a foreign policy blunderer; and, for a time his name, was largely erased from the Saudi landscape and history books. King Faisal was considered a great king, one who was able to reform the country economically and geo-politically, adept at both national and foreign affairs. Yet King Saud created ministries, and educational institutions, one of which is King Saud University in Riyadh. A website to rehabilitate his place in history is worth a look.
King Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud married multiple times, and had 56 sons and 54 daughters, one of whom, Princess Dalal, married Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a half-cousin, and became the mother of his children, Prince Khalid and Princess Reem.
While Prince Al-Waleed’s daughter Reem married another Al Saud, Prince Al-Waleed’s son Khalid, both a member of the ruling Al Saud family and a director of his father’s Kingdom Holding Company, has taken a different conjugal path--one that led him to make a choice outside of the Royal Saudi family, or any royal family.
Anthony Harris, a former British ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said in a telephone interview to the International Herald Tribune in an article published in March 2005 announcing Prince Khalid’s marriage: "It's interesting that Prince Khalid is marrying a commoner and reflects a great desire among more sophisticated Saudis to marry outside the family.” According to the same article, Prince Khalid bin Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia, the only son of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, married the daughter of the country's finance minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, on a Saturday in March 2005. At the time, the spokeswoman for Prince Al-Waleed, who made the announcement declined to be identified or to identify the bride.
Dr Ibrahim Al-Assaf (PhD Economics, State University of Colorado, Denver), was born in 1949 in Ayoun-Al Jawa, Qassim Province, and is a member of the Banu Tamim tribe, a notable sister tribe of the Al-Quraysh. The Al-Assaf ruled Qassim Province until it was conquered by the Al Saud in 1907, and remain prominent in Al-Ras today. Dr Al-Assaf is married, and has 4 children.
According to his CV, he is one of many Saudis who benefitted from the generous Saudi scholarships to study abroad; and, after ~ 6 years of graduate studies in Colorado--with a Master’s thesis on “OPEC: world oil market”, and a PhD thesis on “A quantitative study of economic impact of the foreign manpower in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”--he returned to academia in KSA. Those interested in his current economic views and vision of the Saudi economy would enjoy this extensive interview.
Like many academics he moved into KSA government positions; then left academia when he became an executive of the Saudi branches of the IMF, and then the World Bank in Washington DC (1986-1995). His children thus spent considerable time in the USA before returning to the KSA, when he became Minister of Finance and National Economy in January, 1996.
Indeed, Prince Khalid’s wife was later identified as the now Princess, previously Ms or Miss, Moneerah Al-Assaf, “a love match” for the Prince, being just “his type”, “American style, simple and modest”. They had a daughter, Jana, in 2007.
Perhaps as befits the daughter of a Finance Minister, and one raised partly in the land of feminism, free enterprise, capitalism, and consumerism, Princess Moneerah is a businesswoman, HH Moneerah Al-Assaf, is the Owner/CEO of The Horse Authority (contact http://firstname.lastname@example.org; website http://www.thehorseauthority.net/), an equestrian store for all horse lovers, and a companion enterprise to her stable, "Al-Assaf Equestrian Estate", of which she is the sole owner. She also continues her own equestrian pursuits while sponsoring others.
The following pictures of the logos of The Horse Authority, and the biography of the Princess are from her company website: http://www.thehorseauthority.net/
"The horse connoisseur has found a new home in The Horse Authority."
Princess Moneerah Al-Assaf, the founder and CEO of The Horse Authority, has always been the consummate, equestrian aficionado. Instilled with a passion for horses, at the tender age of 8 years old, her Highness [sic] began her equestrian dreams at a stable, in Mclean, Virginia, USA. The stable, where her HRH [sic] trained, introduced her Highness [sic] to all the basics of riding and horse care. Her HRH [sic] was not handed a "Silver Pitchfork" or "Silver Spoon" as they say; at this rustic, upscale Virginian stable. Her HRH [sic] handled not only the tack of the horses but assisted in the maintenance of the stables. Her Highness learned the varied importance of certain feed and horse healthcare. Introduced at the stable, not only to equestrian riding and tack but also her Highness [sic] had a well rounded education by even riding western style and bare back.
Furthering Her Highness's education on horse care and equestrian training, Princess Moneerah proceeded to make relations with many internationally acclaimed riders and trainers around the world. Joie Gatlin, Grand Prix show jumper, of the highly revered "Joie Gatlin Morley Abey Stables", in Southern California, and Nuria Villa, Grand Prix Dressage rider, of Barcelona, Spain, are just few of the prestigious stables that have opened their doors to Her Highness.
Having learned the importance of different breeds and skills of riders at many different stables, Her Highness began purchasing fine horses. At 21, Princess Moneerah purchased a Dutch Warmblood named Ritter or "Rai". This era was a pivotal time for Princess Moneerah because Her Highness also married His Royal Highness Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed Bin Talal, son of the international business tycoon and mogul Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. With the support of Her Highness's husband, Prince Khaled, Princess Moneerah has the confidence and driving force to accomplish her equine dreams.
Having commenced Her Highness's sponsorships of riders, her other horse Riverstone, a Swedish Warmblood, was one of her horses who brought acclaim to the recognized equestrian Ramzi Alduhamy. Princess Moneerah is currently still riding and her HRH [sic] continues to travel the world every year to vary her training at different renowned stables. Her current "Pride And Joy", a Dutch Warmblood, named VDL Artic, is one of her many horses her HRH [sic] enjoys riding.
Princess Moneerah is deeply passionate and involved in every aspect of her equestrian dreams and ventures. Her HRH [sic] is very detail oriented and learned in her early years how important fine details are in the maintenance of horses and equestrian competition. Her hands on approach and perfectionism, has made her a business entrepreneur to be highly regarded. Princess Moneerah's store, The Horse Authority, also goes in partnership with her Highness's [sic] soley owned stable, "Al-Assaf Equestrian Estate". Her HRH [sic] has put her own signature on The Horse Authority, having personally designed the store, the princess [sic] being of educated tastes.
With an extensive background in horsemanship and being only in her twenties, Princess Moneerah, advocate of horses, champion of riders for sponsorship; believes in supporting everyone's equestrian goals. Her HRH [sic] offers every rider and horse’s essential needs and more at The Horse Authority. Always striving for perfection, so shall her Highness [sic] strive to make all her clients needs and wants sufficed.
Princess Moneerah, of The Horse Authority, invites all to the new store, the home of the horse lover! Welcome! Marhaba!
Written and Edited by Dinneen Coster
As mentioned in the article above by Dinneen Coster, Prince Khalid is supportive of his wife’s ambitions, both equestrian and entrepreneurial. He is also a prime mover in the domain of fostering business opportunities for Saudi women generally. An interesting article on this endeavour can be read in full here. In brief, as Chairman of KMPK Properties, a development company established in 2007, Prince Khalid is committed to Saudization of Saudi investment and businesses by both Saudi men, and, particularly, Saudi women. The company also serves as a model of employment of Saudis, especially of women in high executive positions.
His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Al Waleed Bin Talal Al Saud shaking hands with Dr. Mohamed Haddad, Chairman of KM Holding and Vice Chairman/CEO of the new company KMPK Properties on the conclusion of the joint venture.
Part of a highly contemporary couple, Moneerah al-Assaf [sic] even has her own Facebook page.
So, if not truly an American princess, nor a Sabrina, a Grace Kelly, or a Rita Hayworth, Princess Moneerah is a thoroughly modern princess, an Arab businesswoman with an Americanized style, an Al-Assaf aristocrat who made a love match with an Al-Saud Royal--Prince Khalid bin Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Comments? Questions? Thoughts?