The British Royal Family might be full of money and scandal, but another royal family has them beat. Meet the House of Saud, the ruling Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. Unlike Queen Elizabeth who’s a constitutional monarch, the Sauds have been running their oil rich kingdom for over 200 years.
Now, as we all know, with oil comes billions of dollars, and when you top that off with intermarriage, multiple wives and thousands of family members, scandals — and occasional good deeds — are bound to take place. Let’s take a look into the fascinating and secretive lives of eight House of Saud members:
The fascinating lives of Saudi royalty
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al SaudAge: 79
Claim to fame: Appointed King after the death of his half-brother King Abdullah earlier this year.
The father of 13 kids was formerly the governor of the Saudi capital, Riyadh -- where most princes and princesses live. According to a CIA informant, Salman "ensured any family transgressions were dealt with smoothly and quietly, with no publicity." Sketchy...
Prince Sultan bin Salman Al SaudAge: 59
Claim to fame: Son of the King, Astronaut
OK, so this guy is one cool cat. Travelling as a payload specialist on STS-51-G Discovery, Prince Sultan, then 28, became the first royal, the first Muslim and the first Arab to visit space. How amazing is that?
Princess Maha bint Mohammed bin Ahmad al-SudairiAge: Unknown
Claim to fame: Ex-wife and cousin of the former-Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.
Maha, who was famously featured in a Vanity Fair spread, is known for her lavish spending. In 2012, after she and her posse lived in 41 rooms for five months at Paris’s Shangri-La Hotel, Maha tried to flee without paying the $7 million bill. The debt was eventually paid in 2013, but now Maha is banned from leaving Saudi Arabia.
Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al SaudAge: 60
Claim to fame: Nephew of the late Saudi King Abdullah, Richest man in Saudi Arabia
With a net worth of $32 billion, Prince Al-Waleed is living the life. Earlier this year, the business man, who made his money from investments, pledged to donate all of his wealth to charity. Yes, $32 billion of it. We'll see if he follows through.
Princess Ameera bint Aidan bin Nayef Al-Taweel Al-OtaibiAge: 32
Claim to fame: Ex-wife of Prince Al-Waleed, Philanthropist
Ameera met the prince while doing a school project when she was 18 -- he was 46. They fell in love and were married soon after. Ameera has caused controversy in the conservative country by not covering up and speaking up about women's rights. Although Ameera and the prince divorced in 2013, she says they're still friends and sees him as an inspiration.
Princesses Sahar and Jawaher Al SaudAge: between 38 and 42
Claim to fame:Daughters of the former-King Abdullah, "Hostages"
When the former-King Abdullah divorced Alanoud Al-Fayez (one of his 30 wives) in 2001, she fled to the U.K. Alanoud left behind four daughters -- including Princesses Sahar and Jawaher Al Saud -- who were soon after tormented and forbidden from leaving their mansions. Both princesses are outspoken about the lack of women's rights in Saudi Arabia and they say that also plays a role in their entrapment.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanAge: Either 29 or 30
Claim to fame: Son of the king, Minister of Defence
Prince Mohammed was relatively unknown until his father became king. Now he's the star prince who flies all over the world representing his country while meeting foreign heads of state like Putin and Obama.
Prince Fahad al SaudAge: Unknown
Claim to fame:Grandson of the brother of the former-king, Foreign Ministry’s Head of Student Affairs
Prince Fahad isn't that high up in the line of succession, however he's made a name for himself in other ways. After graduating from Stanford, he was hired as Head of User Operations for Facebook Arab. Not bad for a recent grad, right? Since then he started a tech company NA3M (New Arab Media) that creates games that Saudi Arabians can better relate to. Currently residing in L.A. consults for the Saudi government on cyber-technology and youth-oriented programs as the Foreign Ministry's Head of Student Affairs.