Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud

Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud

Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud
Former Minister of Education

Khalid Al Faisal Al Saud  (born 24 February 1940) is the current governor of Makkah Province. Previously he was the Saudi minister of education. Prince Khalid has governed Makkah region at two different intervals. He has governed the region from 2007-2013 and from 2015 onward. He has also in the past governed Asir Province. He is a member of the House of Saud.

Prince Khalid was born in Riyadh on 24 February 1940. He is the third son of King Faisal. His mother is Haya bint Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Turki, a member of Al Jiluwi clan.

In 1948, Prince Khalid began to attend Model school in Taif to receive secondary education. Like King Faisal’s other children, Prince Khalid was educated abroad after completing secondary education in Saudi Arabia. He attended the Hun School of Princeton, New Jersey and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political economy from the University of Oxford in 1966.

After returning to Saudi Arabia, Prince Khalid served as director general of the presidency of youth welfare in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in 1967. His term lasted until April 1971 when he was appointed the governor of Asir Province. Khalid al Faisal was governor of the Asir Province in southwestern Saudi Arabia from 1971 to 2007. He was credited with bringing the province a measure of modernity and prosperity. At the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, he sought to use its natural beauty and cool climate to attract Arab tourists. But many inhabitants were resentful that the oil-based welfare state has not provided for them.

As governor, he held majlis (open-house meeting with regular citizens) twice a day. The region also had its first telephone line under his governorship.

According to a leaked Wikileaks cable, Prince Khalid went to extraordinary lengths to renovate his late father’s palace to host a party for Prince Charles, during the Prince of Wales’ visit to the kingdom in 2006. The cable revealed that at the time, Khalid had been living in the old palace which was in dire need of renovation. He directed a Western business associate to renovate the palace in three weeks and rewarded the businessman with $13,000 when Prince Charles was impressed with the palace. Khalid has since built a new palace while the old palace has been converted into a university.

On 16 May 2007, Khalid was appointed governor of the Makkah Province by King Abdullah, replacing Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz who died in office. The province includes the Muslim holy city of Makkah and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah. In 2010, he ordered hotels, restaurants, shops and wedding halls in the province to drop all their non-Arabic names and use Arabic only for signboards.

As governor, he played a major role in managing the annual Hajj in Makkah, the world’s largest religious pilgrimage. According to leaked diplomatic cables, he traveled to Beirut in 2009 to meet with Lebanese parliamentarians. In June 2011, Prince Khalid presided at the opening of the Rabigh‘s expansion of its desalination plant.

On 22 December 2013, Prince Khalid was appointed minister of education, replacing Faisal bin Abdullah Al Saud in the post. On January 2015, Prince Khalid was appointed once again the governor of Makkah region by King Salman.

Prince Khalid is managing director of the King Faisal Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic and charitable organisations in the world. The Foundation runs Alfaisal University in Riyadh, where Khalid is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is the founder and current president of the organisation Painting and Patronage. He is a member of Allegiance Council. Prince Khalid is also the president of the Arab Thought Foundation.

In 2009, Prince Khalid headed a Saudi delegate in Beirut that met the Lebanese parliamentarians.

Prince Khalid is widely believed to be respected in the family, appreciated for his combination of both modern and traditional sensibilities.

He has been mentioned as a future king when succession in the Al Saud passes on to the grandsons of King Abdulaziz. He was also considered to be among the possible contenders after Prince Nayef‘s death in June 2012. However, the sons of King Faisal, Turki Al Faisal and Saud Al Faisal, are said to be regarded unfavorably within the royal family due to their perceived air of intellectual superiority. On the other hand, Prince Khalid is stated to have some advantages in contrast to his brothers as a result of his long-term tenure as governor in that he is much known to the people on a personal level.

Khalid Al Faisal criticized negative coverage of Saudi Arabia by the Western media. He spoke out against misconceptions that characterize Saudi society as backwards and uneducated. During his tenure in Asir province, he was close to then Crown Prince Abdullah.

Prince Khalid is an avid painter, poet, and patron of the arts. In 1999, he founded Painting and Patronage to “build and foster valuable bridges of cultural, artistic and educational understanding between the Arab world and the international community”. While he was Governor of Asir, Khalid founded the Literary Club of Abha, the Abha Singing Festival, the Abha Prize for cultural excellence, and the Al-Miftaha Visual Arts Village in the capital city Abha. As Governor of Makkah, he established the Cultural Council of Makkah.

He is a close friend of Prince Charles, who is one of the most prominent supporters of Painting and Patronage.

Prince Khalid is married to Al Anoud bint Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud. Her mother is Nura bint Saud bin Abdulaziz, a daughter of King Saud. Her father, Abdullah, is a son of Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman who is King Abdulaziz’s step brother.

Prince Khalid’s eldest son, Prince Bandar, is the chairman of the board of directors of Al Watan, a reformist newspaper. His second son, Prince Sultan is a naval officer in Saudi army. His third and youngest son Prince Saud is the deputy governor for investment affairs at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

Khalid al Faisal was celebrated by the World Travel Awards as the World Travel Personality of the Year in 2010. This award is given to a personality whose achievements support the industry.

He was named the best Arab personality in the field of solving issues related to Arab youth in 2012. The award was given by the Arab Youth Media Forum, which is currently being held in Manama under the sponsorship of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.


Further Reading: