The court of Riyadh has announced the death of the country’s Crown Prince, Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. The Crown Prince, who was also Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, died in Geneva at the age of 78 or 79.
Crown Prince Nayef was one of the sevens sons born to King Abdul Aziz (aka Ibn Saud), the founder of the kingdom, and Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi, who was said to be his favourite wife.
Prince Nayef, as he then was, was appointed Governor of Riyadh in 1953 and served as Interior Minister from 1975. In 2009 he was appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister.
Following the death of his elder (full) brother, Crown Prince Sultan, in October last year, Nayef was appointed Crown Prince by his half brother King Abdullah, who is believed to be 88 years old.
Since the death of King Abdul Aziz in 1953, the succession has passed among his 55 sons. About twenty of these sons are still alive, but most are now fairly elderly. It is expected that the King will nominate Prince Salman, the Minister of Defence, who is believed to be 76 years old, as the new Crown Prince. While Crown Prince Nayef was held to be fairly conservative, Prince Salman is believed to be more in line with King Abdullah’s careful reforms policy.
Crown Prince Nayef will be buried in Mecca after sunset prayers tomorrow.