Head of Saudi Arabia's succession council dies

Head of Saudi Arabia's succession council dies
A powerful Saudi prince who withdrew from public life to concentrate on business and camel racing has passed away, with Prince Mishaal's funeral due to be held in Mecca tomorrow.
2 min read
04 May, 2017
The prince is one of the last remaining sons of Saudi Arabia's founder [Getty]
The head of a body that determines Saudi Arabia's succession process has died, further reducing the number of the still living direct off-springs of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud. 

Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was the brother of current ruler King Salman, and died on Wednesday aged 93, according to Saudi Press Agency.

The prince once held important posts in government until he mysteriously retired from public life in 1971 to concentrate on his business and hobbies.

Among the positions he held was the governor of Mecca and a twice the minister of defence portfolio in the 1950s but was said to have been engaged with squabbling with other princes.

His influence waned following his unofficial retirement from public service and he instead concentrated on his business empire and passion for camel racing.

Years later he was tasked with heading the newly created Allegiance Council, set up by the late King Abdullah in 2006 to formalise the country's often troubled and confusing succession process. 

The 28 member body is made up of the sons and grandsons of the founder of the third Saudi state King Abdulaziz - or Ibn Saud as he's better known in the West - and tasked with appointing the future king and crown prince of the country.

The Allegiance Council's reputation took a bash when King Salman soon sacked the appointed crown prince and replaced some of the most powerful royal ranks with loyalists.

This included his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince and defence minister, while the king has made further shake ups of the cabinet to strengthen his and his son's position.

Mishaal will be buried in Mecca on Thursday after funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque, according to Saudi Arabia's official news agency.