King Kahlid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
ROYAL LINEAGE PROFILE
Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was the King of Saudi Arabia from 1975 to 1982, being the monarchies fourth ruler. King Khalid emphasized development. His reign was marked by an almost explosive growth in the country’s physical infrastructure. It was a period of enormous wealth and prosperity for Saudi Arabia.
Khalid was born in Riyadh in February 1913. The fifth son of King Abdulaziz. His mother, Al Jawhara bint Musaed Al Jiluwi, of the Al Jiluwi clan. Khalid had only one full-brother, Prince Muhammad.
At age 14 he already had many royal responsabilities. Khalid was sent by King Abdulaziz as his royal representative to the desert tribes. There he heard their concerns and problems. In 1932, Prince Khalid became viceroy of the Hejaz, replacing Prince Faisal, who was then named minister of foreign affairs. Prince Khalid’s term as viceroy of Hejaz lasted until 1934. Prince Khalid joined the Saudi army led by Prince Faisal, his elder brother. He there fought in the Saudi-Yemen War in 1934. After the war, Prince Khalid served as chairman to the Saudi delegation at the Taif Conference with Yemen. This was a diplomatic move later leading to the Taif Treaty that year. Then he was named interior minister and Saudi representative at the peace negotiations. In 1939, he attended the St. James Conference on Palestine in London assisting to Prince Faisal, head of the Saudi delegation. Prince Khalid’s preparation for ruling a modern state started through his visits with Prince Faisal on foreign missions and also whilst representing Saudi Arabia at the United Nations. Prince Khalid became an international figure as a result of his visits and service as Saudi representative. He was more liberal than traditional represenatives, informing the press about the rationale behind foreign policy decisions. In 1962, Prince Khalid was appointed deputy prime minister, indicating his prominence in the line of succession.
Khalid bin Abdulaziz was named Crown Prince in 1965 to succeed King Faisal after Khalid’s older brother Prince Muhammad declined a place. Prince Khalid was then also appointed first deputy premier. His main task was to govern all organisational and executive powers of the Council of Ministers. He also dealt with the affairs of the Governorate of Mecca on behalf of the King.
King Khalid’s reign began on 25 March 1975 when King Faisal lost his life at the hands of a deadly assasin. He was proclaimed king after a meeting of five senior members of Al Saud: his uncle Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman and elder brothers Prince Mohammed, Prince Nasser, Prince Saad, Prince Fahd and Prince Abdullah.
King Khalid’s reign saw massive development of the Saudi Arabia power. Saudi Arabia became one of the richest countries. He primarily dealt with domestic affairs paying particular attention to agricultural development. The industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu – now huge complexes – were created during reign. His other main focus was education. To maintain the countries thriving economy and compete with western nations. He personally oversaw the creation of new eductional facilities. In 1975, there were 3,028 elementary schools, 649 secondary schools and 182 high schools. In 1980, there were 5,373 elementary, 1,377 secondary and 456 high schools. The other significant development in the field of education during his reign was the establishment of King Faisal University.
The strict financial policies initiated by late King Faisal, alongside the aftermath of the oil crisis in 1973, created a financial windfall that fueled development. It led to a commercial and economic boom in Saudi Arabia. Notable achievements during his reign included the institution of the second “Five-Year-Plan” in 1975. This aimed to build up Saudi infrastructure and health care. King Khalid also launched Saudi Arbia’s third Development Plan with a budget of $250 billion.
Although King Khalid did not have an extensive interest in foreign affairs when comparing him to late King Faisal, his reign witnessed many important international events; the Iranian revolution, the assassination of Anwar Sadat and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. All being greatly influential for Saudi Arabia.
King Khalid suffered from ailing heart for a long period of time. As a result the then Crown Prince Fahd was left in charge of ruling the country on his belhalf. He had a massive heart attack in 1970 requiring heart surgery in 1972 in Cleveland, the US and then a second surgery in 1978.
King Khalid married four times baring four sons and six daughters. King Khalid was warm, cheerful and adored by his sisters and brothers. He was also kind, attentive and devout. The seven-year reign of King Khalid sadly ended on 13 June 1982 at 10 am. His death was due to a heart failure. On the same day, his body was brought to Mecca. After funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, King Khalid was buried in the coutries capital, Riyadh.