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Who is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia?

As his name suggests, Crown Prince Mohammad is the son of King Salman. He was born on the 31st August 1985 as the son of King Salman and his third wife, Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan bin Hathleen. He is the eldest of her children and is considered to be the power behind the throne and has brought in many reforms which have given women relatively more freedom in Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammad graduated from the King Saud University with a Bachelor of Law degree.

After graduating from university, he worked in the private sector as a consultant to the Experts Commission which worked alongside the Saudi Cabinet. In 2008, he married Princess Sarah bint Mashhoor, and they have four children. His entry into the political sphere came at the end of the next year, in December 2009, when he became a special adviser to his father who at that stage was Governor of Riyadh Province.

When King Abdullah died in January 2015, Prince Salman became King, and Prince Mohammed was appointed Minister of Defence and Secretary General of the Royal Court. One of the first problems he had to counter was the worsening situation in neighbouring Yemen, and his heavy-handed approach has caused criticism in some quarters of the world. In April of that year, King Salman appointed his nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as Crown Prince and his son Prince Mohammad as Deputy Crown Prince. This situation continued until June 2017, when King Salman deposed Prince Mohammad bin Nayef and made his son Crown Prince. Something which led to the Crown Prince receiving congratulations from President Trump; indeed the Crown Prince has made several trips to the United States.

Since becoming Crown Prince, he has enacted several reforms which have drastically improved the lot of Saudi Arabian women including allowing them to have driving licences and also encouraging them to have career paths. But these reforms have not only favoured women; entertainment has also been on the agenda following his decision to curb the power of the religious police. There are plans for quite extensive entertainment complexes.

The Crown Prince is also philanthropic and has put funds into the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Foundation. This seeks to empower Saudi Arabian youth to try to maximise their skills in arts and sciences by links with national and multi-national organisations. Though it is clear all of his policies may not be popular, he is certainly improving the chances of Saudi-Arabians and building a network of friends on the world stage which will no doubt prove useful in the future.