Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, who has initiated reforms for women in his kingdom, put his mother under house arrest to keep her from his father to ensure his ascension to the throne, according to a report.
Over the past two years, Mohammed bin Salman has prevented Princess Fahda bint Falah Al Hathleen from seeing King Salman, at one point holding her in a palace, 14 current and former US officials told NBC News citing intelligence gathered over several years.
According to NBC’s report, intelligence officials believe that MBS worries that his mother might use her influence over the 82-year-old king to prevent him from carrying out a power grab that could divide their family.
The 32-year-old crown prince has reportedly used different excuses to explain his mother’s absence to his father who has told close contacts that he misses her and does not know where or how she is.
The report will be an embarrassment for Saudi Arabia which is thought to have spent $1m in the UK alone promoting the 32-year-old crown prince as “bringing change” to the kingdom – and just days before he is scheduled to land in the US for a high-profile visit.
Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington denied that the princess was under any kind of house arrest or separated from her husband, NBC News reported.
Fatimah Baeshen, a spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington, said: “It is absolutely not true and if you would like to ask Her Royal Highness the princess yourself, this includes asking her in-person, we would be happy to arrange it immediately.”
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.