Reformist Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz dies at 87

Vastavam web: Prayers were held Sunday for Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, a senior member of the royal family who supported women’s rights and once led a group of dissident princes, who died at the age of 87. Prince Talal was an older brother to King Salman and the father of businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. He is the son of the founder and first ruler of modern Saudi Arabia, the late King Abdulaziz, whose sons have ruled since his death, with the throne passing from brother to brother. Prince Talal’s son Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal announced on Twitter that his father passed away on Saturday. The royal court also released a statement about his passing. Soon after he was appointed finance minister, he struck out and led a group of princes who called for a constitutional monarchy that distributes some of the king’s powers. The royals, who became known as the Free Princes Movement, called for a constitution to govern the kingdom, rather than rules based solely on clerical interpretation of the Quran and other religious doctrine.

Prince Talal led the group from Beirut and Cairo, which under then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was an adversary of Riyadh. The prince was stripped of his nationality and his assets were seized. After rifts emerged between Prince Talal and Cairo, he was allowed to return to Saudi Arabia in 1964 under King Faisal, who had deposed his brother King Saud that same year.