Guest Author - Julie L Baumler
Popular literature; particularly, but not exclusively, Harlequin / Mills & Boon romances; abound with stories of Arab and Middle Eastern crown princes or other royal rulers, but what is the reality? In fact, according to the alt.talk.royalty FAQ, there are currently only 31 royalties left in the world. Eight of these are in the Middle East - seven countries in the Arabian peninsula plus the kingdom of Morocco. Of the Arabian countries, there are three kingdoms – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Bahrain; the Sultanate of Oman and three emirates – Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.
The Kingdom of Morocco is lead by His Majesty The King Mohamed VI. Saudi Arabia is ruled by His Majesty The King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, who is also the Prime Minister. Jordan is lead by His Majesty The King Abdallah II. His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa leads Bahrain. The Sultanate of Oman's leader is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said, who is also the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. His Highness Amir (also spelled Emir) Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah leads Kuwait, he is the fourth Sabah to lead Kuwait, so he is also sometimes referred to as Sabah IV. His Highness Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani is Qatar's Amir.
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) does increase the royalty count. The U.A.E. is made up of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Each emirate has a hereditary ruler. The President is chosen from among the leaders of those Emirates. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyyan is the President of the U.A.E. as well as the Emir of Abu Dhabi. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is the Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE as well as the Amir of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is also an accomplished poet in the local Nabati style. His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi is the Amir of Sharjah. The Amir of Ras al-Khaimah is His Highness Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi. His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed al-Mualla is the Amir of Umm al-Qaiwan. Ajman's Amir is His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid al-Nuaimi and Fujairah's is His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed al-Sharqi.
It should be noted that, unlike many European monarchies, succession in Arabian monarchies is not necessarily by primogeniture. The king or family elders ability to appoint a successor or family leader is a common feature in Middle Eastern Monarchies. For instance, in Morocco, succession by eldest son or failing that closest male relative is the norm, but the king can appoint any of his sons as a successor. In Jordan, succession is determined by the King but it must be a male direct descendant of the first king, His Majesty King Abdullah Ibn Al Hussein. So, as we can see, while there are royalty in the Middle East, there aren't really enough Arab Crown Princes to fill the imaginings of Western authors.
The Poetry of His HighnessSheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum