Basmah bint Saud Al Saud

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Basmah bint Saud Al Saud
بسمة بنت سعود بن عبد العزيز آل سعود
Basmah Bint Saud at Chatham House 2013.jpg
Basmah bint Saud at Chatham House in 2013
Born (1964-03-01) 1 March 1964 (age 53)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Issue Saud
Full name
Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
House House of Saud
Father King Saud
Religion Islam

HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (1 March 1964 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.) is a Saudi businesswoman and a member of House of Saud. Since 2010, she has lived in Acton, London, In 1976, due to the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon, HRH moved between London and America with her mother.

Her Royal Highness is the youngest daughter of King Saud and her mother, Princess Jamila bint Asad Ibrahim Marei, is from Latakia. Princess Jamila came to the Kingdom at the start of the twentieth century and learnt the Quran and studied under the late King Abdulaziz. She then married King Saud as his seventh wife, becoming mother to Prince Khaled, Princess Jawahir, Prince Abdel Majid, Princess Fahda, Princess Sheikha and Prince Abdel Malik.

Princess Basmah spent the first twenty years of her life studying and travelling the world, contributing towards her success as a talented, strategic and analytical leader. By virtue of those years of diverse Arab identity, HRH succeeded in refining her character, bearing a unique strategy of character building and concern for the individual.

Early life[edit]

Basmah bint Saud was born on 1 March 1964.[1] She is the 115th and youngest of King Saud's children.[2][3] Her mother was a Syrian-born woman, Jamila Merhi,[1] who was chosen for her future husband when she visited Mecca on the haj (pilgrimage).[2]

Basmah was born during the last days of her father's reign. She saw him only twice when she was five.[4] Her mother took her to the Middle East's then-most cosmopolitan city, the Lebanese capital of Beirut. When Lebanon's civil war broke out in 1975, the family fled for Britain.[1][2]


In Beirut, Basmah bint Saud attended a French school. In Britain, she attended a Hertfordshire girls' school and a College in London, before spending two years studying in Switzerland.[2] Basma studied medicine, psychology and English literature at Beirut Arab University.[1] In 1979, she graduated from high school at the Leaders College in America. Her Royal Highness then travelled between several European capital cities and the US, where she studied at various universities, before moving with her mother to Syria in 1983. These universities included Richmond in the UK the American University in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she studied the social sciences.

In 1984, she received BSc (Hons) Degree in Sociology from the National American University, then in 1986, went on to achieve MSc Degree in Social Economics and Political Science.

Personal life[edit]

Princess Basmah was married to a member of the Al Sharif family in 1988.[1] They divorced in 2007.[1] She is a mother with five children, three of whom live with her in Acton.[2] Her children, three daughters and two sons, are Saud, Sara, Samahir, Sohood and Ahmad.[5]


After Basmah bint Saud divorced her Saudi husband, she founded a chain of restaurants in Saudi Arabia and she is planning to expand these into Britain.[2] In 2008, she also founded a media firm, Media Ecco, in addition to catering firms, which she is also planning to expand.[1]


Basmah bint Saud is a mild advocate of reform. She has been an active participant of different social institutions and human rights organizations. She began to express her views on Arab and international media, writing articles on the hard life conditions of Saudis, particularly of women.[6] However, her criticisms do not directly address the royal family but the Saudi governors and other middle-level administrators.[2][6] Writing for Al Madina newspaper in April 2010, Basmah bint Saud told that she could not find any Qur'anic or Islamic historical basis for a state institution to promote virtue and prevent vice, and she further argued that the arrests and beatings by religious policemen lead to an incorrect impression about Islam.[7] She specifically supports reform in Saudi Islamic laws regarding bans on mixed gatherings of men and women, and to make optional for Muslim women to cover modestly or not.[2]

Her journalism and blogging has drawn criticism, and she told The Independent that Saudi officials had begun censoring her articles.[2] On the other hand, she insisted that her move from Jeddah to Acton was not due to pressure from the Saudi state.[8] Basmah bint Saud has questioned the misuse of the Islamic fiqh in Saudi society, arguing that the religious establishment needs to be reformed in order that it plays a constructive role in modernising society and improving the situation of women in the kingdom.[9]

In April 2012, Basmah told BBC that there are many changes she would like to see in Saudi Arabia - but that is not the time for women to be allowed to drive. And she called for changes concerning constitution, divorce laws, overhaul of the educational system, complete reform of social services and changes in the role of the mahram (the male guardian that all Saudi women are required to have as the state considers them legal minor their entire lives - usually a male relative).[10]

Upon the paralysing of a Saudi national as a punishment by the Kingdom, Princess Basmah criticised it, stating that it cannot be acceptable on humanitarian grounds.[11]

The Fourth Way Law[edit]

Through the research centre, GURA, based in London, the Fourth Way Law was registered and documented by the European Union in 2014. Her Royal Highness received a prize in recognition for internationally monitoring human rights, geopolitical changes, international developments, establishing training centres in various fields related to the culture of the Fourth Way Law on a global scale, such as security, economic and administrative. It has been noted that a lot of countries, such as America and Britain, have been taking recommendations from the Fourth Way Law when making decisions on intellectual, environmental and economic security which other specialist international research centres had not discussed.

One of these recommendations was the decision of the American President Obama in 2014 to implement a law to monitor social network sites and develop specialised laws for it. This idea was raised when HRH Princess Basmah suggested it at the research centre at the University of Yale in New York in 2011. Heads of the boards of directors from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft had attended her lecture.

Many sections from the Fourth Way Law [12] specialising in human rights have also been adopted in Britain after HRH gave a famous lecture at the University of Cambridge in 2012.[13] In July 2015, the British government took up all the recommendations offered by HRH in the Fourth Way Law during her residence in Britain (2011-2014).[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography". Basmah bint Saud. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Milmo, Cahal (3 January 2012). "The Acton princess calling for reform in Saudi Arabia". The Independent. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Meet Princess Basma, the 115th child of King Saud". Malaysia Chronicle. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Mendick, Robert (17 February 2013). "The Saudi princess, the fake sheikh and a plot to silence her". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "King Saud's Sons and Daughters". King Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Admon, Y. (4 April 2012). "First Signs of Protest by Sunnis in Saudi Arabia" (Inquiry and Analysis Series Report No.819). MEMRI. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Saudi Arabia. Looser Rein, Uncertain Gain" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Princess Basma bint Saud bin Abdulaziz leads campaign of Saudi dissent". Acton w3. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Princess Basma bint Saud Fredom". Memri. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Saudi princess: What I'd change about my country". BBC. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Princess condemns Saudi Arabia paralysis sentence". BBC. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
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External official links[edit]