The heir to the Saudi throne has not attended a series of high-profile ministerial and diplomatic meetings in Saudi Arabia over the last fortnight and is alleged to have been stripped of some of his financial and economic authority, the Guardian has been told.
The move to restrict, if only temporarily, the responsibilities of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is understood to have been revealed to a group of senior ministers earlier last week by his father, King Salman.
The king is said to have asked Bin Salman to be at this cabinet meeting, but he failed to attend.
The relationship between the king and his son has been under scrutiny since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which was alleged to have been ordered by Prince Mohammed and provoked international condemnation of the crown prince. This has been denied by the Saudi government.
But while most observers expect Prince Mohammed to accede to the throne, there are some signs that the king is seeking to rein in his controversial son at a time when Saudi Arabia is under the spotlight.
I don’t know what this all means.
I simply do not have a frame of reference: The Saudi court is simply to venal and too unconcerned about their subjects’ well being for me to understand their approach to governance.