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Prince Charles will fly to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to King Abdullah as Queen Elizabeth becomes world's oldest monarch

File photo dated 30/10/07 of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with Queen Elizabeth II before a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London. Photo: PA
File photo dated 30/10/07 of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with Queen Elizabeth II before a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London. Photo: PA
King Salman governed Riyadh province for almost five decades. Photo: Getty Images
File photo dated 31/10/07 of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia meeting Gordon Brown outside 10 Downing Street, London, as Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his sadness at the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, and paid tribute to his work for peace in the region. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA


The Prince of Wales will fly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to pay his respects to the late King Abdullah as his mother becomes the oldest serving monarch in the world.

The 90-year-old Middle Eastern monarch died early this morning in hospital, in the capital Riyadh.

An official cause of death has not been released but King Abdullah entered hospital several weeks ago after contracting pneumonia.

With his death, British Queen Elizabeth II, 88, becomes the oldest monarch in the world – but not the longest serving.

King Rama IX of Thailand has served for 68 years, while the Queen has only been on the British throne from 63 years, since 2 June 1953.

Clarence House released a short statement confirming the Prince’s attendance.

“The Prince of Wales, representing Her Majesty The Queen, will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay his condolences following the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, HM King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” a spokesperson said.

Prince Charles has paid a number of visits to the Kingdom, last year donning traditional Saudi costume to join the royal family in an Ardah (sword dance) at an annual cultural festival.

His seemingly close relationship with members of the Saudi royal family has raised eyebrows in the past.

Human rights organisations have long campaigned on behalf of those persecuted in the strictly religious society. Women in particular remain without many fundamental rights, and press freedoms are harshly curtailed with dissent often resulting in physical maltreatment – or even death.

Further reading

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Oil prices jump as death fuels uncertainty in markets

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

New Saudi king after Abdullah dies

Yemen conflict: An old hand is at work. And as always, it’s all about the Saudis 

Saudi Arabia's history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb and move remains to anonymous grave risks new Muslim division

Isis: Having spent billions, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar find they have created a monster

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of Iraq

Saudi cleric ‘issues religious edict banning all-you-can-eat buffets’

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Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups?

Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?

Human rights worry at £12 billion of arms exported to repressive countries

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