Saudi Arabia: HRH or HH?

Given that there are literally thousands of members of the Saudi Royal Family, chances are good that an expat working in the Kingdom or a Saudi national will at some point meet a Royal.  A question that I have been asked by newly arrived expats is how should someone from the Royal Family be addressed and when does one use His/Her Royal Highness as compared to His/Her Highness.

The sons/daughters and grandsons/grand-daughters of King Abdul Aziz (the founder of the modern Saudi state) are referred to as His/Her Royal Highness (HRH).  Whereas, Royals belonging to what is referred to as the Cadet Line, are referred to as His/Her Highness (HH).

The Cadet line includes the Saud al-Kabir, the Al Jiluwi, the Al Thunayan, the Al Mishari and the Al Farhan, all of which are branches of the Al Saud.  Members of the Cadet branches of the Al Saud do hold high ranking and sensitive positions within the Saudi government, but they are not in line to the throne.  Therefore, Cadet branch members of the Al Saud take the title, His/Her Highness or Prince/Princess but should not be referred to as His/Her Royal Highness.

One should always address a Royal by his or her respective title until or if directed to address any differently.  Never presume or jump to the American familiarity of dropping titles in place of a first name only without being asked to do so.

21 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post. I’m curious…when a Royal or member of the Cadet line with a title marries a non-Saudi (Western or Prominent Saudi), would that woman receive a title? How would her name be formed? Title + Name + New Last Name (or would she keep her family name?)

  2. @culturewatch,

    You are welcome. I am not an expert on Royals and sadly, no longer have my husband beside me to ask these kind of questions when I am unsure of the correct answer. Therefore my comment is my best guess and needs verification… first of all the typical tradition in Saudi Arabia is women always retain their maiden name which also applies to many foreign wives of Saudis. Now in regards whether a non-royal marries a Saudi royal and if she receives a title, I am not sure. I know that with the British Royal family a “commoner” who marries a Royal does receive a title such as the case with Camilla Parker-Bowles. But we are looking at Saudi Arabia where blood and tribes remain of continued importance. So as I think on the query, I realize I do not want to just guess and would rather wait for someone with more knowledge to respond.

  3. – Thanks madame for the Info I thought only Al-Kabir line was H.H. thanks for mentioning the rest.
    – I think if a non royal is called princess during the marriage ( but don’t take me for an expert in this matter)
    – How is your health now madame ?
    I wish all the best.

  4. – Thanks madame for the Info I thought only Al-Kabir line was H.H. thanks for mentioning the rest.
    – I think a non royal is called princess during the marriage ( but don’t take me for an expert in this matter)
    – How is your health now madame ?
    I wish you all the best.

  5. @Mohammed,

    You’re welcome Mohammed and Thank you! In regards to my health, I am feeling good. Thanks for asking!

  6. wow.. a great post!!!

    this clarified a few things for me.

    i wonder what the rule is here in bediun dubai!

  7. Dear Bedu, the non-royal wife, whether saudi or not, gets the princess title. It does not matter if cadet line or not. The children of this union also are prince/princesses. One of the reasons why there are 7000 or whatever princes in KSA.

  8. And to think that monarchies arent even halal in Islam…and yet we have 7000 title holders to a process that is against what Saudi supposedly stands for…another contradiction. LMAO Royally

  9. All of the related royals (women) in our family just went by Umitee when they visited my MIL or whenever we ladies went out for dinner together, and most acted just like the other Aunties that are related to my husband’s side of the family which are not royals. As for the royal men, I don’t recall ever meeting any of them. They are mostly all very traditional Saudis that don’t mix.

  10. Oh yes, the royalty…..goodness they are everywhere aren’t they? I supposedly have a prince as a neighbor. Now that I think of it maybe that’s why my rent was raised! Hey, what gives?:)

    I also, unbeknownst to me, had two princesses at my very own walimah. Imagine that….I was among royalty and no one informed me until after the fact! Ah yes, it all makes sense now…*that’s* why they told me to stop dancing in front of *those* ladies! The bride was shaking her hips a little too daringly in front of royalty!
    Oh the shame!:)

    Just teasing….but I did feel a bit shy and stopped dancing not because I knew they were princesses but because they were elderly and were raising their eyebrows at me.:)

    Last year I met a younger princess at one of my daughter’s school graduation ceremonies and they introduced her as “Amirah …” forgot her name? But afterwards I just gave her salams as normal just like everyone else. So perhaps the titles are only necessary for the more formal functions? No clue. But thanks Bedu for posting this. Good info to know given the royals are abundant here. And thanks for inspiring my trip down memory lane, it made me smile.:)

  11. woooow!!! so many princes and I could find one??!! darn!! hahahaha!!!
    just kidding!
    Great post =)

  12. Thank you Arabgrlusa for clarifying!

    And appreciate all the comments made on this post.

  13. I think this whole royal thing is totally rediculous, and its disgusting to me that they are multypling in the thousands and demanding to be called that. I don’t see what makes them royalty in the first place, they took this land from its people by force and imposed thier own way of ruling that has nothing to do with Islam.

  14. The royals are just like everyone else except the ones at the top who rule the country and are a ‘little’ more well-known than the others. And, you best thank your lucky stars that ‘they’ ARE in power or WE might all be living in a completely different fashion. :)

  15. @culturewatch if a prince marries a woman who’s not part of the royal family she does not get the title if she gives birth to a boy or a girl lets say she had a boy called abdullah so then she will be called mother of prince abdullah but not a princess herself this is a new thing going on since some none royal ladies who married princes started doing stuff and bullying people around just because they were married to a royal! so King abdullah changed that except for the elderly women who were married to kind saud, king khalid, king fahad and so on.

    @lulu they do not demand to be called that they were born with this last name so why is it their mistake? or anyone elses for that matter. as for what you said about taking someone else’s land it belonged to the royals then Alrasheed took the land and the royals took it back so basically they claimed what’s rightfully theirs:). What makes them royalty is that they are all related to king abdulaziz the founder of saudi arabia. If you stumbled across a couple of snobby royals who demanded to be called by that or acted out like spoiled brats do not blame a whole family from a couple of members mistakes.
    would you like to be called a terrorist just because a couple of retarded saudi’s are? i doubt you’d accept that. it’s just the same concept:)

  16. @Mashael,

    Welcome to American Bedu blog and thanks for your comment. I really appreciate the clarification of non-Saudis and whether or not they inherit the title.

  17. i am a cadet branch of the royal family now for those of you who ask why we are in thousands and why we are alot larger then any other family and why us cadets are still titled as prince or princess is simply because saudi arabia has three states the first state was founded by our great grand father Imam Mohammad ibn Saud . that is where we get our last name and all of us are desendets of this noble man and and he had brothers Farhan, and Meshari and Thunayan they all participated with him. then comes the second saudi sate wich was rulled by Imam Saud bin Faisal Bin Turki bin Mohammad bin Saud from his progany comes the AL KABEER BRANCH of the family he ruled and was over thrown by another tribe and left saudi 2 years later he redeims his thrown after being weekend from his battles to regain the thrown he died with most of his sons murdered he had 4 grand children left from his disent who were smuggled one of his grand children is Saud Al kbeer and thats were the branch comes from . his brother Abdulrahman bin Faisal King Abdulaziz’s father left for kuwait and stayed thier for a while until King Abdulaziz was in his late teens and gathered his cousins to form an army with the help of kuwaiti tribes and from his cousins were Jelwi bin abdulaziz bin abdulah bin turki bin saud was king abdulaziz’s right hand man in battle becouse of his settlement in kuwait as he came back to Najd what is Saudi Arabia today he teamed up with his first cousin Saud al kbeer to reclaim najd he fought side by side in the war he was not a coward he did not fear death he was not in the last line but in the first line of battle with his cousins along side with him so my family Fought for their right to be called royals and FYI we didnt kick any one out of this land we were not forign to this land are great great great grandfathers romed this land before us and the reason AL-Saud is such a powerfull absolute monarch is becouse at the time our great grand father Imam Mohammad ruled becouse The islamic religin in our area at the time was begening to fade away so him and his companians restored the islamic religion & to show that we are religous and trew followers of islam Our flag never goes down not even when then king dies in every other country they do so why we do not take the flag down because our flag says la elah ela allah mohmmad rasul allah that meens there is no god but one god and mohmmad is his messenger. and no women do not inherit the title of princess but out of respect they call them princess my mother is not from the royal family and she has no title niether the kings wife. So now you see why we have the right for this tittle my grand father died of wonds from the war and so did many of our uncles did and they should be respected not made up of a joke and we did not find a peice of land and killed all their natives and populated thier country and kept the rest in perserved areas that dont even make up a full sate of the U.S so it is allways better to ask then to chritisize otherwise you will look stuped in a conversation and we are all humble we might not even seem as royals on first site but in formal occasions it shows becouse we have pride in our people and our contrey and if we beileve if we do not rule with islamic laws god would give us our citizens sins if they were to commit it and i think this is a big burden for one man to carry and in my eyes hese doing a hell of a job. And we believe one should not rule unless he knows what is at stake before taking this job and he is to promise us and the people his devotion and equality in rule. plus saudi arabia is the best place to live in despite the hot climate but we are tax free so yah and i dont see any saudis complaining true bedwin saudis they all favor our rule we are not like any other family allways keep that in mind

  18. @AlSaud

    You are right in one thing that Saudi Arabia is the best place to live…for an Al-Saud. Why not? You own the country. If I owned a country, that country too would be the best place in the world to live…FOR ME.

    What exactly did you do to qualify for a title? Besides being born to the right parents?

    PS: There is no such thing as a true saudi. If you have a passport, you are a Saudi. Just because someone says life in KSA sucks for them, it doesn’t make them a false Saudi.

    Overall, great job repeating what they taught you, if I ever want to buy a parrot, I’ll be sure to give you a call.

  19. salam all i saw many news and some ppl who commented that when the royal family own a company they make the ppl work for many months and don’t pay them and after they close the companies how is that possible when you said that your king rules with the islamic rules The Prophet peace upon him he was the most kind person even he shared all what he had i remember when i read about him how he was, he gave all of sisters and brothers the food what he got as a donation an he prefered to eat only dates and milk or water, how is possible your royal family doesn’t practice what islam even i saw that woman who is looking for freedom for waman she doesn’t wear hijab or wear good clothes why she has to wear as occidental woman, do you know how many muslims girls here want to wear a good slamic clothes and we can’t get easily? with what fave you obligate other woman to wear nikab when you can’t make that woman to wear hijab? if she wants to find a freedom for woman she has to do it with hijab and show the world that is no necessary to take off your hijab to get your freedom, here in is very difficult to wear hijabs but we do it and why she can’t wear those wonderful abayas what you have, i feel sorry and depress when i see this woman claiming for freedom of saudi woman first she has to leave her mind to follow the kufar and be good muslim and practice her religion

  20. i feel so embarrassed to see her trying to look like occidental when she can do it with islamic clothes, what i can say of this woman she became slave of occidental ppl if you can’t control your woman and make her to wear hijab then why do obligate others to wear nikab i hope you talk about mr Asaad al saud salam alaykum wr wb

  21. The day I call someone “His Royal Highness” is the day I lost all self-respect. This is 2015! Nobody is higher than anyone else and if you feel the need to claim that you are, then you probably have personal issues with your own self-worth.

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