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King Fahd's Biography

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Fahd (Ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Saud), was born in Riyadh in the early 1920s, and took control of Saudi Arabia upon the death of his half-brother Faisal in 1975. Officially Fahd became king when his other half-brother, Khalid, died in 1982.

The succession of the various brothers is an extraordinary one. As the BBC remarks: " [King Fahd] was one of seven sons of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdel-Aziz, and his favourite wife, Hassa.

He was the fourth of his siblings to be king. Two of his brothers lost power violently - one was deposed in a coup; the other was assassinated."

During the Gulf War of 1990-1991 King Fahd allowed American and British armed forces on Saudi Territory in the war effort against Iraq.

Before becoming King, Fahd's duties included attending the opening session of the UN general assembly in New York in 1945 and from 1953 acting as Saudi minister for education.

Fahd played a vital role in the expansion of the Mecca mosque, which now holds a million worshippers.

When King Fahd, who was widely regarded as a moderniser, died in August 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "King Fahd was a man of great vision and leadership who inspired his countrymen for a quarter of a century as king, and for many more before that ..."

After he died, one of King Fahd's wives claimed that her eldest daughter was fathered by him in Riyadh in January 1974. According to The Times: "Then, he was a playboy Prince with a number of wives. She was a beautiful diplomat from a Palestinian Christian family. They had married five years earlier against the wishes of his family because she was not born a Muslim, her friends said."

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