Time: March 1, 2018
Relations and activities
King Abdulaziz and Noura were very close to each other. It is well known that on several occasions, King Abdulaziz identified himself in public by proclaiming “I am the brother of Noura.” Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman, another of her younger brothers, also used to say the same.
Noura was reported to have the “minds of 40 men” and great wisdom. She encouraged her brother to regain the leadership of the country when the family was in exile in Kuwait. Additionally, she was one of the few women of her period who learned to read and write. Her charismatic personality and strong political ideas led to King Abdulaziz’s paying attention to her opinion about many crucial issues. Eventually, she became one of his main advisors and even took his place in running the state when he was unable to do so. She was also known to be quite progressive and outspoken. For instance, when the telephone was first introduced to the country, many Islamic clerics rejected it and considered it to be a tool of the devil, but she actively supported its use and argued that it was an amazing device that they would not be able to live without. She also played an important role in teaching her nephews and nieces the system of social norms. It is reported that whenever one of them misbehaved as a child, the King would send him to their aunt for discipline. In addition Noura was a pioneer in charity activities and the founder of the first charity program for the poor and orphans in the country.
Dame Violet Dickson, a Briton, met Noura in 1937 and stated that she was the most charismatic and important personality in Arabian Peninsula at that period. Princess Alice, a British royal, who visited Saudi Arabia in 1938, also met Noura and described her as follows: “Noura, is about sixty and said to be his [King Abdulaziz’s] chief adviser, a fine, handsome woman.”
Noura bint Abdul Rahman married Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Faisal, who was born in Riyadh in 1882 and died in 1989. Her husband was from the Al Kabir branch of the House of Saud, consisting of descendants of Saud bin Faisal, elder brother of King Abdulaziz’s father, Abdul Rahman Al Saud. Saud bin Faisal ruled in Arabia from 1871 to 1875.
In 1903, the Al Kabir branch began to question King Abdulaziz’s right to rule. And they took refuge from their mothers’ tribe, Ajman. Later the King pardoned Saud Al Kabir, the most powerful surviving Al Kabir family member. Saud Al Kabir was then married to Noura. In other words, Saud Al Kabir’s loyalty to Abdulaziz was secured as a result of his marriage to Noura bint Abdul Rahman. Since then, the members of Al Kabir branch have become influential, but they have been mostly kept away from political power. On the other hand, Saud Al Kabir served as the governor of the Qassim province following the foundation of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
Noura gave birth to Mohammad, Hassa, and Al Jawhara. Her daughter, Al Jawhara, was the third spouse of King Faisal, and they had a daughter, Munira. Noura’s grandson, Sultan bin Mohammad bin Saud Al Kabir, is a businessman and was the 12th billionaire in the Arab world in 2013.
Princess Noura University was named in 2008 by King Abdullah in her memory. This university is considered to be one of the largest universities of its type and can accommodate 50,000 female students. The university reflects King Abdullah’s appreciation for the oldest daughter of Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud, father of King Abdulaziz.
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