Published on Oct 7, 2015
The family is primarily led by the descendants of Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.
The most influential member of the Royal family is the King of Saudi Arabia, currently King Salman. The throne was designed to pass from one son of the first king, Ibn Saud, to another. His deputy Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is also from the ruling House of Saud, and the king-appointed cabinet includes more members of the royal family. While the monarchy is hereditary now, future Saudi kings will be chosen by a committee of Saudi princes, in line with a 2006 Royal Decree.
The family is estimated to be composed of 15,000 members, but the majority of the power and wealth is possessed by a group of only about 2,000.
The House of Saud has gone through three phases: the First Saudi State, the Second Saudi State, and the modern nation of Saudi Arabia. The First Saudi State marked the expansion of Wahhabism. The Second Saudi State was marked with continuous infighting. Modern Saudi Arabia wields considerable influence in the Middle East.