Saudi Prince Allows Fly-on-the-Wall Filming
The BBC has been given unprecedented access to make a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Saudi royal family. The documentary will follow the daily life of a senior Saudi royal, Prince Abdul bin Moshin al Saud, a grandson of King Abdul Aziz , founder of the kingdom.
Some of the world's largest oil reserves have made Saudi Arabia and its royal family very wealthy. Although many foreign immigrants including thousands of westerners work in the kingdom on temporary visas, it remains largely unknown to the rest of the world.
As the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed and of Islam, Saudi Arabia holds a special place in the Muslim world. Millions of the faithful travel on pilgrimage to Mecca every year. The king is also Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina and large sums are spent each year in looking after the needs of pilgrims and in upholding the faith and tenants of Islam throughout the world.
Despite unprecedented modernisation, education and infrastructure development that oil wealth has brought, Saudi Arabia remains a very conservative society where home life is very private and public life is carefully regulated.
Private wealth is never openly conspicuous although wealthy homes may have luxurious fittings, and public buildings, intended to impress, combine the best of modern architecture with classic arab style, luxury and practicality. Saudi Shopping malls use interior fountains and waterfalls to provide humidty in one of the world's driest and hottest climates, as part of the air conditioning.
Saudi women go veiled in public and are not allowed to drive themselves, although they may hold US or European driving licences and drive when abroad. Women can independently own and manage businesses and are central to family life, but a woman's property and private wealth are her own and does not belong to her husband.
Founder of the kingdom, King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud forged strong and lasting alliances with often disparate desert tribes right across the country. He is still revered in the kingdom he unified and his descendents in the Saud family maintain that unity.
Saudi Arabia even a century after Abdul Aziz began his rise from desert emir to desert king, remains today both a very conservative and very devout country.
A documentary film following the daily affairs of Prince Abdul bin Moshin bin Saud promises to reveal much more about the daily life of the Saudi royal family in this very private kingdom than television viewers anywhere, have ever seen before.
The documentary is due to begin filming in October.