They retaliated by expelling the British ambassador to Riyadh, withdrawing 400 Saudi royals from Britain, and causing the UK £200 million in lost revenue from canceled orders and product boycotts.The film was rebroadcast in 2005 and is available to view in full online.While the common people of the Saudi state are subject to strict rules and tender mercies of the religious police, the royal family are subject to no such restrictions and live lives of luxury and adventure.Instead, the biggest threats to the Saudi princes and princesses are often themselves. Princess Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud was in an arranged marriage (by all accounts, an unhappy one) with an older cousin. There, she met Khaled, the son of a Saudi diplomat, and began an affair.She soon became yet another victim of the system, as were the so-called patients (political prisoners) she was trying to help. We have been told to lose all hope of ever having a normal life.
The princess refused to simply denounce her lover and confessed to the adultery, enraging her conservative grandfather, Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, brother of the king.Every October, shopping malls are patrolled by religious police on the lookout for outlets selling costumes.But this prohibition doesn’t extend to the royal family.According to televised testimony by Princess Anoud al Fayez, one of the late King Abdullah’s numerous ex-wives, divorced by him several times, who now lives in the UK, King Abdullah kept the four daughters he had with her, Princesses Jawaher, Sahar, Hala, and Maha, under virtual house arrest in the Jeddah royal compound.They are said to have been under the control of three of their half-brothers for the past 14 years, a supposed punishment for racy lifestyles and criticism of the royal family.Back home, hooking up is practically a foregone conclusion when you spark with a guy.But with Yaser, there could be nothing of the sort.The Saudi authorities have never charged them with a crime and refer to it as a “private matter.” In an email with a Middle East current affairs site, Princess Sahar explained the dire nature of their plight: We, along with our mother, have always been vocal all our lives about poverty, women’s rights and other causes that are dear to our hearts. It did not sit well with him and his sons Mitab and Abdel Aziz and their entourage. We have been treated abysmally all our lives, but it got worse during the past 15 years.When Hala began to work as an intern at a hospital in Riyadh, she discovered political prisoners thrown in psychiatric wards, drugged and shamed to discredit them.After all, not many expat women dream of living in the kingdom, and many Saudi men know this.It’s a sad fact of life: Absolute monarchies generate more crazy stories than democratic republics.