The House of Saud has controlled every aspect of Saudi life and politics since the kingdom was established in 1932. But outside the Desert Kingdom, little is known about Saudi Arabia’s secretive royal family. The House of Al Saud traces its origins to the 18th century emir, Muhammad ibn Saud, whose family ruled large parts of the Arabian Peninsula for over three hundred years. The modern House of Saud was established in 1932, when Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, a direct descendent of the 18th-century ruler, established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with himself as absolute monarch. Today, only his descendents are considered part of the “royal” family line and eligible to ascend the throne.
House of Saud explores how the Al Saud family maintains its hold on power in the face of growing tensions between Islam and modernity. Through interviews with members of the royal family, government officials, and other experts from Saudi Arabia and the U.S., the two-hour documentary also traces America’s relations with the Saudi royal family from their first alliance in the 1930s through September 11 and beyond to the present.