03:57 GMT08 August 2020
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    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been stuck on the front page of newspapers around the world for nearly two months. However, very little has been made public about his early life.

    The young MBS was a spoiled child and a bit of a class clown, his former English teacher has revealed.

    In an article for the BBC, Rachid Sekkai, a former schoolteacher, who is now a journalist for the BBC's Arabic Service, recalled that he was called on by then-Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, MBS's father, to teach the boy and his brothers English in 1996 while Salman was governor of Riyadh and MBS was just 11 years old.

    "Mohammed…seemed more interested in spending time with palace guards instead of following my lessons. As the oldest of his siblings, he seemed to be allowed to do as he pleased," Sekkai wrote. 

    Teaching MBS's siblings, Sekkai noted that his ability to command their attention "would last only until Mohammed would turn up," with the future crown prince using a walkie-talkie borrowed from one of the palace guards "to make cheeky remarks about me and crack jokes between his brothers and the guards on the other end."

    At one point, MBS informed Sekkai that he was being watched by CCTV cameras on the walls throughout his time at the palace. "From that point onwards I would always feel self-conscious in my lessons," he recalled.

    "Within a short time, I became fond of Mohammed and his younger siblings. Though I was teaching princes in a world of privilege, my palace pupils were, very much like my school students, curious to learn but keen to play around," Sekkai noted.

    In addition to MBS, Sekkai taught Khalid bin Salman, his younger brother and the current Saudi ambassador to the United States.

    Looking to speak to MBS's father about his son's mischief, the teacher recalled giving the would-be king a firm handshake instead of bowing and kissing his hand upon meeting him, a move for which he was scolded by the palace's director. "I didn't mention what Prince Mohammed had been up to in my lessons because by then I had decided to give it all up and return to the UK," Sekkai noted.

    MBS has been at the center of global media attention since the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Turkey on October 2. Riyadh has firmly denied any involvement by the crown prince in Khashoggi's killing, and launched its own investigation to bring those responsible for what it called the Khashoggi "rogue operation" to justice. 

    Last week however, a bipartisan group of US senators introduced a resolution to hold MBS responsible for the journalist's death after being briefed on the matter by the CIA. The resolution also seeks to hold MBS responsible for "contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents within Saudi Arabia" and "the use of force to intimidate rivals."


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