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The fabulous life of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed


For two years, one of the world's wealthiest men, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, was locked in a battle with Forbes over his net worth, with the prince claiming the publication had underestimated his fortune by nearly $9.6 billion.

On Monday, the disgruntled billionaire and Forbes Media announced that the defamation suit has been settled on "mutually agreeable terms," Reuters reported. 

The magazine currently has Alwaleed pegged as the 34th richest person in the world, with $22.6 billion in wealth
. (Bloomberg lists Alaweed as the 20th wealthiest in the world, with $30.6 billion in wealth.)

Regardless, Alwaleed is still rich beyond belief from his stake in his Kingdom Holding Company, his Saudi real estate investments, shares in Arab media companies, and investments in public and private companies globally, including Twitter and Chinese e-commerce giant

Lucinda Chen and Julie Zeveloff contributed to this post.

Prince Alwaleed was born into Saudi royalty.

Wikimedia Commons

Prince Talal, Alwaleed's father.

He is the son of Prince Talal and Mona Al Solh.

His maternal grandfather was the first prime minister of Lebanon and his paternal grandfather, King Abdulaziz, created Saudi Arabia.

He attended a California school for college.


It was while attending Menlo College in Atherton, California that he acquired what many believe to be a Western world outlook, making him the go-to Saudi investor for American businessmen.

He got his big break when he invested in a little company called Citicorp.


A young Prince Alwaleed in 1994.

He received a $30,000 gift, a $300,000 loan, and a house from his father after graduating, and slowly began investing.

In 1991, when Alwaleed was 36, he made a high-stakes decision to invest in Citicorp, which made him $800 million. By 2005, that had turned into $10 billion.

He was married to the beautiful Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, but the pair recently split.

They were married for eight years, but Alwaleed revealed in a 2015 interview with the Saudi Gazette that they had recently separated.

"I have officially separated from Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, but she remains a person that I have all respect for. She represented the Saudi woman in the best way through her various participations locally, regionally and internationally," he told the paper.

He has met many of the richest and most impressive people on the planet.

Getty Images

Alwaleed makes a point of meeting and being seen with the world's royals, politicians, and celebrities.

He and his then-wife were guests at Kate Middleton and Prince William's royal wedding, and he's met the Queen of England, Prince Charles, Nicholas Sarkozy, Queen Rania of Jordan, Michael Jackson, and the former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others.

He owns an estimated $700 million in jewelry.

Lucas Jackson/REUTERS

Princess Ameerah, Alwaleed's wife, wearing some gorgeous earrings.

When Forbes' Kerry Dolan visited with the Saudi Prince in 2009, he reportedly showed her part of his impressive jewelry collection that he claimed neither he nor his wife even used:

"The most spectacular set on display was a diamond and emerald necklace with three emeralds the size of sparrow eggs dangling from the center, with earrings and a ring to match. With a combined total of 200 carats, the set is worth $40 million," Dolan wrote.

He sleeps only four hours a night and loves CNBC.

The prince follows a bizarre schedule of going to bed at 4 or 5 am, and waking up at 9 am. He then eats one big meal a day at 8 pm which he calls "lunch," according to Forbes.

The TV is constantly turned to CNBC while Alwaleed is eating or working, and the Saudi royal has even appeared as a guest on his favorite TV channel.

He's a women's rights advocate (sort of).


The prince takes pride in the fact that half of the employees of his Kingdom Holding Company are women. "Frankly I always side with qualifications regardless of gender," he told the Saudi Gazette. "I am trying to be fair to women because their rights are still not fully recognized in our country."

But he's been accused of doing it for publicity: For instance, Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson reports his female pilot Hanadi Zakariya Hindi has hardly flown any of Alwaleed's aircraft, and when she was hired, Alwaleed told his aviation staff that she never would.

Alwaleed was reportedly in the running to buy New York's iconic Plaza Hotel.

The billionaire owns a 25% stake in the famous hotel; he reportedly sought to buy the rest of it from its current owner, although that deal has not been done.

The prince also owns the Savoy Hotel in London, and has a stake in Four Seasons.

And he's building the tallest skyscraper on the planet.

The prince has spearheaded the construction of Kingdom Tower, the tallest planned building in the world (via Dezeen).

The skyscraper will rise above Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea, and reach a height of over 3,280 feet.

That's at least 568 feet taller than the world's current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which was designed by the same architect. It's slated for completion in 2018.

He bought the third biggest yacht in the world for $500 million.


Alwaleed's old yacht, the New Kingdom 5KR Yacht, was 282 feet long, and appeared in the Bond movie "Never Say Never Again." The boat has a disco, cinema, helipad, pool, guest rooms, and more.

But Alwaleed reportedly commissioned a new yacht double the size at 557 feet, making it the third biggest yacht in the world. It will cost a reported $500 million, but there's still no word on when it will be completed.

He owns a lot of expensive cars, too.

His collection includes a Rolls Royce Phantom, which retails just under $500,000, a $48 million diamond-encrusted Mercedes Benz SL 600, and several other Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

He bought (and then sold) an Airbus 380 plane.



The plane was reportedly tricked out with three floors, a Turkish bath, a "concert hall" with seating for 10, a boardroom with holographic projectors, and a garage for his Rolls Royce. The aircraft cost an estimated $500 million.

Alwaleed recently sold the plane to a private buyer for an undisclosed price, with proceeds going toward his investments in Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East, according to his spokesperson.

But he still owns his Boeing 747.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Alwaleed owns a $220 million Boeing 747 with a throne, two bedrooms, and a 14-seat dining table with 11 flight attendants from around the world.

He was once sued over the commission of the sale of yet another plane to former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, and ordered to pay $120 million, according to Bloomberg.

He lives in a 420-room palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Alwaleed's palace is made with high-quality marble and hung with large portraits and photographs of himself, according to Forbes.

It also has two indoor pools and an outdoor tennis court.

He also owns a huge farm/resort on the outskirts of the city.

Google Earth

The real Grand Canyon.

The Farm reportedly has over 120 acres, and has a miniature version of the Grand Canyon, a mini-zoo, horse stables, and five artificial lakes.

Alwaleed is a big game hunter.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

He often goes on hunting expeditions, and shoots game that are typically illegal to hunt. His prized animal is a stuffed zebra that he killed with his daughter, reports Forbes.

His palace is filled with the taxidermied animals that are put on display for guests to admire.

He has hired little people to act like his "court jesters."


Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson reports: "Almost every source we spoke to, including Alwaleed's official spokesperson, confirmed that, like a medieval monarch, Alwaleed keeps in his entourage a group of dancing, laughing, joking dwarfs."

The sources continued that even though they were initially shocked, in Saudi culture it would be considered charity since the little people would most likely be out of work and considered "freaks" in the country.

But it's not all about the toys: Alwaleed also donates heavily to charities.

AFP/Getty Images

It is common for Alwaleed to make donations to petitioners, as well as to numerous charities and causes through the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation (even if it might just be for publicity). 

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