Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia died yesterday at the age of 90 leaving Queen Elizabeth as the oldest monarch at 88.
King Abdullah died in the hospital last night after being there on New Year’s Eve with suspected pneumonia. He was immediately replaced by his half-brother Prince Salman, 79, and leaves behind four wives and 22 children.
Quickly after his accession to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom, King Salman vowed to continue the same policies as his brother, whom he had often stood in for due to ill health over the last few years.
"We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," he said on television.
Another of King Abdullah’s half-brothers, Muqrin, has been named the new crown prince, according to an official statement.
Abdullah, Salman and Muqrin are all sons of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz, who died in 1953.
Despite being the oldest monarch, Queen Elizabeth isn’t the longest reigning one. That honor goes to King Rama IX of Thailand, who has served for 68 years whereas the Queen's reign is just under 63 years.
Prince Charles was a good friend of King Abdulah and is expected to attend his funeral on Friday.
In keeping with traditions of the ultra-conservative form of Sunni Islam followed by the kingdom - King Abdullah will be buried in an unmarked grave after Friday prayers.
President Barack Obama passed along his sympathies over Abdullah's death.
He said, "As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the US-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond."