The cousin of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has said that his princely title is a burden he wants to remove to fully and happily live as a “simple Moroccan citizen.”
Rabat – Prince Hicham El Alaoui, known as “the outcast prince,” is an established critic of Morocco’s monarchy, which he has maintained should be more democratic and more reflective of popular will. A cousin of King Mohammed VI, El Alaoui is fourth in line to the throne.
Speaking to France 24 El Alaoui said he has other priorities than the order of royal succession.
“I have said in the past that I am not part of the Moroccan monarchy and I’m not fourth in the succession order…. Let me be more explicit than I have been before. Three years ago, I sent the king a letter in which I requested that my ties with the monarchy be cut,” he said.
El Alaoui explained that he made two requests in his letter to the King. First, he asked to be buried in a “place that has no connection with the monarchy.” His second request was to be relieved of his princely title and privileges.
Asked why it was so important to him to sever all ties with the monarchy, he responded: “Because I wanted to end the incongruence between my real activities and the princely title, but also because I want to live life fully. I want to feel free.”
Despite El Alaoui’s letter and his insistence that “he has nothing to do with the monarchy,” King Mohammed VI has not yet answered his request, he revealed. But, he added, “I believe I will receive an answer as soon as possible…. I understand why it would take the king so long to attend to my request. I know he has a lot on his plate and the concerns of Moroccans are far more important than the comfort of one citizen.”
El Alaoui did not only speak about his tense relationship with the Moroccan monarchy. Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s internal and external troubles since news emerged of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, El Alaoui said that the Arab world is sitting on a time bomb, and the people will react sooner or later.
There are repressive and authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, he said, and Saudi Arabia is trying to “export its failed model.”
He said the Khashoggi affair has shed light on the Arab world’s political failure to deal with popular demands. If nothing changes, he predicted, there will be more upheavals to come from the region.
While Morocco avoided the Arab Spring in 2011, El Alaoui argued that the country will also go through periods of upheavals and violent protests if the monarchy and the ruling elite do not attend to the demands of the people.