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Royal Family

The Royal Family of Morocco

Morocco’s form of state is parliamentary monarchy. Its Head of State is therefore a king, so the Royal Family is a very important institution in the country. Although it has aspects in common with other royal families in the Arab world, the Moroccan royal family stands out for some particularities that we will discuss below.

Table of Contents

The royal family dynasty: the Alaouites

The current dynasty of Morocco is the Alaouite dynasty which, after the parenthesis of the French Protectorate in the first half of the 20th century, has effectively reigned in this country since the 17th century. Its founder is Mulay Ali Sharif, whose mausoleum is in Rissani, in the desert region, where this dynasty has its origins.

Some prominent names of this dynasty are Sultan Moulay Ismail, who reigned with an iron fist in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and Mohammed IV, who sought closer trade ties with other countries in the 19th century.

But in today’s Morocco, it is the last Alawite monarchs who are the most relevant and transcendent. For example, Mohammed V, one of the architects of the country’s independence in 1957, whose monumental mausoleum is in Rabat. His son and heir was also Hassan II, king of Morocco for a very long period: from 1961 to 1999.

Since then, the current king is Mohammed VI.

The current king: Mohammed VI

Mohammed VI has been king of Morocco since the death of his father Hassan II in 1999. During his time as crown prince, he earned a degree in law,

Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Rabat, in addition to a subsequent doctorate in Nice and religious training for his position. During his youth, he was attributed with a very active and intense private life, a situation that would have normalized after his marriage to Lalla Salma in 2002 (from whom he divorced in 2018).

However, the last years of Mohammed VI’s life are marked by his health problems, being forced to undergo several heart surgeries, in addition to suffering from sarcoidosis. This has meant that the king’s public appearances have been drastically reduced, along with long stays outside the country.

The king's functions

Although the 2011 Constitution marked a breakthrough in the separation of state powers, the King of Morocco continues to hold functions of great importance, as well as a clear influence on the day-to-day running of Moroccan politics. The main functions of the King of Morocco are:

  • Head of State: his figure guarantees the unity of the country and is its highest representative.
  • Chief of the Armed Forces, for which all the military ranks owe him obedience.
  • Top religious leader, as Commander of the Believers and president of the Council of the Ulema (wise men) in Morocco, which gives him an even more important position in Moroccan society.
  • President of the Council of Ministers, with the power to dissolve one or both political chambers of Morocco.

The other members of the Royal Family

The Royal Family of Morocco has experienced different vicissitudes until resulting in its current configuration, different from most royal families in the world. The most striking event was the divorce of King Mohammed VI from his only wife and wife, Lalla Salma. They married in 2002 and the Moroccan monarch renounced to have a harem, in a sign of modernity and respect for women. However, that did not stop the couple from ending their relationship after 16 years of marriage, an unusual decision in these spheres. Since 2018, Lalla Salma stopped participating in public representative activities to devote herself body and soul to the education of her two children: crown prince Moulay Hassan and Lalla Khadiya.

Moulay Hasan was born in 2003 and has always led a discreet life, away from the spotlight. He is known for his love of aeronautics, receiving technical training as a pilot. He has always been very close to his mother, Lalla Salma, and since he was 15 years old he has accompanied his father Mohammed VI in official summits and other acts of his position. He will reign under the name of Hassan III.

Lalla Khadija is the youngest daughter of the Royal Family, who has also led a life marked by discretion during her period of minority and training. However, it remains to be seen what his role will be within the Royal House when his brother Moulay Hassan reigns, since one characteristic that has marked the reign of Mohammed VI is the influence and relevance of his sisters: the princesses. Lalla Meryem, Lalla Hasna and Lalla Asma.

And that can be interpreted, in turn, as a reflection of one of the major measures carried out during the reign of Mohammed VI: the creation of the Mudawana, a new family code that gives greater power and independence to women in the private sphere.

The role of these three women is prominent, either in the face of society or because of their influence on their brother, the king. The one that has taken on the most prominent role has been Lalla MeryemThe first, the eldest, who for years has been assuming a leading role, due to the prolonged absences of Mohammed VI due to health problems and the disappearance of his ex-wife, Lalla Salma, from the public scene. Lalla Meryem, for example, has been in charge of officially receiving her counterparts, such as Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

All of them are highly educated and hold positions of responsibility or representation in important international organizations. They also stand out for their elegance, often demonstrating a taste for Western fashion, which in turn is interpreted as a sign of modernity.

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