Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, established two things soon after his father, Salman, became king in 2015 and began handing him the keys to the kingdom.

The aspiring wunderkind, now aged 35, quickly cleared a path to the throne and ended the House of Saud’s consensual model of an absolute monarchy with no absolute monarch, seizing all the reins of power. He surged forward with social and economic reform in a state until now under theocratic tutelage, where change has traditionally been driven at speeds between slow and stop...

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