Princess Reema bint Bandar will replace Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia has appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar as the country’s first female ambassador.
The former business executive and philanthropist who has lived in the United States for more than two decades will be the next ambassador to Washington.
According to The Washington Post, her appointment is the latest sign of the kingdom’s effort to rehabilitate its image in the United States following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, and the arrests and torture of Saudi women’s rights activists.
Princess Reema will replace Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khalid was positioned in the consulate during the killing of Khashoggi and has been accused of helping to cover up the murder. A royal decree issued on Saturday stated that Khalid will now serve as deputy defense minister.
Prince Mohammed has been under the spotlight over recent months. The CIA concluded in November that he is likely to have ordered the killing of Khashoggi. Despite widespread condemnation, Washington has continued to support the Saudi regime and Prince Mohammed.
Princess Reema is seen as a breath of fresh air following the recent controversies. Her father, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, had the longest tenure of any Saudi ambassador to the United States, serving for 22 years until he retired in 2005.
Reema was educated in the United States and graduated from George Washington University in 1999. She has worked for Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority and as the chief executive of Alfa International, a luxury retail company. She has promoted greater inclusion for Saudi women in sports and breast cancer awareness.
In the past, Reema has been a vocal advocate for the crown prince’s reform program, which has focused on diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy and allowing women the right to drive.