It's a good thing most Saudi citizens cannot read the New York Times or they might go all Marie Antoinette on some folks.
While members of the family have been investing overseas for decades, the pace of buying homes abroad has quickened in the last two years, according to Ardavan Amir-Aslani, a business lawyer who has advised Saudi princes on real estate acquisitions in France. “In the event the situation becomes dire for them, they want to have an option, and a place to go to live, a place to have assets,” he said.
“They’re not only securing their capital,” he added, “but also their future lives.”
After Ramadan ended in July, many royals traveled to the Mediterranean. Prince Abdulaziz, the son of the late King Fahd, rode a Jet Ski this past Summer off the Spanish island of Formentera within sight of his nearly 500-foot yacht.
Nicole Pollard Bayme, the founder and chief executive of the LalaLuxe fashion styling firm in Los Angeles, said her Saudi royal clients last summer bought Hermès Himalayan Birkin bags made of crocodile skin with diamond and gold hardware and couture gowns for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Saudi economy “is in some kind of a crisis, but they are still spending,” she said.
Eventually, there will be a reckoning. Looks like the Royals are stepping up plans for that as we speak.