The appointment of Reema bint Bandar as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US makes her the first female envoy in the kingdom’s history. She replaces Prince Khaled bin Salman, who becomes deputy defence minister, and is a crafty choice as his successor.
Princess Reema is well-tutored in Washington’s ways. Born in Riyadh in 1975, she grew up and was educated in the US capital, where her father, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, served as ambassador from 1983-2005. During that time he developed a close relationship with the Republican Party and the Bush family and was a keen supporter of the US interventions in Iraq in 1991 and 2003.
The princess graduated from George Washington University with a degree in museum management before returning to Riyadh, where she had a high-profile career in business, advocated for women’s employment in the private and public sectors, and promoted sports.
Her return to Washington is meant to signify a fresh start for the Saudi-US relationship, which has faced strain in Congress since the brutal murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate.