Born in 1924 to Fahda, the eighth of Ibn Saud's 16 wives, Abdullah has two sisters but no full brothers. Abdullah himself has four wives, seven sons, and 15 daughters.
A devout Muslim, he is said to conduct weekly meetings with top members of the religious establishment to listen to their counsel. In addition, he is commander of the 60,000-man Saudi National Guard, a tremendously important institution in the kingdom. He was appointed commander in 1962 - at age 38 - by the much revered King Faisal. Abdullah has held the post ever since.