Publication Date: 
Thu, 2010-05-13 03:35

"It's a tribute to the many achievements the Kingdom witnessed during his reign," said the king's daughter, Princess Al-Bandari who specially praised the efforts of Princess Nouf bint Abdul Aziz. The exhibition, in Al-Bandari's opinion, is a great chance for people to learn about King Khaled as a man and as a king. "There are scraps of papers, letters, and notes from my mother and from us to him; they will bring him closer to the people and bring them close to his personal life," said Al-Bandari. She said that the main goal in organizing the exhibition was to introduce King Khaled to young Saudis who had no experience or memories of his noble reign.
King Khaled was, to his sons and daughters and family, just Khaled, the man whose values are still living in them, Al-Bandari said. "I remember once telling a worker to stop and step aside because my father had arrived. My father heard me and told me and my brothers and sisters, 'I was born as Khaled, and became a father and then a king as Khaled and will go about in my life as Khaled, the man. Nothing changes.'" She points out that her father was distinguished for his humbleness, and simplicity which he passed on to his sons and daughters. "Many knew Khaled the King, but few knew him as the loving, caring father, who attended to our daily lives, teachings and upbringing in person, bringing us up, as in any normal family, with much love and tenderness as well as discipline " said Al-Bandari, adding that even after his death, she and her family feel his presence in their daily lives.
King Khaled, according to his daughter, did not favor a son or a daughter; he was always as delighted to have girls as boys. Al-Bandari recalls, "When I was born after two sons, my father was on a journey and when he returned, he was received in silence by his staff. He told me later he wondered why no one was saying anything but he was then told that the new child was a daughter; he expressed his joy at a healthy child and then all was well."
Women had a great value to King Khaled, said Al-Bandari.  Administrative positions in education were 80 percent filled by Saudi women during King Khaled's reign while the number of women teachers reached 30 percent. "Development of the Saudi citizen was King Khaled's major concern; therefore, he focused on education," said Al-Bandari. At the beginning of his reign, there were 3,028 elementary schools, 649 middle schools and 182 high schools. Five years later, the numbers had increased to 5,373 elementary, 1,377 middle and 456 high schools.
Some of King Khaled's major achievements were the establishment in 1976 of the Higher Education Center for Women as well as colleges of medicine and pharmacology for girls. Banks were Saudized as well as major companies such as Aramco. The king sought to put the country's wealth in the hands of its citizens.
Al-Anoud Bint Abdul Mohsin, Al-Bandari's daughter and King Khalid's granddaughter, said, "The exhibition is a great chance for King Khalid to be introduced to people who did not know him." She said she did not remember him very well but that he was very much alive in the teachings he imparted to her mother and, through her mother, to her.
The exhibition has many personal and general and official occasion photos, souvenirs, gifts, clothes and personal items of the king. Its walls are decorated with documents, both official and personal. One very touching display is King Khaled's wrist watches which were stopped at 5 O'clock, the moment he died. That was the time when a great king, a father and a man departed from his family, friends and a nation that loved him.
Arab News was first published during King Khaled's reign.

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