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King Mohammed VI during a ceremony at his palace in Tetouan to mark the 20th anniversary of his accession to the throne July 31, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: With the world's monarchs and leaders decending this week upon Muscat, the Omani capital, to offer their condolences to Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said on the passing of Sultan Qaboos, one could not but notice the absence of Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

He was a no-show. While Arab leaders and kings attended with big delegations, the Moroccan king sent his brother Prince Moulay Rachid, accompanied by senior officials.

Moulay Rashid of Morocco attends Sultan Qaboos funeral Image Credit: Oman news agency

Centuries-old tradition

But what is not well known is that the Moroccan monarchy — the Alaouite dynasty — is one of the oldest living monarchies in the world. They follow the Sultan's rule ("Qanun Al Sultani"), unbroken since 1613.


start of the rule of the Alaouite family in Morocco

The kings and sultans of Morocco's ruling Alaouite family do not violate a long-standing royal tradition that dissuades them from attending funerals and weddings — from expressing grief or happiness.

Strict adherence

This tradition is strictly adhered to, even when it comes to condoling or celebrating with royal families of other countries.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI, in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais in 2005, explained the no-shows as part of the kingdom's long-held tradition.

He attributed the reason for the absence of the Moroccan kings of the Alaouite dynasty in weddings and funerals, even when it comes to close allies of Morocco, saying: "Our traditions do not allow kings to attend wedding ceremonies or funerals outside."

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King Mohammed VI, is flanked by his brother Prince Moulay Rachid, right, and Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, during the annual Throne Speech, in Al-Hoceima, Morocco Image Credit: AP

The non-participation of Alawite kings in funerals and weddings outside their country is also applicable inside the country.

But there were notable exceptions. In 2014, King Mohammed attended the wedding of his brother Prince Moulay Rashid for a short time; and in 2011, he saw the body of his aunt, Princess Lalla Aisha off the royal palace, without participating in the burial ceremonies or performing the funeral prayers.

'Royal decency'

A researcher of Moroccan history and Royal family traditions, explained the tradition to Al Ayam 24 online newspaper: "The failure of the kings of Morocco to attend funerals and weddings falls within the framework of the so-called 'royal decency', which makes their lives distinct from the life of the ordinary citizens, to preserve dignity and prestige, which was among the tools that the authority employed to gain their respect and obedience."