Every royal family is equal parts rich and secretive, but the House of Al Saud may be the world's leading monarchy in both categories, which is perhaps appropriate given that they alone can claim to have their country named after them. Today we have a minor symbol of both those traits: a rare public photo of the inside of King Abdullah's personal jet. Consider it an Easter gift from the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
The elevated chair – just like a throne! – is King Abdullah's seat. The two next to him are presumably reserved for guests of honor.
The photo was flagged by Wall Street Journal's eagle-eyed Ahmed Al Omran, who also tweeted two others from earlier years:
Let's state it plainly: this looks like an awkward-to-the-point-of-unpleasant way to pass a flight. The plane's layout is the ultimate systemization of what appears to be a Saudi government obsession with the paneled meeting room of rectangularly arranged, overstuffed chairs. They've even got the superfluous little touches of a formal state function: over-the-top flowers, fancy lamps that will never be turned on, candy dishes everyone knows to not actually eat from.
This is a specific genre of stuffy government meeting room that seems ubiquitous in parts of the developing world, particularly the Middle East and Asia, despite the fact that in my experience it is conducive to superficial statements and pleasantries and not much else. But that's one of the nice things about being the king of Saudi Arabia: if you like the formal meeting setting so much that you even want to experience it on the short flight from Riyadh to Jeddah, you have the power to make that dream a reality.