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Saudi Crown Prince finishes off US trip with a visit from both Bushes as he is hailed for appearing 'ordinary' during public relations tour that saw him both meeting with stars and getting Starbucks

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4/8/2018 Anneta Konstantinides

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman rounded off his US tour with a visit from both former president Bushes in Houston.

George HW Bush tweeted a photo of him and George W Bush smiling with the heir to the Saudi throne. 

'A wonderful chance to celebrate the long-standing friendship between our two nations,' Bush senior wrote in the tweet. 

The Saudi embassy in Washington called the meeting a 'reminder of the strength and breadth of the long-standing Saudi-US partnership.' 

a group of people posing for the camera: Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman rounded off his US tour with a visit from both former president Bushes in Houston (Pictured L-R: Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, George W Bush, Bin Salman, former Secretary of State James Baker, George HW Bush) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman rounded off his US tour with a visit from both former president Bushes in Houston (Pictured L-R: Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, George W Bush, Bin Salman, former Secretary of State James Baker, George HW Bush)

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman rounded off his US tour with a visit from both former president Bushes in Houston (Pictured L-R: Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, George W Bush, Bin Salman, former Secretary of State James Baker, George HW Bush)

a man in a suit and tie: Bush senior called the meeting 'a wonderful chance to celebrate the long-standing friendship between our two nations' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bush senior called the meeting 'a wonderful chance to celebrate the long-standing friendship between our two nations'

Bush senior called the meeting 'a wonderful chance to celebrate the long-standing friendship between our two nations'

a group of people in a room: The group sat down and shared a meal together during the visit this weekend. It was the royal's last stop before heading to France © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The group sat down and shared a meal together during the visit this weekend. It was the royal's last stop before heading to France

The group sat down and shared a meal together during the visit this weekend. It was the royal's last stop before heading to France 

That has been the 32-year-old's royal goal as he visited the likes of Boston, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley after meeting Trump at the White House. 

Bin Salman has gotten Starbucks with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, talked space with Richard Branson, and dined with celebrities in Bel Air. 

Throughout the whole trip the royal has often dressed down for his meetings, meeting with leaders in a casual suit and often skipping a tie.

Simon Henderson, an expert on Saudi Arabia at the Washington Institute, said it was an 'incredibly successful' trip for the country's public relations. 

Henderson told AFP that Bin Salman managed to overcome a common challenge of Saudi Royals to appear as 'an ordinary sort of person'. 

a group of people posing for the camera: The Saudi embassy in Washington called the meeting a 'reminder of the strength and breadth of the long-standing Saudi-US partnership' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Saudi embassy in Washington called the meeting a 'reminder of the strength and breadth of the long-standing Saudi-US partnership'

The Saudi embassy in Washington called the meeting a 'reminder of the strength and breadth of the long-standing Saudi-US partnership'

a group of people standing around a table: Bin Salman appeared in a suit sans tie, which has been his general uniform for the US tour © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bin Salman appeared in a suit sans tie, which has been his general uniform for the US tour

Bin Salman appeared in a suit sans tie, which has been his general uniform for the US tour 

a group of people standing in a room: Simon Henderson, an expert on Saudi Arabia at the Washington Institute, said it was an 'incredibly successful' trip for the country's public relations © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Simon Henderson, an expert on Saudi Arabia at the Washington Institute, said it was an 'incredibly successful' trip for the country's public relations

Simon Henderson, an expert on Saudi Arabia at the Washington Institute, said it was an 'incredibly successful' trip for the country's public relations 

Bin Salman started off his US tour with a visit to the White House, where Trump hailed the nations' 'great friendship' during a March 20 meeting at the Oval Office.  

Since that meeting, Bin Salman has been diligently pushing his 'Saudi Vision 2030' - a plan for a Saudi economy less reliant on oil and eager to attract US investors tempted by potential diversification.

The latter part of his trip saw him meet with directors of Google, Facebook and Palantir - not to mention Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates - as well as former president Bill Clinton in New York.

Only Barack Obama - whose terms in office marked strained relations with Saudi Arabia - was left off the presidential agenda.

Bin Salman then headed to Los Angeles, where he had a string of meetings with some of the biggest names in the entertainment business, including Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Morgan Freeman and James Cameron.

a man standing in front of a store: Bin Salman was also spotted getting coffee at a Starbucks in New York with former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bin Salman was also spotted getting coffee at a Starbucks in New York with former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg

Bin Salman was also spotted getting coffee at a Starbucks in New York with former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg 

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Bin Salman was pictured laughing with the group as he clutched his Starbucks drink last week © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bin Salman was pictured laughing with the group as he clutched his Starbucks drink last week

Bin Salman was pictured laughing with the group as he clutched his Starbucks drink last week 

a man wearing a suit and tie: Henderson told AFP that Bin Salman managed to overcome a common challenge of Saudi Royals to appear as 'an ordinary sort of person' during the tour © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Henderson told AFP that Bin Salman managed to overcome a common challenge of Saudi Royals to appear as 'an ordinary sort of person' during the tour

Henderson told AFP that Bin Salman managed to overcome a common challenge of Saudi Royals to appear as 'an ordinary sort of person' during the tour 

He also had an intimate dinner at Rupert Murdoch's Bel Air estate, which was attended by Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife Willow Bay, Universal film Chairman Jeff Shell, Fox executive Peter Rice and film chief Stacey Snider, The Hollywood Reporter revealed.    

For the Los Angeles leg of his trip, the royal booked the entire 285 rooms of the Four Season in Beverly Hills.

Bin Salman even booked the 100 luxury suites at the luxury hotel, which charges on average $600 a night per room, The Wrap reported.

That means the royal popularly known as MBS shelled out at least $171,000 per night just for him and his entourage. 

About 20 people gathered at Murdoch's home in Bel Air for a party with the royal, including his wife, Jerry Hall, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Nat Geo CEO Courtney Monroe and filmmakers Jams Cameron and Ridley Scott.

The party was social and not political, sources who attended told the website.  

The evening included a long cocktail hour, during which wines from 87-year-old Murdoch's vineyard were served. 

Bin Salman did, though, take a moment just before dinner to speak about reforms in his country - which is coming off a tumultuous few months back in Saudi Arabia.

a person standing in front of a building: Bin Salman met with a number of tech leader and innovators during his trip, including with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bin Salman met with a number of tech leader and innovators during his trip, including with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson

Bin Salman met with a number of tech leader and innovators during his trip, including with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson 

a man wearing a suit and tie: The royal also visited the Boeing Company as he toured Seattle last week, donning a pair of safety glasses © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The royal also visited the Boeing Company as he toured Seattle last week, donning a pair of safety glasses

The royal also visited the Boeing Company as he toured Seattle last week, donning a pair of safety glasses 

a man wearing a suit and tie: Bin Salman met the likes of Tim Cook as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates (pictured) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Bin Salman met the likes of Tim Cook as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates (pictured)

Bin Salman met the likes of Tim Cook as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates (pictured)

a close up of a tree: He also had an intimate dinner at Rupert Murdoch's Bel Air estate (pictured), which was arrended by Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife Willow Bay, Universal film Chairman Jeff Shell, Fox executive Peter Rice and film chief Stacey Snider, The Hollywood Reporter revealed © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited He also had an intimate dinner at Rupert Murdoch's Bel Air estate (pictured), which was arrended by Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife Willow Bay, Universal film Chairman Jeff Shell, Fox executive Peter Rice and film chief Stacey Snider, The Hollywood Reporter revealed

He also had an intimate dinner at Rupert Murdoch's Bel Air estate (pictured), which was arrended by Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife Willow Bay, Universal film Chairman Jeff Shell, Fox executive Peter Rice and film chief Stacey Snider, The Hollywood Reporter revealed

Rupert Murdoch wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rupert Murdoch DWAYNE JOHNSON wearing a suit and tie: The Rock © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Rock

 The Rock (right) was also in attendance at the event at Murdoch's home - at which they drank wine from his vineyard and MBS answered questions

Murdoch then apparently initiated a brief question and answer session with MBS, and the media mogul himself apparently asked some questions about the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Once the dinner was over several members of bin Salman's entourage are said to have taken pictures with some of the more notable actors at the event.    

MBS also visited the Bay Area where he was scheduled to meet tech heavyweights, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, top executives at Google, and venture capitalists.

There is widespread hope that the crown prince will open up his country to more Western investment as it seeks to liberalize its laws and develop its economy.

In December, Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on movie theaters.

This June, a Saudi law allowing women to drive is expected to take effect.

MBS has been on a public relations tour in the US as part of an effort to present a more modern face to the repressive Middle Eastern kingdom.

In an interview with The Atlantic, he explicitly endorsed Israel's right to exist, the first time a Saudi leader did so on the record.

The comment was so rare that the crown prince's father, King Salman, felt compelled to issue a statement reiterating the kingdom's support for a Palestinian state.

a tall building: And on this final leg of the trip, which was his first since taking over as the de facto leader of the kingdom, the crown prince really went all out - booking the entire 285 rooms of the Four Season in Beverly Hills © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited And on this final leg of the trip, which was his first since taking over as the de facto leader of the kingdom, the crown prince really went all out - booking the entire 285 rooms of the Four Season in Beverly Hills

And on this final leg of the trip, which was his first since taking over as the de facto leader of the kingdom, the crown prince really went all out - booking the entire 285 rooms of the Four Season in Beverly Hills 

The king also emphasized the need to advance the peace process in a phone call with Trump after Israeli security forces killed 16 Palestinians last week during a demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border

King Salman reaffirmed 'the kingdom's steadfast position toward the Palestinian issue and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,' state news agency SPA said on Tuesday.

The report did not refer to the comments by MBS, which are the latest public sign that ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel may be growing closer.

Asked if he believes the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, Prince Mohammed was quoted as saying: 'I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.

'But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.'

Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines, does not recognize Israel. It has maintained for years that normalizing relations hinges on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war, territory Palestinians seek for a future state.

Increased tension between Riyadh and Tehran has fueled speculation that shared interests may push Saudi Arabia and Israel to work together against what they see as a common Iranian threat. 

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