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royal intrigue

Officials say the Saudi crown prince is keeping his mother hidden from his father, King Salman

More than a dozen current and former U.S. officials say that Saudi Arabia's crown prince has purposely kept his mother away from his father, King Salman, for at least two years, NBC News reports.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, became the crown prince of Saudi Arabia last June, after his cousin was removed from the position. Using intelligence, the officials have pieced together that he's prevented his mother, Princess Fahda bint Falah Hathleen, from seeing the king by putting her under house arrest at one point, and making up excuses to his father as to why he hasn't been able to see her, including telling him she's receiving medical treatment overseas.

Officials speculate that the crown prince wants to keep them apart over fears that the princess will tell her husband about his power grab, and a person close to the royal family tells NBC News there's been friction between mother and son for several years. The princess is the king's third wife, and he has reportedly told people he misses her and wants to see her. In November, the crown prince oversaw the arrests of more than 200 Saudi officials and businessmen, including many princes, describing it as a crackdown on corruption. The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., denied to NBC News that the princess was ever under house arrest or is separated from the king.