Childhood & Early Years
King Mohammed VI was born on 21 August 1963 in Rabat, Morocco. Their family claims to descend from Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad and hence is known as Alaouite. The claim also makes them descendent of the Prophet through his daughter and Ali’s wife Fāṭimah az-Zahrah.
His father, King Hassan II of Morocco, was known as one of the severe most rulers of the country. For around forty years, he reigned over the country with iron hand, brutally suppressing dissidents, placing more importance on stability than on human rights.
His mother, Lalla Latifa Amahzoune, was his father’s second wife. After her husband’s death, she married the chief of his personal security, Mohamed Mediouri and settled in France. In Morocco, she is referred as ‘the mother of the royal children’ and it is forbidden to publish her photographs without permission.
Mohammed was born eldest of his parents’ two sons and second of their five children. Among his siblings, Princess Lalla Meryem is elder to him by one year. Among his younger siblings are two sisters named Princess Lalla Asma and Princess Lalla Hasna and a brother named Prince Moulay Rachid.
As the eldest son of a reigning king, Mohammed was appointed the Heir Apparent and declared the Crown Prince at birth. Very soon, he began to be groomed for the position, attending the Qur'anic school at the Royal Palace from the age of four.
Concurrently with studying at the Qur'anic school, he also began receiving political training. In February 1967, he accompanied his father on an official tour to the United States.
For his primary and secondary education, he was enrolled at Collège Royal. Located inside the royal palace, the school opens a class for each senior member of the royal family, accommodating other children in it. He was educated in both Arabic and French, literature.
He completed his primary education in 1973, receiving his certificate on 28 June. In the same year, he moved to the secondary school and with that the Class of 1973 was officially opened at the Collège Royal. Until the creation of the female-only class, Princess Meryem also studied with them.
Along with his studies, he continued to be exposed to the state duties. In 1974, he represented his father at the religious prayer held in the memory of President Georges Pompidou at the Notre Dame de Paris. In 1980, he was sent on official visits to many African countries.
In 1981, he successfully completed his secondary education and enrolled at the Mohammed V University at Agdal to study law. Concurrently, he continued with his state duties, being appointed Chairman of the Organizing Committee of IX Mediterranean Games held in 1982 in Casablanca.
On 10 March 1983, he led the Moroccan delegation to the 7th Summit of non-aligned countries in New Delhi. On 21 September, he attended the Committee for implementation of the A.O.U concerning the Sahara in Addis-Abeba and on 3 October the 10th Franco-African conference in Vittel.
In 1985, he received his bachelor’s degree with a thesis, entitled ‘The Arabo-African Union and the Kingdom’s strategy in the international relations’. In the same year, he was appointed President of the Pan Arab Games, held in Morocco from 24 August till 8 September.
On 26 November 1985, he was commissioned Colonel Major and was appointed asCoordinator of Offices and Services of General Military Staff of the Royal Armed Forces. He serve in this capacity until 1994.
In 1987, Crown Prince Mohammed obtained his first Certificat d'Études Supérieures (CES) in political sciences, and in July 1988 he obtained a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) in public law. Later in November, he moved to Brussels to be trained in law with Jacques Delors, then-President of the European Commission.
On 29 October 1993, he obtained his PhD in law from the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France, for his thesis on ‘Cooperation between the European Economic Community and the Arab Maghreb Union’. Thereafter, he began to concentrate more on his state duties, taking up more and more responsibilities.
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After Completing Education
In 12 April 1994, he presided over the opening session of the Ministerial Meeting of GATT, held in Marrakech, Morocco. Later on 4 May 1994, he attended the meeting of the advisory group, formed on the occasion of the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the UN.
In April 1996, he presided over the closing session of a seminar on ‘Relations between Morocco and Europe’. On 10 December 1996, he inaugurated the Macro-American council office of commerce in New York.
Along with performing his royal duties, the Crown Prince also began taking interest in business, eventually becoming a leading businessman and banker. Later, he would also become a leading agricultural producer and land owner in Morocco.
King of Morocco
On 23 July 1999, with the death of King Hassan II, the Crown Prince took the throne as His Majesty King Mohammed Ben Al Hassan Ben Mohammed, Amir Al Mouminine. The BEIA (allegiance) ceremony was held in the Throne Room.
His enthronement ceremony was held on 30 July 1999. Thereafter, King Mohammed VI of Morocco addressed the nation via television, promising to eradicate poverty and improve the human right records. Eventually the date became known as ‘The Feast of the Throne’.
Soon after assuming the power, he started taking several steps, announcing the formation of a commission to reform the Mudawana or the family code on March 5, 2001. Sometime now, he also mandated that 10% of the seats be preserved for women at the parliament’s lower house.
Concurrently with undertaking his royal duties, he also continued taking interest in business, establishing a new holding company called ‘SIGER’ in 2002. It is entirely owned by him, but is managed by Mounir Majidi, his personal secretary since 2000.
On October 10, 2003, he presented the Parliament with a plan to replace the old Mudawana, emphasizing that the new laws addressed issues associated with the family as a whole. Its intention was not only to free women from injustice, but also to protect children and safeguard men’s dignity.
The new family code was deliberated extensively in parliament, which eventually made more than one hundred amendments. It was finally ratified in January 2004. Although it was hailed by the international community, many Islamic groups at home criticized it as externally imposed principles.
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In 7 January 2004, the King took an unprecedented move, establishing Instance Equité et Réconciliation - IER (The Equity and Reconciliation Commission). Its aim was to look into the human rights violation that took place between 1956 and 1999 and provide compensation to the victims.
IER completed its investigation by December 2005, solving 4677 cases and providing reparations for 3,657 victims. Parts of the report were published in January 2006. The King expressed regret for the human rights abuses taking place during his father's reign and spoke of the need to learn from the past.
As the King of Morocco, he also continued with the tradition of royal pardon, pardoning large number of convicted prisoners on national holidays. In 2005, he pardoned 10,000 convicts. In 2009, the number increased to 24,865.
Towards Democratic Morocco
By 2011, pro-democracy movement began to grow in Morocco. On 20 February 2011, thousands of protesters rallied in Rabat, demanding that the King give up some of his powers, chanting slogans like "Down with autocracy" and "The people want to change the constitution”. Similar protests were organized in other cities.
Realizing the situation, King Mohammed decided to take some positive action. In a speech delivered on 9 March 2011, he assured the nation that the parliament would receive "new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission" and that the judiciary would be granted greater independence.
To produce a draft constitution, he impaneled a committee of legal scholars, who was asked to submit the draft by June 2011. In spite of that, the protests continued till 2012 spring with many leaders refusing to participate in the commission’s work.
On 17 June 2011, the King announced a series of constitutional reforms, on which a referendum was held on 1 July. Although the protest leaders gave a call for boycott, there was a record turnout of 70% and eventually the new constitution was passed with 95% approval.
According to the new constitution, the King is no longer deemed "sacred or holy". However, the "integrity of his person" remains "inviolable". Moreover, he is now obliged to appoint the prime minister from the party, which has won majority seats in the parliament.
Earlier it was the prerogative of the King to appoint high diplomatic as well as administrative posts. From now on, the power was given to the Prime Minister and his council of ministers.
The new constitution retained some of the King’s rights. It gives the King complete control over the armed forces and the judiciary as well as in matters relating to religion and foreign policy. He also has the authority to appoint and dismiss prime ministers and preside over the ministerial council.
On 30 July 2011, the King made a televised speech, in which he said that the constitutional changes must be implemented swiftly. Accordingly, the new constitution entered into effect on 1 August 2011. The parliamentary election was also brought forward from 2012 to be held on 25 November 2011.
Continuing with the tradition of pardoning convicts, the King pardoned 48 jailed Spaniards in 2013. One of them was a pedophile who had been serving a 30-year sentence for raping 11 children aged between 4 and 15. As protests broke out, he cancelled the pardon.
Awards & Achievements
Mohammed VI had received many international awards. Among them are Collar of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of France, Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order of Great Britain and Northern Ireland etc.
On 22 June 2000, Mohammed VI received an honorary doctorate from George Washington University. In addition, he has also received other prizes such as Trophy of the International Association against Violence in Sport, Medal of high merit of South-American football Confederation., U.S. Foundation Award "Helen Keller" etc.