Mohammed VI of Morocco

Mohammed VI of Morocco

Mohammed VI
محمد السادس
ⵎⵓⵃⵎⵎⴷ ⵡⵉⵙ ⵚⴹⵉⵚ
Amir al-Mu’minin
mohammed vi standing behind a lectern

Speaking in 2016
King of Morocco
Reign 23 July 1999 – present
Predecessor Hassan II
Heir apparent Moulay Hassan
Prime Ministers
Born (1963-08-21) 21 August 1963 
Rabat, Morocco
Spouse Salma Bennani (m. 2001)
Moulay Hassan, Crown Prince of Morocco
Princess Lalla Khadija
Full name Sidi Mohammed
Arabic محمد السادس
Berber ⵎⵓⵃⵎⵎⴷ ⵡⵉⵙ ⵚⴹⵉⵚ
House House of Alaouite
Father Hassan II
Mother Lalla Latifa Hammou
Religion Sunni Islam

Mohammed VI (Arabic: محمد السادس‎‎, Berber: ⵎⵓⵃⵎⵎⴷ ⵡⵉⵙ ⵚⴹⵉⵚ; ) is the King of Morocco. He ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.

Early life and education

Mohammed was the second child and oldest son of Hassan II and his second wife, Lalla Latifa Hammou. On the day of his birth, Mohammed was appointed Heir Apparent and Crown Prince. His father was keen on giving him a religious and political education from an early age— at the age of four, he started attending the Qur’anic school at the Royal Palace. 

President of the Pan Arab Games

Mohammed completed his primary and secondary studies at Royal College and attained his Baccalaureate in 1981, before gaining a bachelor’s degree in law at the Mohammed V University at Agdal in 1985. His research paper dealt with “the Arab-African Union and the Strategy of the Kingdom of Morocco in matters of International Relations”. Mohammed VI has also frequented the Imperial College and University of Rabat. He was furthermore appointed President of the Pan Arab Games, and was commissioned a Colonel Major of the Royal Moroccan Army on 26 November 1985. He served as the Coordinator of the Offices and Services of the Royal Armed Forces until 1994.

In 1987, 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. In November 1988, he trained in Brussels with Jacques Delors, then-President of the European Commission. 

Major General

Mohammed obtained his PhD in law with distinction on 29 October 1993 from the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis for his thesis on “EEC-Maghreb Relations”. On 12 July 1994, he was promoted to the military rank of Major General, and that same year he became President of the High Council of Culture and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Moroccan Army.

He speaks Arabic, English, Spanish and French.

The New York Times reported that prior to ascending to the throne, Mohammed “gained a reputation as a playboy during the years he spent waiting in the wings, showing a fondness for fast cars and nightclubs.” 

King of Morocco


Mohammed VI (right) talking to US President George W. Bush in Washington on 23 April 2002.
Mohammed VI (right) talking to US President George W. Bush in Washington on 23 April 2002.
Mohammed VI in 2004.
Mohammed VI in 2004.

On 23 July 1999, Mohammed succeeded his father as king, being enthroned in Rabat on 30 July.

Social reforms and liberalization

Shortly after he took the throne, Mohammed VI addressed his nation via television, promising to take on poverty and corruption, while creating jobs and improving Morocco’s human rights record. Mohammed’s reformist rhetoric was opposed by Islamist conservatives, and some of his reforms angered fundamentalists. In February 2004, he enacted a new family code, or Mudawana, which granted women more power.

Mohammed also created the so-called Instance Equité et Réconciliation (IER), which was tasked with researching human rights violations under Hassan II. This move was welcomed by many as promoting democracy, but was also criticized because reports of human rights violations could not name the perpetrators. According to human rights organisations, widespread abuses still exist in Morocco. The 2011 Moroccan protests were motivated by corruption and general political discontentment, as well as by the hardships of the global economic crisis.

Mohammed VI (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016.
Mohammed VI (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016.

A set of political reforms

In a speech delivered on 9 March 2011, the King said that parliament would receive “new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission”. In addition, the powers of the judiciary were granted greater independence from the King, who announced that he was impaneling a committee of legal scholars to produce a draft constitution by June 2011. On 1 July, voters approved a set of political reforms proposed by Mohammed.

The reforms consisted of the following:

  • The Berber language is an official state language along with Arabic.
  • The state preserves and protects the Hassānīya language and all the linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation
  • The King now has the obligation to appoint the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections, but it can be any member of the winning party and not necessarily the party’s leader. Previously, the king could nominate anybody he wanted for this position regardless of the election results. That was usually the case when no party had a big advantage over the other parties, in terms of the number of seats in the parliament.
  • The King is no longer “sacred or holy” but the “integrity of his person” is “inviolable”
    Mohammed VI (left) with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2004.
    Mohammed VI (left) with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2004.
  • High administrative and diplomatic posts (including ambassadors, CEOs of state-owned companies, provincial and regional governors), are now appointed by the prime minister and the ministerial council which is presided by the king; previously the latter exclusively held this power.
  • The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.
  • The prime minister will preside over the Council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.
  • The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king
  • The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees this independence
  • Women are guaranteed “civic and social” equality with men. Previously, only “political equality” was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights before the law
  • The King retains complete control over the armed forces and the judiciary as well as matters pertaining to religion and foreign policy; the king also retains the authority to appoint and dismiss prime ministers
  • All citizens have the freedom of thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation. Previously only free speech and the freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed. However, criticizing or directly opposing the king is still punishable with prison.

In January 2017 Morocco banned the manufacturing, marketing and sale of the burqa.

Business and wealth

Graphic detailing ownership of the palace-controlled holding the Société National d’investissement as of June 2013.

Société Nationale d’Investissement

Mohammed VI is Morocco’s leading businessman and banker. In 2015, he was estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth US$5.7 billion, and the Moroccan Royal Family has one of the largest fortunes in the world. Along with his family, they hold the majority stakes in the Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), which was originally state-owned but was merged in 2013 with Omnium Nord Africain (ONA Group), to form a single holding company that was taken off the Casablanca Stock Exchange—resulting in the scrapping of an equivalent of 50 billion Dirhams Marketcap (~US$6 billion).

SNI has a diverse portfolio consisting of many important businesses in Morocco and operating in various sectors such as; Attijariwafa Bank (banking), Managem (mining), Onapar, SOMED (Tourism/real-estate and exclusive distributor of Maserati), Wafa Assurance (insurance), Marjane (hypermarket chain), Wana-Inwi (telecommunications), SONASID (Siderurgy), Lafarge Maroc (cement manufacturer), Sopriam (exclusive distributor of Peugeot-Citroën in Morocco), Renault Maroc (exclusive distributor of Renault in Morocco) and Nareva (energy). SNI also owns many food-processing companies and is currently in the process of disengaging from this sector. Between mid-2012 and 2013 SNI sold; Lessieur, Centrale Laitière, Bimo and Cosumar to foreign groups for a total amount of ~$1.37 billion (11.4 billion Dirhams including 9.7 billion in 2013 and 1.7 in 2012).

SNI and ONA both owned stakes in Brasseries du Maroc, the largest alcoholic beverages manufacturer and distributor of brands such as Heineken in the country.

Large agricultural group Les domaines

Mohammed VI is also a leading agricultural producer and land owner in Morocco, where agriculture is exempted from taxes. His holding company “Siger” has shares in the large agricultural group “Les domaines agricoles” (originally called “Les domaines royaux”, now commonly known as “Les domaines“), which was founded by Hassan II.

In 2008 Telquel estimated that “Les domaines” had a revenue of $157 million (1.5 billion Dirhams), with 170,000 tons of citrus exported in that year. According to the same magazine, the company officially owns 12,000 hectares of agricultural lands. “Chergui”, a manufacturer of dairy products, is the most recognizable brand of the group. Between 1994 and 2004, the group has been managed by Mohammed VI’s brother-in-law Khalid Benharbit, the husband of Princess Lalla Hasna. “Les domaines” also owns the “Royal Golf de Marrakech”, which originally belonged to Thami El Glaoui.

His palace’s daily operating budget is reported by Forbes to be $960,000—which is paid by the Moroccan state as part of a 2.576 billion Dirhams/year budget as of 2014—owing much of it to the expense of personnel, clothes, and car repairs.


Mohammed VI has one brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and three sisters: Princess Lalla Meryem, Princess Lalla Asma, and Princess Lalla Hasna. The New York Times noted “conflicting reports about whether the new monarch had been married on Friday night, within hours of his father’s death [in 1999]… to heed a Moroccan tradition that a King be married before he ascends the throne.” A palace official subsequently denied that the marriage had taken place.

On 21 March 2002, Mohammed married Salma Bennani (now H.R.H. Princess Lalla Salma) in Rabat. Bennani was granted the personal title of Princess with the title of Her Royal Highness on her marriage. They have two children – Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, who was born on 8 May 2003, and Princess Lalla Khadija, who was born on 28 February 2007.

Mohammed’s birthday on 21 August is a public holiday, although festivities were cancelled upon the death of his aunt in 2014.

Children and their date of birth

  • His Royal Highness Crown Prince Moulay Hassan (born on (2003-05-08)8 May 2003) (age 14 years, 4 months and 4 days)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Khadija (born on (2007-02-28)28 February 2007) (age 10 years, 6 months and 15 days)

Titles, styles and honours

Royal styles of
King Mohammed VI of Morocco
Coat of arms of Morocco.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty

Titles and styles

The official style of the King is “His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, may God grant him victory” (صاحب الجلالة الملك محمد السادس أمير المؤمنين نصره الله Ṣāḥib al-Jalālah al-Malik Muḥammad al-Sādis, ‘Amīr al-Mu’minīn, Naṣṣarahu-Illāh). When he is executing his duty as head of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, he is generally referred to as the “Commander-in-Chief.”

Honours and decorations

National orders:

  • Grand Master of the Order of Muhammad, (23 July 1999)
  • Ordre de l'Ouissam Alaouite GC ribbon (Maroc).svg Grand Master of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, (23 July 1999)
  • Order of Fidelity (Kingdom of Morocco).gif Grand Master of the Order of Fidelity, (23 July 1999)
  • MAR Order of the Throne - Special Class BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of the Throne, (23 July 1999)
  • Order of the Independence Combat (1963).gif Grand Master of the Order of the Independence Combat, (23 July 1999)
  • MAR Order of the Military - Special Class BAR.png Grand Master of the Order of Military Merit, (23 July 1999)

Mohammed VI has received numerous honours and decorations from various countries, some of which are listed below.

Foreign orders:

  • GAB Order of the Equatorial Star - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of the Equatorial Star of Gabon (7 July 1977)
  • Order of Civil Merit (Spain) - Sash of Grand Collar.svg Collar of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain (2 June 1979)
  • Royal Victorian Order Honorary Ribbon.png Honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (27 October 1980)
  • ESP Charles III Order GC.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III of Spain (23 June 1986)
  • Order of the Republic (Tunisia) - ribbon bar.gif Grand Cordon of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia (August 1987)
  • Cordone di gran Croce OMRI BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic of Italy (18 March 1997)
  • Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of France (19 March 2000)
  • JOR Al-Hussein ibn Ali Order BAR.svg Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali of Jordan (1 March 2000)
  • Cordone di gran Croce di Gran Cordone OMRI BAR.svg Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic of Italy (11 April 2000)
  • Order of National Merit (Mauritania) - ribbon bar.gif Grand Cordon of the Order of National Merit of Mauritania (26 April 2000
  • Order of 7th November 1987.gif Grand Collar of the Order of the Seventh of November of Tunisia (31 May 2014, previously Grand Cross on 24 May 2000)
  • MLI National Order - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cordon of the National Order of Mali of Mali with Collar (14 June 2000)
  • Order of Isabella the Catholic - Sash of Collar.svg Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic of Spain (16 September 2000)
  • Order Of Ummayad (Syria) - ribbon bar.gif Wissam of the Order of Oumayid of Syria (9 April 2001)
  • Lebanese Order of Merit Extraordinary Grade.gif Wissam of the Order of Merit of Lebanon Special Class (13 June 2001)
  • First Class Medal of the Order of Abu Bakar Siddiq of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (29 June 2001)
  • Wisam al-Khalifa 1st class.gif Grand Collar of the Order of al-Khalifa of Bahrain (28 July 2001)
  • Order of Mubarak the Great (Kuwait) - ribbon bar.gif Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great of Kuwait (22 October 2002)
  • Order of Independence (Qatar) - ribbon bar.gif Cordon of the Order of the Independence of Qatar (25 October 2002)
  • EGY Order of the Nile - Grand Cordon BAR.png Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile of Egypt (28 October 2002)
  • Ord.Nishan-i-Pakistan.ribbon.gif Grand Cross of the Order of Pakistan First Class (Nishan-e-Pakistan) of Pakistan (19 July 2003)
  • Order of Valour.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Valour of Cameroon (17 June 2004)
  • GAB Order of the Equatorial Star - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross of the Order of the Equatorial Star of Gabon (21 June 2004)
  • National Order - Grand Cross (Niger) - ribbon bar.png Grand Cross of the National Order of the Niger of the Niger (24 June 2004)
  • Grand Crest Ordre de Leopold.png Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold of Belgium (5 October 2004)
  • BRA Order of the Southern Cross - Grand Cross BAR.png Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross of Brazil (26 November 2004)
  • Medalla de Honor del Congreso (Peru) - ribbon bar.png Medal of Honour of the Congress of Peru (1 December 2004)
  • CHL Order of Bernardo O'Higgins - Grand Cross BAR.png Collar of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins of Chile (3 December 2004)
  • ARG Order of the Liberator San Martin - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin of Argentina (7 December 2004)
  • Order of Charles III - Sash of Collar.svg Collar of the Order of Charles III of Spain (14 January 2005)
  • MEX Order of the Aztec Eagle 1Class BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle of Mexico (11 February 2005)
  • Burkina Faso Ordre du merite burkinabe GC ribbon.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Burkinabé of Burkina Faso (1 March 2005)
  • JPN Daikun'i kikkasho BAR.svg Supreme Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan (28 November 2005)
  • Ord.Gambia-ribbon.gif Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of the Gambia (20 February 2006)
  • Ord.Merit.Congo.png Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Congo of the Republic of Congo (22 February 2006
  • Order of National Hero (Congo).gif Grand Cross of the Order of the National Hero of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of Congo-Kinshasa (28 February 2006)
  • LVA Order of the Three Stars - Grand Cross BAR.png Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars of Latvia (14 May 2007)
  • Spange des König-Abdulaziz-Ordens.png Collar of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (18 May 2007)
  • National Order of Equatorial Guinea - ribbon bar.gif Grand Collar of the Order of Independence of Equatorial Guinea (17 April 2009)
  • Ordre de la Pléiade (Francophonie).gif Grand Cross of the Order of La Pléiade (24 May 2017)

On 22 June 2000, Mohammed VI received an honorary doctorate from George Washington University.

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