The council, which was established in 2006, will be made up of 16 of King Abdullah’s sons and 19 of his grandsons.

It will be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition of power after the Crown Prince Sultan, heir to King Abdullah, has ascended to the throne.

King Abdullah said, “We should be keen to rise above rifts by engaging in transparent discussions and negotiations.”

As advice to the council and future successors to the throne he said, “Remember that there is no esteem without religion, no honour without the country’s service, and no fortitude without patience and hard work.”

In October, the king issued rules regulating the conduct of the council, which also gave it the power to reject the king’s nomination of crown prince.