Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, the father of Alwaleed bin Talal and first progressive reformer in the House of Saud, has gone on a hunger strike in protest at the purge being carried out by his nephew Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the detention of three of his own sons.

The 86-year-old prince, who is the half brother of King Salman, stopped eating on 10 November, shortly after his first son, Alwaleed, was arrested on 4 November, and has lost 10 kilos in one month.

Last week, a feeding tube was inserted into him, but his condition at the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh remains weak, according to several people who have visited him.

‘We know him too well and why he is doing this. There is no medical reason why he has ‘no appetite”