Everyone was suitably impressed when Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, fourth in line to the Saudi throne, first moved into the upper floors of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. There was the dinner with Harvard President Derek Bok, the visit from Jesse Jackson, and a press conference at which Turki presented his Gulf solution ("...force").
But as the visit of the prince and his 60-plus entourage goes into its fifth month, the Saudis are increasingly seen as royal pains in the neck. Cambridge Mayor Alice Wolf has fielded residents' complaints about the traffic jams caused by the prince's white stretch limousines. Photographers from a student newspaper were menaced by his escorts. Harvard ordered its campus police to stop moonlighting as royal bodyguards because university security was being compromised.
Tempers flared recently when Turki's security staff parked one of the royal limos on a newly seeded North Cambridge playground for a picnic and ejected the kids playing there. A few days earlier, the prince had spoken about his concern for children as he endowed a chair at Harvard Medical.