Originally Posted by Marengo
First cousin marriages were not uncommon in the Western world until a century ago or so either. Not only among royalty and nobility but also among the bourgeoisie.
Since no children came from the marriage, we will never know in what offspring it may have resulted. In general a marriage to a cousin once is not a problem, but several generations of inbreeding is.
Actually, legislation forbidding marriages as close as first cousins has been on the books in many countries since the 1850s, which did not entirely negate the custom in many Western countries.
Having lived in Kuwait and Oman now for some time now, there are many instances here where the marriage of first cousin to first cousin has and does result in hydrocephalus and other similarly distressing diseases in the offspring. Most Gulf countries have a higher rate of birth defects than others, not necessarily because of generations of inbreeding.
As for the ruler of Oman, a six month marriage is unlikely to have resulted in offspring and the divorce was supposedly welcomed by both parties. This, and the fact that the Sultan never remarried, even though under Islam that would have been no problem (just as he is entitled to have up to four wives simultaneously), and if there had been the will, there would have been offspring.
While this is circumstantial and speculative at best (as is the entire thread), there is sufficient anecdotal press around the world to allow people to conclude that he may in fact be gay.