But it wasn’t until around WWI that they (the Wahhabis) had any success in that. Before then, they were a suppressed minority. With the fall of the Ottomans, and the power vacuum it created, they were able to seize control of much of peninsula for the first time, and proselytize to the people eager for some sort of regional Arab authority.
Wahhabism is inherently takfirist; it accuses other Sunni Muslims of being impure or apostates, then treats them as if they were never Muslim to begin with, conquering and enslaving them the same way they would people of other faiths.
This made for rather poor optics when they started out in the 18th century; which they had to learn to draw back some when they came into power in the 20th.
But the core idea remained, and it’s why Wahhabism serves as fertile ground, wherever its preached, for more Takfirist uprisings, where you have Sunni Muslims attacking other Sunni Muslims on religious grounds. The most infamous until ISIS arrived was The Grand Mosque seizure; with militants citing the House of Saud itself as heretical and demanding their downfall.
Wahhabist clerics have always had tension with the Sauds, and to relieve that tension, the Sauds bank roll the construction of Mosques and schools purporting their ideas. It’s all apart of their social contract, no member of the Royal family is unimplicated from it.
I don’t see evidence of him doing so anymore than the royal family in general. He has a soft spot for the Palestinians, but otherwise, none of his actions show that he subscribes to a conservative viewpoint on Islam.
Like his Father (who was disowned as an heir to the throne), he’s critical of the Kingdom’s autocratic methods, and has expressed desires for a constitutional reform and a more democratic society.
Here he is with his current wife, who you can see, is not veiled, and is herself an advocate for the very liberal positions on women I spoke of.
He also says things like this:
“What we have seen from our eyes, these horrendous act of just massacring and killing men and enslaving ladies, and imprisoning young people – that’s a big lesson for us, that these people are just criminals. These have nothing to do with Islam.”
“We don’t have a problem with Islam. But you have a problem with Islamism, which is political Islam. And we need to neutralize that.”
Die-in-the-wool islamists, don’t tend to talk like this. They just deflect, and deny that there’s any problems at all.