King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, has appointed one of his sons as the new governor of Mecca, a prestigious and influential position that includes oversight of Islam's holiest shrine, state media reported.

Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday that Prince Mishaal will take over the job from 73-year-old Prince Khalid, who held the position for the past six years.

The 43-year-old Prince Mishaal, who is the king's sixth son, will govern the province of Mecca which is home to the Kaaba, the black cube-shaped structure toward which Muslims pray, as well as the large Red Sea city of Jiddah.

Khalid was named the new Education Minister. The outgoing minister, Prince Faisal who is also the king's son-in-law, requested he be relieved of the post, the report said.

Another of the king's sons, Prince Mutaib, is head of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, while his son Prince Abdulaziz is the deputy foreign minister and another son, Prince Turki, is deputy governor of the capital Riyadh.

Before Sunday's appointment, the king's son Mishaal was governor of Najran, a southwestern mountainous region of Saudi Arabia that borders Yemen and has a significant population of Ismaili Shiites, an offshoot of the kingdom's Shia minority.

Source: AP