Category Archives: Jordanian Royals

Queen Zein of Jordan

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

The wife of King Talal and the mother of King Hussein I, Zein al-Sharaf Bint Jamal was born on August 2, 1916, in Alexandria, Egypt. She was the eldest of the two children of Sharif Jamal bin Nasser, Governor of Hauran and Wijdan Hanim. Her father was the nephew of Sharif Hussein bin Ali of Mecca  (the father of King Abdullah I of Jordan) and her mother was the daughter of Shakir Pasha, Governor of Cyprus. Zein had one brother and one sister:

  • Sharif Nasser bin Jamal (1927 – 1979), Commander-in-Chief of the Jordanian Armed Forces
  • Sharifa Nafea bint Jamal

On November 27, 1934, Zein married her first cousin Prince Talal bin Abdullah, the eldest son of the future King Abdullah I of Jordan. The couple had six children:

Zein’s four surviving children: Hassan, Hussein, Basma, and Muhammad; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

On July 20, 1951, Talal’s father, King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated as he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, probably because of his moderate attitude towards Israel. The assassin was Mustapha Shukri Usho, a 21-year-old tailor from Jerusalem who belonged to a group that wanted to prevent a permanent division of Palestine by Jordan and Israel. King Abdullah had been accompanied by Zein’s 15-year-old eldest son, the future King Hussein I of Jordan.  Hussein was at his grandfather’s side and was hit too, but a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life.

At the time of his father’s death, Talal was in a sanatorium in Switzerland being treated for a nervous breakdown. At first, it was unsure whether Talal would succeed his father due to his mental condition, but on September 5, 1951, he was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Zein became Queen Zein al-Sharaf Talal. On June 4, 1952, the Jordanian Cabinet announced that it was necessary to form a Regency Council because Talal’s condition had worsened despite the treatment he was receiving in Switzerland. The Jordanian Parliament declared Talal mentally unfit on August 11, 1952, and proclaimed his eldest son Hussein as king.

 

Queen Zein played a major role in the formation of the Jordanian state. In 1944, Zein founded the first women’s association in Jordan. She established the women’s branch of the Jordanian Red Crescent (affiliated with the Red Cross) in 1948 and organized assistance to Palestinian refugees during the Arab-Israeli war in 1949. She participated in the writing of the Jordan Constitution in 1952, which guaranteed women’s rights. After the assassination of King Abdullah I in 1951, Zein held the power while the newly proclaimed King Talal was treated outside the country. She again took the reins of power in August 1952, when her son Hussein was proclaimed king, until May 1953, when he turned eighteen and assumed full constitutional duties. During the reign of her son, King Hussein I, Zein was an influential figure behind the scenes.

Queen Zein died on April 26, 1994, at the age of 86 in a hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland where she was being treated for a heart ailment. She was buried the next day at the Royal Cemetery, near Raghadan Palace within the Royal Compound (Al-Maquar).

Princess Basma, Queen Zein’s daughter, visits her mother’s tomb on the anniversary of her death; Photo Credit – http://www.jordantimes.com

Wikipedia: Zein al-Sharaf Talal

Works Cited:

  • Ar.wikipedia.org. (2017). زين الشرف بنت جميل. [online] Available at: https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B2%D9%8A%D9%86_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%81_%D8%A8%D9%86%D8%AA_%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%84 [Accessed 26 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Zein Al-Sharaf Talal. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zein_Al-Sharaf_Talal [Accessed 26 Jul. 2017].
  • PACE, E. (2017). Mother of King Of Jordan Is Dead at 86. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/27/obituaries/mother-of-king-of-jordan-is-dead-at-86.html [Accessed 26 Jul. 2017].
  • Ru.wikipedia.org. (2017). Зейн аш-Шараф Талал. [online] Available at: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%97%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%BD_%D0%B0%D1%88-%D0%A8%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%84_%D0%A2%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%BB [Accessed 26 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). King Talal of Jordan. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/king-talal-of-jordan/ [Accessed 26 Jul. 2017].

King Talal of Jordan

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

King Talal of Jordan was born on February 26, 1909, in Mecca in the Hejaz, then part of the Ottoman Empire, now part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the only son and the second of the three children of the first King of Jordan, Abdullah I and his first and senior wife Musbah bint Nasser, the first Queen Consort of Jordan.

Talal had two full sisters:

  • Princess Haya (1907 – 1990), married Prince Abdul-Karim Ja’afar Zeid Dhaoui
  • Princess Munira (1915 – 1987), unmarried

Talal had two half-siblings from his father’s second wife Suzdil Khanum:

  • Prince Nayef (1914 – 1983), Princess Mihrimah Selcuk Sultana, had two sons
  • Princess Maqbula (1921 – 2001), married Prince Hussein bin Nasser, Prime Minister of Jordan, had one son and one daughter

Talal’s father had a third wife, Nahda bint Uma, but they had no children.

Talal was educated privately in Amman, Jordan. In 1927, he joined the Arab Legion, the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century. From 1928-1929, he studied at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Talal served as an aide to his grandfather Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashim during his exile in Cyprus and then in Amman, Jordan. In 1933, Talal was promoted to the rank of Major in the Arab Legion, followed by promotions to Major-General (1941) and General (1948).

In 1934, Talal married his first cousin Zein Al Sharaf Bint Jamal. The couple had six children:

Talal’s four surviving children: Hassan, Hussein, Basma, and Muhammad; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

On July 20, 1951, Talal’s father, 69-year-old King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated as he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, probably because of his moderate attitude towards Israel. The assassin was Mustapha Shukri Usho, a 21-year-old tailor from Jerusalem who belonged to a group that wanted to prevent a permanent division of Palestine by Jordan and Israel. King Abdullah had been accompanied by Talal’s 15-year-old eldest son, the future King Hussein I of Jordan.  Hussein was at his grandfather’s side and was hit too, but a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life.

At the time of his father’s death, Talal was in a sanatorium in Switzerland being treated for a nervous breakdown. At first, it was unsure whether Talal would succeed his father due to his mental condition, but on September 5, 1951, he was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. On June 4, 1952, the Jordanian Cabinet announced that it was necessary to form a Regency Council because Talal’s condition had worsened despite the treatment he was receiving in Switzerland. The Jordanian Parliament declared Talal mentally unfit on August 11, 1952 and proclaimed his eldest son Hussein as king.

Talal died on July 7, 1972 in Istanbul, Turkey where he had spent the last years of his life in a sanatorium reportedly being treated for schizophrenia. He was buried in a mausoleum at the Royal Cemetery, near Raghadan Palace within the Royal Compound (Al-Maquar).

Royal Cemetery – Tombs of Kings Talal, Abdullah I, and Hussein I

Wikipedia: King Talal of Jordan

Works Cited

  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Talal of Jordan. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talal_of_Jordan [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
  • King Hussein I of Jordan. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/february-7-1999-death-of-king-hussein-of-jordan/ [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
  • Nytimes.com. (2017). Ex‐King Talal of Jordan Dies; Abdicated in ’52 in Favor of Son. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1972/07/09/archives/exig-tat-t-of-jod-di-i-abdiated-in-52-in-favor-of-soni.html [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Jordanian Royal Burial Sites. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/royal-burial-sites/jordanian-royal-burial-sites/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].

King Abdullah I of Jordan

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

A Brief Background History: Transjordan was once part of the Ottoman Empire and became part of Palestine in 1917. In 1921, Transjordan became an autonomous division of Palestine under the leadership of Sharif Abdullah bin al-Hussein who then became Emir of Transjordan. Abdullah bin al-Hussein was the son of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca,  who was instrumental in starting the Great Arab Revolt against Ottoman Empire. In 1916, Hussein bin Ali proclaimed himself King of Hejaz, a region of present-day Saudi Arabia, and also declared himself King of all Arabs. This last move enraged another Arab leader, Abdul Aziz Al Saud,  who defeated Hussein bin Ali in 1924, caused him to abdicate the throne of Hejaz, and then became the first King of Saudi Arabia. Hussein bin Ali’s three sons all became kings: Ali was briefly was King of Hejaz, Abdullah was King of Jordan, and Faisal was King of Iraq and Syria. Faisal was an important figure in the revolt against the Ottoman Empire and received assistance from British Army Captain T. E. Lawrence,  better known as Lawrence of Arabia. In 1946, Transjordan became a kingdom, Emir Abdullah was proclaimed the king, and the name of the country was changed from the Emirate of Transjordan to the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. In 1948, the Parliament of Transjordan approved the creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is the complete name of the country.

King Abdullah I of Jordan was the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He was born His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin al-Hussein of Mecca and Hejaz in February 1882 in Mecca, Hejaz, Ottoman Empire, the third of the five children and the second of three sons of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya Khanum. Mecca is now in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah in 1886 wearing a military uniform; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Abdullah had four full siblings:

  • Prince Ali, last King of Hejaz (1879 – 1935), married Nafissa Khanum, had one son and four daughters
  • Hasan bin Hussein, died young
  • Princess Fatima, married a Muslim businessman from France
  • Prince Faisal,  King of Iraq and Syria (1885 – 1933), married to Huzaima bint Nasser, had one son and three daughters

Abdullah had one half-sister by his father’s second wife Madiha Khanum:

  • Princess Saleha, married Abdullah bin Muhammed

Abdullah had one half-sister and one half-brother by his father’s third wife Adila Khanum:

Abdullah with his two full-brothers: Seated in the front row from left to right: King Ali of the Hijaz, King Abdullah of Jordan, King Faisal of Iraq; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Abdullah had three wives. His first wife Musbah bint Nasser was the first Queen Consort of Jordan and Abdullah’s senior wife.

In 1904, Abdullah married his first wife Musbah bint Nasser. They had three children:

In 1913, Abdullah married his second wife Suzdil Khanum in 1913. They had two children:

  • Prince Nayef (1914 – 1983), Princess Mihrimah Selcuk Sultana, had two sons
  • Princess Maqbula (1921 – 2001), married Prince Hussein bin Nasser, Prime Minister of Jordan, had one son and one daughter

In 1949, Abdullah married his third wife Nahda bint Uman in 1949. They had no children.

In 1916, Abdullah took part in the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans with his brother Faisal. As a result, Abdullah was proclaimed King of Iraq on March 8, 1920, and on the same day, Faisal was proclaimed King of Syria. However, Abdullah refused the throne of Iraq. After his refusal, Faisal, who had just been defeated in Syria and was in need of a kingdom, accepted the position. In 1921, Abdullah was recognized by the United Kingdom as the Emir of Transjordan under British protectorate. In May 1946, Transjordan was released from the status of a British protectorate and recognized as the independent nation of Jordan and Abdullah became the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949). In 1947, Abdullah was the only Arab ruler to accept the United Nation’s plan for Palestine. However, Jordan took part in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and annexed the territories of the West Bank captured by the Jordanian troops in Palestine.

King Abdullah I of Jordan declaring independence, May 25, 1946; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

On July 20, 1951, 69-year-old King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated as he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, probably because of his moderate attitude towards Israel. The assassin was Mustapha Shukri Usho, a 21-year-old tailor from Jerusalem who belonged to a group that wanted to prevent a permanent division of Palestine by Jordan and Israel. King Abdullah had been accompanied by his 15-year-old grandson, the future King Hussein I of Jordan.  Hussein was at his grandfather’s side and was hit too, but a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life. King Abdullah’s son succeeded him as King Talal and Talal’s son Hussein was named Crown Prince. However, King Talal suffered from mental illness and was forced to abdicate just a year later. The 16-year old Crown Prince became King Hussein I with a regency council established until he reached the age of 18.

King Abdullah I was buried in a mausoleum at the Royal Cemetery, near Raghadan Palace within the Royal Compound (Al-Maquar).

Royal Cemetery – Tombs of Kings Talal, Abdullah I, and Hussein I

Wikipedia: King Abdullah I of Jordan

Works Cited

  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdallah ibn Husain I.. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdallah_ibn_Husain_I. [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdullah I of Jordan. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_I_of_Jordan [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • Nl.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdoellah I van Jordanië. [online] Available at: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdoellah_I_van_Jordani%C3%AB [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • Nytimes.com. (2017). ABDULLAH LABORED TO UNITE NEAR EAST; KING OF JORDAN ON INSPECTION TOUR–ASSASSINATION SITE. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1951/07/21/archives/abdullah-labored-to-unite-near-east-king-of-jordan-on-inspection-to.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • Times., A. (2017). Abdullah, Jordan King, Slain By an Arab in Old Jerusalem; ABDULLAH IS SLAIN IN OLD JERUSALEM. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1951/07/21/archives/abdullah-jordan-king-slain-by-an-arab-in-old-jerusalem-abdullah-is.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Jordanian Royal Burial Sites. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/royal-burial-sites/jordanian-royal-burial-sites/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). King Hussein I of Jordan. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/february-7-1999-death-of-king-hussein-of-jordan/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].

Wedding of King Hussein I of Jordan and Lisa Halaby

by Susan Flantzer

Image by © Genevieve Chauvel/Sygma/Corbis

King Hussein I of Jordan and Lisa Halaby, known as Queen Noor al-Hussein after her marriage, were married on June 15, 1978 at Zahran Palace in Amman, Jordan, home of the Queen Mother Zein, the mother of King Hussein, and the traditional site of Jordanian royal marriages.

King Hussein’s Background

King Hussein in 1950; Photo Credit – By Willem van de Poll – Nationaal Archief, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30224627

Hussein bin Talal was born November 14, 1935 in Amman, Jordan, the eldest son of the future King Talal bin Abdullah and Zein al-Sharaf Talal. At the time, Hussein’s grandfather was the Emir of Transjordan, becoming Abdullah I, the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 (the name was later changed to simply ‘Jordan’). Hussein began his education in Amman, after which he attended Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt. He then attended the Harrow School in England before enrolling in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

On July 21, 1951, Prince Hussein was accompanying his grandfather King Abdullah I to a mosque in Jerusalem when the king was killed by an assassin’s bullet. Hussein was at his side and was hit too, but a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life.

With his father now becoming King, Hussein was named Crown Prince in September 1951. His father King Talal suffered from mental illness and was forced to abdicate just a year later. The 16-year-old Crown Prince became King Hussein I with a regency council established until he reached the age of 18.

King Hussein’s mother Queen Zein played a major role in the early years of her son’s reign, guiding him in both political and personal matters. She arranged his first marriage, when Hussein was just 19 years old, to Sharifa Dina bint ‘Abdu’l-Hamid, a third cousin of his father. The couple separated and were divorced in 1957. They had one daughter: Princess Alia (1956).

The King married a second time in 1961 to the British-born Antoinette Gardiner, who took the title HRH Princess Muna al-Hussein. This marriage, too, ended in divorce in 1971. The couple had four children: King Abdullah II (1962), Prince Feisal (1963) and twins Princess Aisha (1968) and Princess Zein (1968)

In December 1972, the King married Alia Baha ad-Din Toukan, the daughter of a Jordanian diplomat. Upon marriage, she became HM Queen Alia al-Hussein. Tragically, Queen Alia was killed in a helicopter crash in 1977. The couple had two children, as well as an adopted daughter: Princess Haya (1974), Prince Ali (1975), and Abir Muhaisen (1972, adopted in 1976).

Lisa Halaby’s Background

Lisa Najeeb Halaby was born August 23, 1951 in Washington DC in the United States, the eldest child of Najeeb Halaby and Doris Carlquist. Her father, of Syrian descent, held several prominent positions including head of the Federal Aviation Administration and CEO of the airline Pan Am. Coming from an affluent family, Lisa attended private schools: The National Cathedral School in Washington DC, The Chapin School in New York City and Concord Academy in Massachusetts. She went on to attend Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, as a member of the first coeducational class, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning.

The Engagement

In the winter of 1976, Lisa Halaby traveled with her father Najeeb Halaby, then the chairman of the International Advisory Board for Royal Jordanian Airline, for a ceremony celebrating the purchase of Royal Jordanian Airline’s first Boeing 747. There she met King Hussein and his wife Queen Alia. Around the time of Queen Alia’s tragic death in a helicopter crash on February 9, 1977, Lisa agreed to fill in for an ill manager of her father’s aviation company in Jordan, Arab Air Services, which provided aviation design, engineering, and technical support to Middle East countries.

By the middle of 1977, the ill employee had returned to work and Lisa had been accepted to Columbia University’s School of Journalism. However, she received an interesting job offer. Ali Ghandour, the founder and chairman of Royal Jordanian Airline, offered Lisa a job heading up a department within Royal Jordanian Airline to coordinate planning, design, and maintenance of the airline’s facilities in Jordan and throughout the world. It would be a challenging job, but Lisa accepted the challenge, a challenge that would change her life.

In the course of her work, Lisa’s path occasionally passed the path of King Hussein. On April 6, 1977, Lisa’s father insisted that she accompany him to an audience with King Hussein. At the audience, King Hussein asked Lisa if she could come to his home Hashimaya to take a look at some construction problems. A lunch appointment was made for the next day. Little did Lisa know that the next day would be the start of a whirlwind courtship. In her autobiography, Queen Noor wrote: “Hash, 12:30 reads my diary entry for April 7. What it does not say is that I did not get home until 7:30 that evening.”

One week after that first lunch, King Hussein invited Lisa for a weekend at Aqaba, a seaport popular with tourists, with his children and a group of friends. After the weekend, Hussein and Lisa had numerous dinners at his home Hashimaya. They watched videos of films, went on motorcycle rides, and Hussein flew her in his helicopter, but most of all they talked and shared their thoughts and feelings.

On April 28, 1978, King Hussein said that he wanted to see Lisa’s father, and Lisa knew what he meant. The next day, King Hussein went out of the country on official business, but when he returned, he mentioned Lisa’s father in every conversation and finally, with a few chosen words, proposed marriage. For eighteen days, Lisa agonized over the decision, but finally, on May 18, 1978, Lisa agreed to marry King Hussein. Hussein called Lisa’s father at his home in Alpine, New Jersey and said, “I have the honor to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

The Wedding

Zahran Palace; Photo Credit – The Royal Hashemite Court

King Hussein I of Jordan and Lisa Halaby were married on June 15, 1978 at Zahran Palace in Amman, Jordan, home of the Queen Mother Zein, the mother of King Hussein, and the traditional site of royal marriages. King Hussein wanted the marriage to occur as soon as possible but was persuaded to allow some time for family members to come to Amman. King Hussein gave Lisa a new, Arabic name: Noor al-Hussein, “Light of Hussein.”

King Hussein’s secretary commissioned a wedding dress from the French fashion house Dior. Two Dior designers came to Amman with sketches of elaborate wedding dresses, but Noor did not like the dresses. She wanted a simple dress that would be in line with Islamic ideals, so she showed the designers her favorite dress from her own closet, a Bohemian style Yves Saint Laurent boutique dress, and asked the designers to use that style as a model. The final design was a simple white silk crepe dress with a high neckline, long bell sleeves, and a plain long skirt.

During the brief engagement, Noor studied books on Islam and Jordanian history. Her parents had not brought her up in any particular religion. The Jordanian Constitution does not require that the King’s wife be Muslim, but there was no question in Noor’s mind that she would become Muslim. She became a Muslim on the morning of her wedding by proclaiming the testimony of faith: “I declare there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” King Hussein decided that Noor would receive the style and title Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein. Only one other of King Hussein’s previous three wives, Queen Alia, had been so honored.

Noor prepared for her wedding in a simple manner. She persuaded the hairdresser to arrange her hair as simply as possible, a band of white flowers holding her long blond hair in place with a simple veil, and she wore no makeup. She partially followed the Western tradition and wore “something blue and something new.” The something blue was a wedding present from her father, a sapphire stick pin from Tiffany. The something new was a pair of diamond drop earrings from a set of jewelry, a gift from Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The diamond drop earrings were quite dramatic, so Noor decided to remove the drops and wear only the tops.

Photo Credit – www.kinghussein.gov.jo/

YouTube: King Hussein marries Lisa Halaby

While 500 guests waited on the lawn of the Zahran Palace, Hussein and Noor were married in an oriental-style sitting room in the palace. Noor was the only woman allowed and the witnesses were Noor’s father and brother and the male members of the Jordanian Royal Family. A Muslim wedding ceremony is basically a contract in which the bride and groom agree to the contract and sign it in front of witnesses. Noor and King Hussein sat on a damask settee during the ceremony. They repeated simple marriage vows in Arabic. Noor said: “I have betrothed myself to thee in marriage for the dowry agreed upon.” King Hussein replied: “I have accepted thee as wife, my wife in marriage for the dowry agreed upon.” No rings were exchanged, instead the vows were sealed by the couple clasping their right hands and looking at each other.

A two-hour reception was held on the lawn of Zaharn Palace. The couple emerged from the ceremony to cut the seven tier, three feet high fruitcake wedding cake with a golden Hashemite sword and then mingled for ten minutes with family members that had gathered to congratulate them. Soft drinks substituted for champagne at the reception as Islamic law prohibits alcohol. The armed forces band played lively music in the background

The guests included the elite of Jordanian society, the diplomatic corps, government officials, and senior officers of the armed forces. There were no foreign guests except the Halaby family, Mrs. Cyrus Vance, the wife of the then American Secretary of State, and a handful of Noor’s friends from the United States. One of King Hussein’s former wives, the British-born Princess Muna, was also present.

Works Cited

  • Khouri, Rami, and Rami Khouri. “Royal Wedding In Amman”. Washington Post. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 May 2017.
  • “King Hussein I Of Jordan”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 May 2017.
  • Queen Noor. Leap Of Faith. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003. Print.
  • “Queen Noor Of Jordan”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 May 2017.

Wedding of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Rania al-Yassin

by Susan Flantzer

King Abdullah II of Jordan, then Prince Abdullah of Jordan, and Rania al-Yassin were married on June 10, 1993 at the Zahran Palace in Amman, Jordan.

Photo Credit – The Royal Hashemite Court

King Abdullah II of Jordan’s Background

Abdullah with his father King Hussein I of Jordan; Photo Credit – The Royal Hashemite Court

King Abdullah II of Jordan was born January 30, 1962 in Amman, Jordan, the eldest son of King Hussein I of Jordan and his second wife, British-born Antoinette Gardiner, known as Princess Muna. Abdullah has eleven siblings from his father’s four marriages. At the time of his birth, Abdullah was Crown Prince and heir-apparent to the Jordanian throne. However, in 1965, due to the political unrest in the region, King Hussein instead named his own brother, Prince Hassan, as Crown Prince. The succession laws in Jordan follow agnatic primogeniture, but King Hussein had the constitution changed to allow the reigning King to override the usual line of succession and appoint someone else in the royal family as his heir.

Abdullah began his education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman, Jordan before attending St Edmund’s School in Hindhead, Surrey, England and the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in the United States. He then enrolled in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1981. He served in the British Army in the 13th/18th Royal Hussars Regiment as a reconnaissance troop leader. He returned to Jordan in 1985 and began serving in the Jordanian Armed Forces. By 1993, he had become Commander of the Jordanian Special Forces, and by 1998, had risen to the rank of Major General.

On February 7, 1999, Abdullah became King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan upon the death of his father King Hussein. Just two weeks earlier, King Hussein had stripped his brother Prince Hassan of the title of Crown Prince and named Abdullah as his successor.

Unofficial Royalty: King Abdullah II of Jordan

Rania al-Yassin’s Background

Rania receiving her degree from the American University in Cairo in 1991; Photo Credit – Huffington Post

Rania al-Yassin was born on August 31, 1970 in Kuwait, to Faisal Sedki Al-Yassin and his wife Ilham. Following her primary and secondary education at the New English School in Jabriya, Kuwait, Rania attended The American University in Cairo, Egypt, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She then attended The School of Business Studies in Geneva Switzerland, earning a post-graduate diploma in Business Management. She worked for a while at Citibank, before taking a job with Apple, Inc. in Jordan.

Unofficial Royalty: Queen Rania of Jordan

The Engagement

Photo Credit – The Royal Hashemite Court

In January 1993, a friend of Rania took her to a dinner party hosted by Prince Abdullah’s sister. “The minute Rania walked in, I knew it right there and then,” said Abdullah in a 2005 interview with People magazine. “It was love at first sight.” A whirlwind courtship began. Abdullah took Rania on motorbike rides across the desert, waterskiing on the Red Sea and flying in helicopters. After a courtship of just two months, King Hussein himself reportedly drove his son to the home of Rania’s parents so Abdullah could propose. With King Hussein and her family looking on, Rania accepted.

The Wedding

Zahran Palace; Photo Credit – The Royal Hashemite Court

Abdullah and Rania were married on June 10, 1993 at the Zahran Palace in Amman, Jordan. Zahran Palace, built in 1957, has become the headquarters for official events involving the Jordanian Royal Family. The wedding day was a national holiday. At the time, Prince Abdullah was not Jordan’s crown prince. That title was held by King Hussein’s brother, Prince Hassan. Still, as the oldest son of King Hussein’s twelve children, Abdullah’s marriage was a grand state occasion and a glittering affair with royalty flying in from around the world to attend.

Rania chose British designer Bruce Oldfield to make her two wedding gowns. For the traditional Muslim ceremony, Rania wore a modest, short-sleeve gown with exaggerated lapels and a large belt. Inspired by Syrian formal dresses at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Oldfield added gold detailing to the trim of the gown, matching hair ornament and gloves. The skirt was voluminous and ended in a train at the back. A long veil covered her face during the Muslim ceremony. Her hairdo was so tall that she had difficulty getting in and out of the car.

Prince Abdullah wore his formal military dress uniform adorned with numerous medals and a ceremonial sword.

Wedding Attire; Photo Credit – http://www.arabiaweddings.com

Queen Rania had five young girls as attendants. They wore dresses with puffed sleeves in a peachy gold color and carried small bouquets of white and yellow flowers tied with yellow bows. Each girl wore a white hairband with flowers fastened at each end. Several young boys, dressed in sailor suits, served as the pages.

Photo Credit – http://www.arabiaweddings.com

The Muslim wedding ceremony is known as a nikah. On the wedding day, the bride and groom are seated in different rooms accompanied by close friends and family. A nikha namah (marriage contract) is presented containing the conditions of the marriage as well as the agreed mahr (mandatory gift promised to the bride by the groom). An imam (Muslim worship leader) or any male knowledgeable in Islam is qualified to perform this ceremony, which involves proposing the wedding match to both parties and announcing their acceptance. Abdullah and Rania’s marriage was performed by King Hussein.

After the marriage, the newlyweds toured the streets of Amman in an open convertible decorated with flowers and bows as they waved at cheering crowds.

For the evening reception, the couple changed into less formal attire. Rania wore a less modest, floor-length white sleeveless gown, also designed by Bruce Oldfield. It featured slender shoulder straps, a V-neck and slight plunge in the back. Abdullah wore a short white dinner jacket and dark pants.

Rania and Abdullah at the reception; Photo Credit – http://www.arabiaweddings.com

The wedding cake, which the newlyweds cut with a sword, was multi-tiered with each tier in the shape of a rectangular room decorated with crowns and lace.

Photo Credit – https://www.essensedesigns.com

Works Cited

  • “Flashback: The Royal Wedding Of Queen Rania & King Abdullah II Of Jordan”. Manhattan Madness! The-Manhattan.Net’s Blog. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “King Abdullah II Of Jordan”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “MEMORABLE ROMANCE: King Abdullah II & Queen Rania Of Jordan – Good Times”. Good Times. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “Queen Rania Of Jordan”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • Singh, Gary. “Muslim Wedding Ceremony | Islamic Wedding | Nikah | Guide For Groom”. Entouraaj. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “Wedding Wednesday: Rania’s Gown”. Orderofsplendor.blogspot.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “Zahran Palace”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • “رانيا العبد الله”. Ar.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

Queen Alia of Jordan

by Scott Mehl

photo: Wikipedia

Queen Alia of Jordan

Queen Alia was the third wife of King Hussein of Jordan. She was born Alia Baha Ad-Din Touqan on December 15, 1948 in Cairo, the daughter of Baha ud-Din Touqan and Hanan Hashim. Her father was a former Jordanian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey and Egypt. He served under King Abdullah I, was instrumental in the writing of the Jordanian Constitution and served as the country’s first ambassador to the United Nations.

Because of her father’s diplomatic work, the family moved often and Alia attended school wherever they lived. She attended the Rome Center of Liberal Arts in Rome (now the John Felice Rome Center), a branch of Loyola University Chicago, and studied political science, psychology and public relations at Hunter College in New York. In 1971, she moved to Jordan where she worked for Royal Jordanian (at the time named Alia Airlines, in honor of King Hussein’s eldest daughter Alia). She was then asked to organize the first International Water Skiing Festival in Aqaba. It was there, where the King had a holiday villa, that the two began their relationship.

 

They married privately on December 24, 1972, and Alia was named Queen Alia al-Hussein. The couple had two children:

They also adopted a daughter – Abir Muhaisen – in 1976.  Abir had been orphaned where her mother was killed in a plane crash at a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan.

Along with raising her family, Queen Alia broke with tradition by taking on a much more public role than any of her predecessors. She established the Office of the Queen of Jordan and began working with numerous charities and organizations – particularly those dealing with women, children and social development. She established a large number of scholarships to help impoverished children gain a quality education. She also promoted the arts and literature in Jordan, helping to establish libraries around the country, and starting several Arts festivals which continue to this day.

Queen Alia also tackled some political issues. She very publicly fought for the rights of women to vote and be elected to public office. Thanks in part to her efforts, a law was put forth in 1974 allowing both. However, it would not be enacted until 1989.

On February 9, 1977, Queen Alia was killed in a helicopter crash in Amman. She was returning from a trip to Tafileh, about 140 miles south of Amman, where she was inspecting a hospital after reading negative reports about it in the media. Flying in a violent rain storm, the military helicopter crashed and all aboard were killed. Completely devastated, King Hussein announced Alia’s death on the television and radio. Following a traditional funeral service, Queen Alia was interred at the Royal Cemetery at Al-Maquar. King Hussein had a huge mausoleum built for his wife on a hill outside of the city and Queen Alia’s remains were moved there in 1980.

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Queen Dina of Jordan

by Scott Mehl

photo: Wikipedia

Queen Dina of Jordan

Queen Dina of Jordan was the first of four wives of the late King Hussein. She was born Dina bint ‘Abdu’l-Hamid, the daughter of ‘Abdu’l-Hamid bin Muhammad ‘Abdu’l-Aziz and Fakhria Brav, on December 15, 1929 in Cairo. Through her father’s family, she was a member of the House of Hashemite, and a third cousin to her future father-in-law, King Talal.

She attended boarding school in England before earning her degree in English literature from Girton CollegeCambridge University. She then earned a postgraduate diploma in social science from Bedford College in London. Following her schooling, Dina returned to Egypt where she taught English literature and philosophy at the University of Cairo.

 

In 1952, while still at Girton College, Dina met her future husband, King Hussein of Jordan, at the home of a mutual relative in London. Hussein, 6 years younger that Dina, was a student at the Harrow School at the time. That same year, he became King upon his father’s abdication. Two years later, Hussein’s mother Queen Zein announced the engagement of the young couple. They married on April 18, 1955, and Dina was given the title Queen of Jordan. However, the marriage was full of discord from the beginning. Hussein intended that his wife would have no political role or input, while the well-educated Dina found this very stifling. There was also much tension between Dina and her mother-in-law. Queen Zein had promoted the wedding between the two, but then found that she resented Dina taking her position as the senior female in the kingdom. A daughter – Princess Alia – was born in 1956, but the marriage was beyond saving.

Later that year, Hussein informed Dina that he was divorcing her. Their divorce became final on June 24, 1957, at which time she lost her title of Queen. She became HRH Princess Dina Abdul-Hamid of Jordan.

Dina later returned to Egypt, and in 1970, remarried to Asad Sulayman Abd al-Qadir, a high-ranking official in the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1983, a year after al-Qadir was imprisoned by the Israelis, Dina negotiated his release, along with 8,000 other prisoners.

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Princess Sarvath of Jordan

by Scott Mehl

with her husband, Prince Hassan, at the 2013 Inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. photo: Zimbio

with her husband, Prince Hassan, at the 2013 Inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. photo: Zimbio

Princess Sarvath al-Hassan of Jordan

Princess Sarvath El Hassan of Jordan is the wife of Prince Hassan of Jordan, the younger brother of King Hussein I. She was born Sarvath Ikramullah on July 24, 1947, in Calcutta, India, the daughter of Mohammed Ikramullah and Shaista Suhrawardy.

Her father served in the Indian Civil Service, and following the partition of India, became Pakistan’s first Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He also served as Ambassador to Canada, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Her mother was one of Pakistan’s first female members of Parliament, Ambassador to Morocco, and served several times as a delegate to the United Nations.  The family moving around quite often, Sarvath received most of her education in the United Kingdom and graduated from The University of Cambridge.

She married Prince El Hassan on August 28, 1968. The couple had first met ten years earlier when they were just 11 years old. They have four children:
Princess Rahma bint El Hassan (1969)
Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan (1971)
Princess Badiya bint El Hassan (1974)
Prince Rashid bin El Hassan (1979)

Sarvath and her husband served as Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Jordan for 34 years, until 1999 when King Hussein named his eldest son, Abdullah, to succeed him just days before his death. During this time, Princess Sarvath worked with many organizations and initiatives within Jordan, with much of her focus on education and social welfare.

The couple continues to represent Jordan often at royal events around the world.

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Prince Hassan of Jordan

by Scott Mehl

photo: Wikipedia

Prince Hassan of Jordan

Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was born on March 20, 1947 in Amman, Jordan. He is the son of King Talal and Queen Zein, and a younger brother of  King Hussein I.

He attended the Summer Fields School and the Harrow School before attending Christ Church, Oxford University, earning his bachelors and masters degrees in Oriental Studies.

In 1965, King Hussein named Hassan Crown Prince, and he often served as Regent. He remained Crown Prince until just days before King Hussein died in 1999, when the King named his eldest son, Abdullah, as Crown Prince.

In 1968, Hassan married Sarvath Ikramullah. The couple had four children:
Princess Rahma bint El Hassan (1969)
Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan (1971)
Princess Badiya bint El Hassan (1974)
Prince Rashid bin El Hassan (1979)

Prince Hassan is involved with a large number of organizations and charities both within Jordan and around the world. A list of many of them can be found here. He has also written several books and articles and received numerous awards and honorary degrees. In June 2013, he was appointed Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath often represent the Jordanian royal family at royal events around the world, such as the 2013 inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

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Prince Hamzah of Jordan

by Scott Mehl

Hamzah of Jordan

Prince Hamzah of Jordan; Photo Credit – http://www.princehamzah.jo

Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein of Jordan was born on March 29, 1980 in Amman. He is the eldest son of King Hussein of Jordan, with his fourth wife, Queen Noor (the former Lisa Halaby). He has three younger siblings – Prince Hashim, Princess Iman, and Princess Raiyah, as well as several other half-siblings from his father’s previous marriages.

Hamzah began his education in Jordan, and attended the Harrow School in London. He then enrolled in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and served with the Jordanian Armed Forces in which he holds the rank of Colonel. He later graduated, in 2006, from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Upon their father’s death in 1999, Hamzah was named Crown Prince by his elder half-brother, the new King Abdullah II, in accordance with their father’s wishes. He would later serve occasionally as Regent for King Abdullah, and often represented him at events both within Jordan and abroad. However, on November 28, 2004, King Abdullah removed the title of Crown Prince. In a public letter, he said that … “Your holding this symbolic position has restrained your freedom and hindered our entrusting you with certain responsibilities that you are fully qualified to undertake.”  A few years later, the King named his own son, Hussein, as Crown Prince.

Prince Hamzah has been married twice. He first married his second cousin, Princess Noor bint Asem bin Nayef, on August 29, 2003 (with the official wedding on May 27, 2004). They had one daughter before divorcing in September 2009.

– Princess Haya bint Hamzah (2007)

He then married Basmah Bani Ahmad on January 12, 2012. The couple have three daughters:

– Princess Zein bint Hamzah (2012)
– Princess Noor bint Hamzah (2014)
– Princess Badiya bint Hamzah (2016)

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