by Scott Mehl
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 College, Cambridge 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.