The Ruler Family (Jordan Royal Family)

 
 
HIS MAJESTY KING ABDULLAH II

 

His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein is the 43rd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammed. King Abdullah assumed his constitutional powers as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away. King Abdullah is committed to building on the legacy left by the late King Hussein to further Jordan's democratic institutionalization and political pluralism, while working for a just and comprehensive peace in a climate of openness and tolerance.

 Born in Amman on January 30, 1962, His Majesty is the eldest son of the late King Hussein and has four brothers and six sisters, as well as two sons and two daughters. King Abdullah began his education at the Islamic Educational College and received his secondary education at St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England, Eaglebrook School in Massachusetts, then at Deerfield Academy in the United States of America. In 1980, King Abdullah entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, where he received his military education. King Abdullah attended Oxford University in 1984, undergoing a one year Special Studies course in International Politics and World Affairs.

 Upon returning home, His Majesty continued his military path, gaining experience and working his way to the rank of Captain and the Commander of a Tank Company in the 91st Armored Brigade. From 1986 -1987, also as Captain, his Majesty was attached to the Royal Jordanian Air Force's Helicopter Anti-Tank Wing as a Tactics Instructor, where he received qualification as a Cobra Attack Helicopter Pilot. In 1987, King Abdullah II attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and was in residence as a Mid-Career Fellow. He undertook Advanced Study and Research in International Affairs under the auspices of the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program.

 Upon returning home, His Majesty was assigned to the 17th Tank Battalion, 2nd Royal Guards Brigade and in the summer of 1989, he became Battalion 2nd-in-Command, with the rank of Major. In 1991, King Abdullah was the Armor Representative in the Office of the Inspector General. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel at the end of the year and assumed command of the 2nd Armored Car Regiment in the 40th Brigade. Upon handing over the battalion in January 1993, King Abdullah was promoted to full Colonel and assigned as Deputy Commander of the Jordanian Special Forces. In June 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and assumed command of the Royal Jordanian Special Forces, after having served as Deputy Commander for six months.

 His Majesty was appointed commander of the Special Operations Command on October 1997, and in May 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Major General. In addition to his career as an army officer, King Abdullah II has served his country many times in the official capacity of Regent in the absence of His Majesty King Hussein, and he regularly traveled with the late King Hussein. Before his accession to the throne, King Abdullah II represented Jordan and his late father on visits to many countries throughout the world, and developed close relationships with leaders and officials of a number of Arab countries during the course of his career. King Abdullah II married Queen Rania on June 10, 1993.

 Their Majesties have two sons, Prince al-Hussein, born June 28, 1994, Prince Hashem, born on January 30, 2005 and two daughters, Princess Iman, born September 27, 1996 and Princess Salma, born September 26, 2000. King Abdullah is a qualified frogman, pilot and a free-fall parachutist. His other interests are car racing (he is a former Jordanian National Rally Racing Champion), water sports, scuba diving and collecting ancient weapons and armaments.

 

Official Website: www.kingabdullah.jo 

 
 
 
Her Majesty Queen Rania

 

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan is an international voice of cross cultural dialogue, an outspoken philanthropic advocate, and a promoter of advancing health and educational opportunities in Jordan and across the globe.

Since her marriage to His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein (then Prince), in 1993, Queen Rania has channeled her energies behind initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood of various sectors of society in Jordan and beyond.

Queen Rania has played a significant role in reaching out to the global community to foster values of tolerance and acceptance, and increase cross-cultural dialogue. Regionally and internationally, Queen Rania has campaigned for a greater understanding between cultures in such high profile forums as the Jeddah Economic Forum, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Skoll Foundation in the UK.

One of Her Majesty’s core areas of interest is the promotion of excellence, creativity, and innovation in education. In October 2005, in an effort to raise the national standards of education, Queen Rania, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, initiated an annual teacher’s award. Known as the Queen Rania Al Abdullah Award for Excellence in Education, the award has been well received amongst the Kingdom’s teachers both for the prestige it brings to the profession as well as the motivation it inspires.

As the Regional Ambassador for INJAZ Arabia (Junior Achievement World Wide), Queen Rania is a strong supporter of the organization. INJAZ is a non-profit entity that inspires and prepares youth and enhances their opportunities to join the job market as competitive employees and entrepreneurs. Since launching INJAZ in Jordan in 2001, Queen Rania has taught several of their classes, joined youth around the world in frank dialogue sessions, and launched INJAZ’s presence elsewhere in the Arab world.

Most recently, Queen Rania established the Kingdom’s first hands on children’s museum, in Amman, to encourage and nurture lifelong learning for children and their families. The museum opened its doors to the public on May 23, 2007. It has more than 150 dynamic exhibits designed for children aged 14 and younger, who comprise almost 40 percent of Jordan’s population. Queen Rania has said that her aim in creating this museum is to provide edutainment opportunities to all of Jordan’s children.

Since 1995, the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), which Queen Rania chairs, has spearheaded a number of local initiatives improving the quality of life for Jordanians. The foundation has initiated socio-economic projects for women that provide employment opportunities to enhance their livelihood, while developing their knowledge and skills in handicraft production and entrepreneurship. These projects benefit thousands of individuals, directly and indirectly, and continue to generate income for vulnerable communities and families.

In 1997, Queen Rania oversaw the launch of JRF’s Child Safety Program, which for the first time in Jordan addressed the immediate needs of children at risk from abuse. She is closely involved with Dar Al Aman (House of Safety), a center for abused and neglected children, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

As part of her mandate to contribute to improving the quality of life of all Jordanian families, Queen Rania serves as the head of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA). The council aims at ensuring the right policy environment to support the development of family protection and unity, and serves as a significant think tank in Jordan.

Queen Rania is on the Board of Directors of several international organizations such as the World Economic Forum (WEF); the United Nations Foundation (UNF); International Youth Foundation (IYF); the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA); and the GAVI Fund, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide children in the world’s poorest countries with access to life-saving vaccines. Her Majesty is UNICEF’s first Eminent Advocate for Children and is also the World Health Organization Patron for Violence Prevention in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

In recognition of her social work, Queen Rania has been presented with numerous awards for her commitment to promoting world peace, advancing social causes, and lifting the lives of children.

Personal Background

Born Rania Al Yassin, to a notable Jordanian family of Palestinian origin, in Kuwait on August 31, 1970, Queen Rania completed her primary and secondary education there.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo, in 1991, Queen Rania returned to Jordan to pursue a career in banking, followed by a brief career in the field of Information Technology.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania met at a dinner party in 1993, hosted by a mutual friend. They have four children: HRH Prince Hussein, born June 28, 1994; HRH Princess Iman, born September 27, 1996; HRH Princess Salma, born September 26, 2000, and HRH Prince Hashem, born January 30, 2005.

She is fluent in Arabic and English, and has a working knowledge of French.

Official Website: www.queenrania.jo

 
 
THE HASHEMITES
 
 
 
Early History
The roots of the Hashemite Family reach back to the Prophet Abraham and his son, Ishmael. In the 5th century AD, an Arab leader named Qusai Bin Kilab, of the tribe of Quraysh, descendants of Ishmael, assumed power in the city of Mecca. Even before the Islamic era, Mecca was a center of international trade and the spiritual capital of the region. Qusai was the first of many Hashemites to rule the holy city. He forged an annual pact between warring tribes to ease the passage of pilgrims and protect caravans, a contract which was the first of its kind and marked a new era for both the city and Arab society.
 
The Hashemite name is derived from Hashem, a grandson of Qusai and the great-grandfather of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). The Hashemites of Jordan are thus direct descendants of the Prophet through his daughter, Fatima, and her husband, Ali.
 
The Abbasids, Islamic caliphs from the 8th to 13th century AD, were also of Hashemite lineage. During the Abbasid Empire, the Hashemites were revered as tribal chiefs in the Arabian Peninsula, known for resolving disputes and mediating between clans. When the Abbasid Empire collapsed, the Hashemite family remained as tribal leaders in their home region of the Hijaz (the east coast of the Red Sea) and as emirs in the holy city of Mecca, which they ruled into the 20th century.
 
Sharif Hussein and the Arab Revolt
 
Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, well known as the leader of the Great Arab Revolt and the Sharif of Mecca, was born in Ottoman Istanbul in 1853. Though well acquainted with imperial politics, Sharif Hussein spent a significant portion of his life among the bedouin Arabs of the Hijaz, immersing himself in the political life of Arabia. In 1908, the Ottomans, recognising his influence in the region, appointed him Emir (Prince) of Mecca.
 
As Ottoman policies grew more oppressive after the coup of the “Young Turks,” Sharif Hussein earned support among Arabs by opposing Istanbul's totalistic policies in the Hijaz. Some historians say that, even then, he was preparing for Arab independence. Indeed, the idea that the Arabic-speaking people were a nation, deserving of independent recognition, is often thought to have originated with Sharif Hussein.
 
In 1916, Sharif Hussein allied the Arabs with British forces, leading, along with his sons, Abdullah and Faisal, numerous tribes from the Hijaz in a revolt that liberated the Levant from Ottoman control. Bearing the Hashemite name and tradition of the Aal Al Bayt, Sharif Hussein was the central figure in the revolt, earning the title, “King of the Arabs.” After this victory, however, European powers failed to honour their commitment to support Arab sovereignty and instead, installed colonial rule throughout the Levant.
 
Sharif Hussein died in Amman in 1931.
 
King Abdullah I and the Founding of Jordan
 
The first king and founder of the state of Jordan was born in 1882 in Mecca. Like his father, Abdullah began life as a representative of the Ottoman court but his prestigious education and exposure to Arab tribal customs soon made him aware of the growing nationalist sentiment among his people.
 
In the Arab Revolt, Abdullah led several Arab battalions against the Ottoman Turks. Afterwards, he left the Hijaz and settled in Maan, where he was received as a leader and sharif. While the European governments were dividing the region among themselves, Abdullah was building support and unity among the tribes and townspeople of Jordan.
 
The future king led a modest existence, often staying with leaders of different sects and sectors of society, developing relationships with them. He spent much of his time amongst the local bedouin tribes. In 1921, he organised his first government in Amman, thus establishing the Emirate of Transjordan.
 
For the next thirty years, Emir Abdullah concentrated his efforts on state-building. In 1928, the Prince oversaw the country’s first legislative council and the drafting of a constitution. One year later, he held the first parliamentary elections. On 22 March 1946, Transjordan secured its independence, and Abdullah was crowned king later that year.
 
As King Abdullah I was centralising government in Jordan, the situation in Palestine was deteriorating into a full-scale war between the Arabs and the Zionist movement over the final territorial disposition of Mandate Palestine. When the 1948 Arab-Israeli War erupted, King Abdullah I joined the Arab forces, and Jordan’s Arab Legion defended the holy city of Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine, defeating Jewish forces in Bab Al Wad, Latroun and East Jerusalem. The war ended in July 1948, and a truce was signed between the Arab countries and Israel. Two years later, Jordan and the West Bank were united into a single state.
 
King Abdullah I regularly attended Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. On 20 July 1951, he was assassinated on the stairs of Al Aqsa Mosque. His grandson, Hussein, was with him at the time. A bullet struck the young man but was deflected by a medal which his grandfather had pinned to his chest earlier that day.
 
After the death of King Abdullah I, his son, Talal ascended the throne. Due to ill health, King Talal soon abdicated in favor of Hussein, his eldest son. Although King Talal’s reign was short, he introduced a liberalised constitution for the Kingdom that made the government more responsible to the parliament and paved the way for future political development.
 
King Talal Bin Abdullah died in 1972.
 
King Hussein
 
When he was proclaimed king of Jordan, Talal’s son, Hussein, was only 17 years of age, and legally unable to assume royal powers. His first months were guided by a Regency Council, until he was formally crowned on 2 May 1953, at the age of 18.
 
Hussein Bin Talal was born in Amman on 14 November 1935 to then Prince Talal and Princess Zein Al Sharaf Bint Jamil. Princess Zein, later named queen, was also a Hashemite. In the footsteps of his predecessors, Hussein reaped the benefits of an outstanding education. After finishing primary school in Amman, he studied at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.
 
King Hussein is considered the architect of modern Jordan. He was widely regarded as a man of the people. Today, he is remembered with reverence, as a statesman who guided Jordan safely through the strife and conflict of the late 20th century, making it the oasis of stability it is today.
 
King Hussein often said that Jordan's people were its greatest asset, and he worked assiduously to improve their standard of living and the opportunities available to them.
 
Early in his reign, he concentrated on establishing an economic and industrial infrastructure and increasing access to essential services. He was a strident promoter of education, building schools throughout the Kingdom and promoting the idea of education for every child. During his reign, primary school enrollment skyrocketed, and literacy rose from 33 per cent in 1960 to 85.5 per cent in 1996.
 
Throughout his 47-year reign, King Hussein strove to achieve Middle East peace. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, he was instrumental in drafting United Nations Resolution 242, which called on Israel to withdraw from all the Arab lands it had occupied in the 1967 war in exchange for peace. This resolution has served as the benchmark for all subsequent peace negotiations. In 1991, King Hussein also played a pivotal role in convening the Madrid Peace Conference while providing an "umbrella" for Palestinians to negotiate their future as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
 
In 1994, under his leadership, Jordan became the second Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel, a controversial but necessary step towards creating stability and advancing peace within the region.
 
King Hussein set Jordan down a path of political liberalization in 1989 and the Kingdom held elections that autumn. Jordanians have returned to the polls four times since then. In 1990, King Hussein appointed a royal commission, representing the entire spectrum of Jordanian political thought to draft a National Charter. That charter stands today, along with the Jordanian Constitution, as a guideline for democratic institutionalisation and political pluralism in the country. King Hussein’s commitment to democracy, civil liberties and human rights helped shape Jordan as a model state for reform and development in the region.
 
On the date of his passing on 7 February 1999, King Hussein was the longest serving executive head of state in the world. Hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries joined Jordanians in mourning his passing, a testament to his renown and the respect he earned as a leader committed to the progress of his people and to peace and security for the peoples of the Middle East and beyond.
 
King Hussein was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah, who was crowned on 9 June 1999.
Early History
The roots of the Hashemite Family reach back to the Prophet Abraham and his son, Ishmael. In the 5th century AD, an Arab leader named Qusai Bin Kilab, of the tribe of Quraysh, descendants of Ishmael, assumed power in the city of Mecca. Even before the Islamic era, Mecca was a center of international trade and the spiritual capital of the region. Qusai was the first of many Hashemites to rule the holy city. He forged an annual pact between warring tribes to ease the passage of pilgrims and protect caravans, a contract which was the first of its kind and marked a new era for both the city and Arab society.
 
The Hashemite name is derived from Hashem, a grandson of Qusai and the great-grandfather of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). The Hashemites of Jordan are thus direct descendants of the Prophet through his daughter, Fatima, and her husband, Ali.
 
The Abbasids, Islamic caliphs from the 8th to 13th century AD, were also of Hashemite lineage. During the Abbasid Empire, the Hashemites were revered as tribal chiefs in the Arabian Peninsula, known for resolving disputes and mediating between clans. When the Abbasid Empire collapsed, the Hashemite family remained as tribal leaders in their home region of the Hijaz (the east coast of the Red Sea) and as emirs in the holy city of Mecca, which they ruled into the 20th century.
 
Sharif Hussein and the Arab Revolt
 
Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, well known as the leader of the Great Arab Revolt and the Sharif of Mecca, was born in Ottoman Istanbul in 1853. Though well acquainted with imperial politics, Sharif Hussein spent a significant portion of his life among the bedouin Arabs of the Hijaz, immersing himself in the political life of Arabia. In 1908, the Ottomans, recognising his influence in the region, appointed him Emir (Prince) of Mecca.
 
As Ottoman policies grew more oppressive after the coup of the “Young Turks,” Sharif Hussein earned support among Arabs by opposing Istanbul's totalistic policies in the Hijaz. Some historians say that, even then, he was preparing for Arab independence. Indeed, the idea that the Arabic-speaking people were a nation, deserving of independent recognition, is often thought to have originated with Sharif Hussein.
 
In 1916, Sharif Hussein allied the Arabs with British forces, leading, along with his sons, Abdullah and Faisal, numerous tribes from the Hijaz in a revolt that liberated the Levant from Ottoman control. Bearing the Hashemite name and tradition of the Aal Al Bayt, Sharif Hussein was the central figure in the revolt, earning the title, “King of the Arabs.” After this victory, however, European powers failed to honour their commitment to support Arab sovereignty and instead, installed colonial rule throughout the Levant.
 
Sharif Hussein died in Amman in 1931.
 
King Abdullah I and the Founding of Jordan
 
The first king and founder of the state of Jordan was born in 1882 in Mecca. Like his father, Abdullah began life as a representative of the Ottoman court but his prestigious education and exposure to Arab tribal customs soon made him aware of the growing nationalist sentiment among his people.
 
In the Arab Revolt, Abdullah led several Arab battalions against the Ottoman Turks. Afterwards, he left the Hijaz and settled in Maan, where he was received as a leader and sharif. While the European governments were dividing the region among themselves, Abdullah was building support and unity among the tribes and townspeople of Jordan.
 
The future king led a modest existence, often staying with leaders of different sects and sectors of society, developing relationships with them. He spent much of his time amongst the local bedouin tribes. In 1921, he organised his first government in Amman, thus establishing the Emirate of Transjordan.
 
For the next thirty years, Emir Abdullah concentrated his efforts on state-building. In 1928, the Prince oversaw the country’s first legislative council and the drafting of a constitution. One year later, he held the first parliamentary elections. On 22 March 1946, Transjordan secured its independence, and Abdullah was crowned king later that year.
 
As King Abdullah I was centralising government in Jordan, the situation in Palestine was deteriorating into a full-scale war between the Arabs and the Zionist movement over the final territorial disposition of Mandate Palestine. When the 1948 Arab-Israeli War erupted, King Abdullah I joined the Arab forces, and Jordan’s Arab Legion defended the holy city of Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine, defeating Jewish forces in Bab Al Wad, Latroun and East Jerusalem. The war ended in July 1948, and a truce was signed between the Arab countries and Israel. Two years later, Jordan and the West Bank were united into a single state.
 
King Abdullah I regularly attended Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. On 20 July 1951, he was assassinated on the stairs of Al Aqsa Mosque. His grandson, Hussein, was with him at the time. A bullet struck the young man but was deflected by a medal which his grandfather had pinned to his chest earlier that day.
 
After the death of King Abdullah I, his son, Talal ascended the throne. Due to ill health, King Talal soon abdicated in favor of Hussein, his eldest son. Although King Talal’s reign was short, he introduced a liberalised constitution for the Kingdom that made the government more responsible to the parliament and paved the way for future political development.
 
King Talal Bin Abdullah died in 1972.
 
 
King Hussein
When he was proclaimed king of Jordan, Talal’s son, Hussein, was only 17 years of age, and legally unable to assume royal powers. His first months were guided by a Regency Council, until he was formally crowned on 2 May 1953, at the age of 18.
Hussein Bin Talal was born in Amman on 14 November 1935 to then Prince Talal and Princess Zein Al Sharaf Bint Jamil. Princess Zein, later named queen, was also a Hashemite. In the footsteps of his predecessors, Hussein reaped the benefits of an outstanding education. After finishing primary school in Amman, he studied at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.
 
King Hussein is considered the architect of modern Jordan. He was widely regarded as a man of the people. Today, he is remembered with reverence, as a statesman who guided Jordan safely through the strife and conflict of the late 20th century, making it the oasis of stability it is today.
 
King Hussein often said that Jordan's people were its greatest asset, and he worked assiduously to improve their standard of living and the opportunities available to them.
 
Early in his reign, he concentrated on establishing an economic and industrial infrastructure and increasing access to essential services. He was a strident promoter of education, building schools throughout the Kingdom and promoting the idea of education for every child. During his reign, primary school enrollment skyrocketed, and literacy rose from 33 per cent in 1960 to 85.5 per cent in 1996.
 
Throughout his 47-year reign, King Hussein strove to achieve Middle East peace. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, he was instrumental in drafting United Nations Resolution 242, which called on Israel to withdraw from all the Arab lands it had occupied in the 1967 war in exchange for peace. This resolution has served as the benchmark for all subsequent peace negotiations. In 1991, King Hussein also played a pivotal role in convening the Madrid Peace Conference while providing an "umbrella" for Palestinians to negotiate their future as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
 
In 1994, under his leadership, Jordan became the second Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel, a controversial but necessary step towards creating stability and advancing peace within the region.
 
King Hussein set Jordan down a path of political liberalization in 1989 and the Kingdom held elections that autumn. Jordanians have returned to the polls four times since then. In 1990, King Hussein appointed a royal commission, representing the entire spectrum of Jordanian political thought to draft a National Charter. That charter stands today, along with the Jordanian Constitution, as a guideline for democratic institutionalisation and political pluralism in the country. King Hussein’s commitment to democracy, civil liberties and human rights helped shape Jordan as a model state for reform and development in the region.
 
On the date of his passing on 7 February 1999, King Hussein was the longest serving executive head of state in the world. Hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries joined Jordanians in mourning his passing, a testament to his renown and the respect he earned as a leader committed to the progress of his people and to peace and security for the peoples of the Middle East and beyond.
 
King Hussein was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah, who was crowned on 9 June 1999.
 

King Hussien Bin Talal

King Tala Bin Abdallah

King Abdallah I Bin Hussein 

Sharrief Hussein Bin Ali

 

 

 

 

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