THE ROYAL FAMILY
His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein assumed his constitutional powers as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7th, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away.
His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, the father of modern Jordan, will always be remembered as a leader who guided his country through strife and turmoil to become an oasis of peace, stability and moderation in the Middle East. Among Jordanians, his memory is cherished as the inspiration for Jordan's climate of openness, tolerance and compassion. Known to his people as Al-Malik Al-Insan ("The Humane King"), King Hussein was the forty-second generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Born in Amman on November 14, 1935, to Prince Talal bin Abdullah and Princess Zein al-Sharaf bint Jamil, King Hussein attended Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and Harrow School in England. He later received his military education at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England.
Hussein was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on August 11, 1952. A Regency Council was appointed until King Hussein’s formal accession to the throne on May 2, 1953, when he assumed his constitutional powers after reaching the age of eighteen, according to the Islamic calendar.
Throughout his long and eventful reign, King Hussein worked hard at building his country and raising the living standard of each and every Jordanian. Early on, King Hussein concentrated on building an economic and industrial infrastructure that would compliment and enhance the advances he wanted to achieve in the quality of life of his people. During the 1960s, Jordan’s main industries - including phosphate, potash and cement - were developed, and a network of highways was built throughout the kingdom.
On the human level, the numbers speak for King Hussein’s achievements. While in 1950, water, sanitation and electricity were available to only 10% of Jordanians, today these reach 99% of the population. In 1960 only 33% of Jordanians were literate, while by 1996 this number had climbed to 85.5%. In 1961, the average Jordanian received a daily intake of 2198 calories, and by 1992 this figure had increased by 37.5% to reach 3022 calories. UNICEF statistics show that between 1981 and 1991, Jordan achieved the world’s fastest annual rate of decline in infant mortality - from 70 deaths per 1000 births in 1981 to 37 per 1000 in 1991, a fall of over 47%. King Hussein always believed that Jordan’s people are its biggest asset, and throughout his reign he encouraged all - including the less fortunate, the disabled and the orphaned - to achieve more for themselves and their country.
King Hussein also struggled throughout his 47-year reign to promote peace in the Middle East. The 1994 Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel is a major step toward achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
King Hussein’s commitment to democracy, civil liberties, and human rights has helped pave the way in making Jordan a model state for the region. King Hussein married Queen Noor on June 15, 1978. They have two sons - Hamzah and Hashem - and two daughters -Iman and Raiyah. His Majesty is also survived by three sons - Abdullah, Faisal and Ali - and five daughters - Alia, Zein, Aisha, Haya and Abeer - from three previous marriages. Toward the end of his life, King Hussein became the proud grandfather of a growing number of grandchildren.
Over the course of his life, His Majesty King Hussein was an avid sportsman. He was an accomplished aviator, motorcyclist and racecar driver who also enjoyed water sports, skiing and tennis.
Born in Amman on January 30th, 1962, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein is the eldest son of His Majesty the late King Hussein and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. He began his primary education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman, and later attended St. Edmund's School in Surrey, England. For his secondary education, he attended Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in the United States of America.
His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom in 1980, and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in 1981. He was later appointed Reconnaissance Troop Leader in the 13th/18th Battalion of the Royal Hussars (British Army) in (West) Germany and England. In 1982, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein attended Oxford University where he completed a one-year Special Studies course in Middle Eastern Affairs. Upon returning home, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein joined the Jordanian Armed Forces.
In addition to his career as an army officer, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein served Jordan many times in the official capacity of Regent in the absence of the late King Hussein, and regularly travelled on official missions. He was proclaimed Crown Prince on the 24th of January, 1999 by a Royal Decree. He had also assumed the position of Crown Prince at birth by a Royal Decree until April 1st, 1965.
Since his ascension to the throne, His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein has continued his late father's commitment to creating a strong and positive moderating role for Jordan within the Arab region and the world, and has worked towards the establishment of a just and lasting comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein is committed to building on the late King's legacy to further institutionalize democratic and political pluralism in Jordan. He has made extensive efforts towards ensuring sustainable levels of economic growth and social development aimed at improving the standard of living of all Jordanians. He is also working towards modernizing Jordan's information technology and educational systems.
Under King Abdullah's reign, Jordan was admitted to the World Trade Organization, and ratified agreements for the establishment of a Free Trade Area with the United States of America, the European Union, the European Free Trade Association countries, and sixteen Arab countries. He has been working on the advancement of civil liberties making Jordan one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East. Also, he has been involved in enacting the necessary legislations that guarantee women a full role in the Kingdom's socio-economic and political life.
His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein married Queen Rania on June 10th, 1993. The Royal Couple has two sons - Prince Hussein, born on June 28th, 1994, and Prince Hashem, born on January 30th 2005 - and two daughters - Princess Iman, born on September 27th, 1996, and Princess Salma, born on September 26th, 2000. The King has four brothers and seven sisters.
His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein holds a number of decorations from various countries. He is a qualified diver, pilot and a free-fall parachutist. His other interests include automobile racing, water sports, scuba diving and collecting ancient weapons and armaments.
Information courtesy of www.kingabdullah.jo
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