Okay, obviously, it’s not like I discovered the royal family of Jordan, but with the two exceptions of the famously gorgeous Queen Rania and Queen Noor, most Westerners have no idea that there’s this incredibly glamorous, very Anglo family hanging out and being fabulous in the Middle East.
As you may or may not know, my father is a Jordanian Circassian and was born and raised in Amman. (When people ask my ethnic background–usually saying, “So, are you, like, Asian or something?”–I joke that I’m half Jordanian/Circassian and half blonde.) Since Queen Noor looks just like my mom, has the same birthday as me, went to the same boarding school as my brother, and is also the blonde daughter of a Middle Eastern father and American mother, I’ve always felt a kinship with her. If you haven’t read her autobiography Leap of Faith, about how she moved to Jordan in the ’70s from DC as American Lisa Halaby and left as Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, it’s fascinating.
One of the interesting things about the Jordanian Royal Family is that, because of their strong ties with England, several of King Hussein’s wives over the years were either English or American, resulting in blond babies, childhoods spent in DC and London, and English/American university educations. In fact, the current King of Jordan, Abdullah II, doesn’t even speak Arabic fluently; his first language was English, as his mother Princess Muna was a blonde English rose born in Suffolk as Antoinette Gardner.
When Queen Noor married King Hussein, they produced several good-looking children, including Prince Hamzah (who was Crown Prince of Jordan until King Hussein named Abdullah, Hamzah’s half-brother, and Hussein’s son from a previous marriage, as heir) and the utterly gorgeous Prince Hashim, who went to Maret Day School in DC, Duke, Georgetown and Sandhurst.
Prince Hashim’s older brother Prince Hamzah–who went to Harrow, Sandhurst and Harvard–isn’t bad, either (although the little mustache has got to go):
Let’s not forget Princess Haya, who is King Hussein’s Oxford-educated, Olympian-rider daughter from his 3rd marriage, to Queen Alia (who died in a helicopter crash in the late 70s):
Unfortunately, with the exception of Queen Noor and Queen Rania, the Jordanian royals seem to keep mostly to themselves on that side of the world. It’s a shame, because a little bit of Western outreach (as with King Abdullah II’s recent visit to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) could probably do a lot of good for better understanding here in America of the Middle East and its many wonderful, cool, down-to-earth people.
Anyhow. Yay, pretty royals!