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International Royals

Queen Rania of Jordan’s unbelievable beginnings: How a university graduate fled the Gulf War and became royalty

This is a story for the royal history books.

By Maddison Leach
Who is Queen Rania of Jordan? It's a question you may find yourself asking any time her name pops up in the press.
The nation's queen consort has captured our attention time and again for her chic style, effortless glamour and important work for women and children.
But who was Rania before she wore a tiara? How did she meet and fall in love with Jordan's king, Abdullah II? And what goes into looking as elegant as she does?
Keep reading as we answer all these questions and more about Queen Rania of Jordan.

Who is Queen Rania of Jordan?

Meet the radiant Queen Rania of Jordan. (Getty)
Rania Al-Abdullah, 51, is the wife of Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, making her queen consort of Jordan.
Before her husband's ascension, Rania had the title of Princess of Jordan, which she might have kept and become a princess consort, like her mother-in-law.
However, King Abdullah proclaimed her his queen just over a month after he was crowned.

How did Queen Rania meet King Abdullah II and fall in love?

Rania met Prince Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of Jordan at a colleague's dinner party back in January of 1993.
Not much is known about what happened that night, but sparks must have flown because a whirlwind romance followed, and the pair were wed just six months later.
Queen Rania and King Abdullah II on their wedding day in 1993. (Getty)
Their lavish ceremony took place at the Zahran Palace in Amman on June 10, 1993, and it was such a big deal that it was even named a national holiday.
Rania's wedding dress was a total show-stopper, featuring a dramatic collar, intricate gold detailing and an opulent white headpiece and veil.
The gown was a custom creation by British designer Bruce Oldfield, and was definitely fit for a future queen.
But at the time Rania had no idea she would ever bear that title, as it was her husband's uncle Crown Prince Hassan, who was the then heir apparent to the Jordanian throne.
Rania's wedding dress designed by Bruce Oldfield was a complete show-stopper. (Getty)
Abdullah's father, King Hussein bin Talal, had named Hassan his heir in 1965, as he was concerned about having Abdullah, then only three, as his heir during a time of political instability.
It was believed that Hassan would become king when Abdullah's father died, but King Hussein shocked everyone when he named Abdullah his heir on his deathbed in 1999.
His surprise decision led to Abdullah becoming King of Jordan, with Rania as his queen consort. She was just 28 at the time.

How many children does Queen Rania have?

Rania and Abdullah share four children together, two sons and two daughters.
They welcomed their first child and Abdullah's heir, Crown Prince Hussein, on June 28, 1994 and named him for Abdullah's father.
Queen Rania and King Abdullah with three of their four children. (Getty)
Their second child and first daughter, Princess Iman, was born on September 27, 1996, followed by her sister Princess Salma on September 26, 2000.
Rania and Abdullah's fourth child and second son arrived on January 30, 2005, and they named him Prince Hashem.

Was Queen Rania born into royalty?

Unlike many royal brides, Rania wasn't born into a noble or aristocratic family; in fact, she came from rather humble beginnings.
Born in Kuwait in 1970, Rania's father was from the West Bank of Palestine, while her mother was a Palestinian woman with Turkish roots.
She was raised alongside her two siblings in the West Bank town of Tulkarm and worked hard at school, going on to attend university in Cairo, Egypt.
In 1991, Rania completed a degree in business administration and officially graduated from the American University in Cairo.
However, that same year she and her family left Kuwait, fleeing the Gulf War and settling in Jordan's capital Amman, where she would go on to meet then-Prince Abdullah.

What did Queen Rania do before she was married?

With a university education, Rania was never one to sit idly at home and pursued a career of her own long before she became a royal.
Before meeting her husband, she worked at Citibank and for a period of time even had a job in marketing at Apple.
Circumstances obviously changed when she became Queen consort of Jordan, but her work ethic remained.
In the two decades she's been Queen, Rania has championed projects across issues like women's rights, child protection, the environment and youth empowerment.

Rania has used her background in technology to inspire some of her work and even has her own Twitter account, with a bio that reads: "A mum and a wife with a really cool day job."
But her passion has long been education and she has worked hard to advocate for education around the globe, as well as spearheading projects and campaigns in Jordan.
The royal has been recognised for her work countless times, from being named one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes magazine in 2011, to being included as an Honorary Global Chair for the United Nations' Education Initiative.
Rania has also subtly redefined what it means to be a working Arab woman, using her position to connect with the people of Jordan while also pushing for reform and a more open-minded future.
Rania's passions include women's rights, child protection, the environment and youth empowerment. (Getty)

Why is Queen Rania considered a royal style icon?

Rania doesn't just make headlines for her powerful work; she's also a fashion trailblazer and has been praised for her unique style.
From crisp tailored ensembles, to outfits that showcase her heritage and local designers, the queen consort often uses her wardrobe to make a statement.
We could wax lyrical about her impeccable fashion sense, but it might just be easier to show you. Keep scrolling for some of her most iconic looks.
Rania has been flexing her fashion muscles for decades now - just look at this stunning gown she wore at the Orangerie in Versailles Palace in Versailles, France in 2002. (Getty)
The stylish royal has been perfecting her wardrobe for years now, but even back in 2010 she was serving elegant looks like this at the 60th Sanremo Song Festival in Italy. (Getty)
In fact, Rania is such a fashion icon she was invited to the annual Met Gala in 2016 and arrived in this stunning number. (Getty)
She donned a more traditional ensemble conplete with a matching headband in 2016. (Getty)
Queen Rania isn't afraid of trousers either! She donned this baby pink jumpsuit during a visit to the US in 2018. (Getty)
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