Thursday, August 13, 2009

Consort Profile: Queen Alia of Jordan

Queen Alia al-Hussein of Jordan was the 3rd wife of King Hussein of Jordan and remains a much beloved figure there. She was from a Palestinian family in Jordan though she was born in Cairo, Egypt as her father was a very distinguished Jordanian diplomat; at one point serving as the ambassador to the Court of St James. Because of her father's work Alia moved around alot as a child living in Egypt, Great Britain, Turkey, Italy and the United States. As a girl she loved sports, especially skiing. She thought of following in her father's footsteps as a diplomat but fate was to have a very different future for Alia. In 1971 she moved back to Jordan and took a job with the Royal Jordanian Airlines. She worked to promote tourism to Jordan and was later chosen to oversee preparations for the international water skiing competition at Aqaba.

It was there that she met King Hussein who was quite smitten with the young beauty. Within three months the pair married in a private ceremony on December 24, 1972 at which time she was formally titled Queen Alia al-Hussein of Jordan. She set a standard for being a working mother in the Jordanian Royal Family. King Hussein and Queen Alia had two children together and adopted a third, a Palestinian orphan girl. At the same time Queen Alia set the standard for a modern royal consort in Jordan. She set up her own office and undertook her own activities for various causes and in support of her husband. Every Queen of Jordan since owes Queen Alia alot for blazing the trail that they have all followed.

On her own, Queen Alia supported a number of causes and initiatives with a special focus on women and children. One of her efforts was to push for women's political rights and to be able to stand for election in Parliament. She was a great champion of education as well as the arts and supported many cultural and artistic programs in the schools. She supported and set up organizations to support the history, culture and folk traditions of Jordan. For all of her work she was soon given the nickname, "Mother of the Poor". Sadly, her life was cut all too short when she died in a helicopter crash in Amman on February 9, 1977. The national airport was renamed the "Queen Alia International Airport". There is also a very long list of charitable organizations and cultural, education, artistic and humanitarian organizations which bear her name and are a testament to the great compassion and sense of duty of Queen Alia of Jordan.

6 comments:

  1. She was, at times, a victim of 70's fashion trends but a beautiful lady in any event. The Queens of Jordan do seem to be setting a high bar in that arena.

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  2. I can tell that Queen Alia had unusually strong light in her soul - much more, no offense, than Queen Noor [whose name MEANS spiritual light in Arabic].

    Just to give Queen Alia the credit she deserves.

    I still have a poster in the basement somewhere from Amman, the official portrait distributed of King Hussein and Queen Noor [former Lisa Halaby].
    The Queen is very pretty with her sparkling crown, but she doesn't exude that special quality of light that Queen Alia has.

    Glad to see this detailed background on Alia, unfortunately forgotten by the outside world.
    I myself had always assumed in error that Alia-The Royal Jordanian Airline was named for Queen Alia, like the Amman airport.
    But I checked and the airline was named for the daughter, Princess Alia.

    I remembered the story about the tragic crash of Queen Alia's helicopter, but knew little of her activities.
    I have to mention that Queen Alia died on the day of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the German mystic who was finally beatified on Oct 3, 2004 together with Emperor Charles V as mentioned further up!
    As for Queen Alia, one can feel sure she went to Heaven due to her goodness.
    I would not state that about any old philanthropist or popular public figure, even royals too unless they lived according to God's standards, not humans!

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  3. I've always felt Queen Alia doesn't get the credit she deserves in the rest of the world. Too much of the 'out of sight, out of mind' attitude. She was adored in her time and few people consider that so much of what consorts since have done and are celebrated for was done by Queen Alia first. She really seemed a compassionate person and just as devoted to her family as to her royal work.

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  4. Yes, it's that sincere, not feigned actress -compassion, which shows through her eyes that gives them that unusual light.

    What's strange is that I thought I would look to see if there were any books on her. I remembered that I have one the first wife, Princess Dina, who was not too fascinating.
    Sure enough, today, August 23, is Queen Noor's birthday - 1951.
    No wonder this all came up today!

    Wonder about that crash, though.

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  5. Named my daughter after her.

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