Queen Rania Biography

Rania Al-Yasin was born in Kuwait on August 31, 1970. The daughter of Palestinian parents, she attended Kuwait's prestigious New English School, where she was given the opportunity to interact with children of all races and backgrounds.

"There was a very large expatriate community in Kuwait," she recalls. "My classroom had children from many different nationalities, so I grew up with people from Europe, the United States, Africa, the Far East. These interactions made me realize how alike we are, that what makes us similar is much more than what separates us."

rania begins a career

Following the completion of her secondary education, Rania moved to Egypt, where she received a degree in business administration from The American University in Cairo in 1991. Upon her graduation, Rania made tracks once again. This time, she set her sights on Jordan, where she began a career at Citibank before taking a job in information technology at Apple Computers.

Rania's fate changed forever one night in 1993 when she met Abdullah Bin Al-Hussein, the son of Jordan's King Hussein, at a party. "I could never have imagined what fate had in store for me," she says. "At that time, as a recent graduate, I was living and working in Amman, and certainly never expected to marry a Prince of the Hashemite lineage or, one day, become the Queen of Jordan."

rania and prince abdullah are wed

Less than six months later, on June 10, 1993, the pair married in a lavish ceremony. Despite his royal lineage, neither one of them expected to ascend to the throne since Prince Abdullah was not officially a crown prince. That honor belonged to Prince Hassan. Reflecting upon that time, Rania considers Prince Abdullah's status to have been something of a blessing.

"I was lucky, because when I came into the family, I had the opportunity to get used to a new way of life," she says. "My husband was just a prince, and I was just a princess, so I could control, to some extent, the separation of my public duties from my private life."

rania begins a family

Left to their own devices, the young couple began planning a family, and on June 28, 1994, Rania gave birth to their first son, Prince Hussein. Princess Iman followed just two years later on September 27, 1996.

Sadly, the family suffered a devastating setback in 1999 with the death of His Majesty King Hussein. Two weeks before succumbing to cancer, the King shocked many observers around the world by switching the line of dynastic succession and making Abdullah his heir rather than Hassan.

queen rania ascends to the throne

The newly crowned Queen Rania remembers it as being an overwhelming time. "Following the sad passing of His Late Majesty King Hussein, and the ascension of His Majesty King Abdullah, we were faced with enormous responsibilities and challenges," she recalls. "Fortunately, we had had a taste of public life in our roles as Prince and Princess, but still the adjustments to King and Queen were considerable. In fact, we are still learning."

That may be so, but Jordan's new queen took to her role admirably, immediately giving a voice to many of Jordan's disenfranchised. "I work in areas related to child protection and family safety, women's empowerment, the creation of opportunities for youth, and culture and tourism," she says. "Daunting? Yes. Impossible? No. In fact, such challenges energize me.

rania and abdullah extend their family

Queen Rania and King Abdullah have since had two other children. Princess Salma was born on September 26, 2000, and Prince Hashem was welcomed into the world on January 30, 2005. "For now, I am cherishing Prince Hashem and this special time at home with my family," she says. "Being surrounded by them grounds me and reminds me of what is important."