HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein is so much more than just a royal. The mother of two is a former Olympic show jumper and classic winning racehorse owner, who served as the president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) for two terms and was also the FEI Honorary President. She is also a global humanitarian who has been recognized by the UN as a messenger of peace. The wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, she always uses her influence to champion human rights in the fields of education, sports, and health both locally and internationally. In honor of her 40th birthday today, we reflect on the mark Her Royal Highness has left in the world and in our hearts.
A First Class Equestrian
In 2015, the Longines Ladies Awards, which celebrate the achievements of women at the highest level of the global equine sports industry, honored HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of the UAE at a ceremony in London. The former Olympic show jumper and classic winning racehorse owner received the Longines award for her role in promoting equestrian sports as a leader and a competitor.
Her Highness, who began horse riding at the tender age of 13, also represented her native Jordan in show-jumping at the 2000 Summer Olympic in Sidney, Australia, where she was also the flag-bearer for her country.
Two summers later, Princess Haya participated in the FEI World Equestrian Games in Spain, before being elected as the president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) in 2006. She would later go on to make history as the first FEI president to be re-elected for a second term.
Princess Haya’s ongoing philanthropic endeavors are too many to count. In recent weeks, Her Highness sent more than 80 tonnes of relief supplies to Papua New Guinea following a devastating earthquake; launched a fund devoted to providing emergency food to people caught up in sudden disaster situations; opened a new university campus in Dubai; and sent an airplane fully-loaded with supplies to those poverty-stricken in Angola— and this was all before May. It’s no wonder then, that Princess Haya was the first ever woman to become Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and a UN Messenger of Peace in 2007, joining the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Malala Yousafzai, and Charlize Theron.
Dubbed the Princess of Hearts by Western media, the royal established Tikyet Um Ali (TUA), a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing hot meals, aid, and employment opportunities to poverty-stricken families in Jordan. Additionally, she is the chairman of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, which was established by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and is now one of the largest humanitarian centers in the world, providing relief all over the globe, including in Syria, East Africa, Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Awards and Accolades
Her humanitarian efforts and selfless contributions to the world certainly don’t go unnoticed. In 2014, Her Highness was made Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. She’s also a recipient of Jordan’s Supreme Order of the Renaissance, the second knighthood order of the Kingdom in recognition of her ongoing efforts to abolish world hunger and poverty both internationally and locally.