Much adored and looked up to for being a progressive female voice in the Arab world, HM Queen Rania of Jordan is a powerful advocate for education, health, and women’s rights. Her royal status and humanitarian work combined with her impeccable style have made her an international icon. However, the Jordanian royal is known to remain extremely humble and grounded through it all and much of it can be attributed to her upbringing, education, and inherent generosity. “I just wake up and feel like a regular person,” Queen Rania once said. “At the end of the day, you are living your life for the people that you represent. It’s an honor and a privilege to have that chance to make a difference—a qualitative difference in people’s lives—and it’s my responsibility to make the most out of that opportunity.”
In celebration of her 51st birthday on August 31, we look back at some of the significant moments in her life — from her early childhood, the royal wedding with King Abdullah II, to her coronation, and the births of her children.
Queen Rania was born on August 31, 1970, in Kuwait, to parents of Palestinian descent. She and her two siblings were raised in the West Bank town of Tulkarm.
She graduated in 1991 after completing her degree in business administration from the American University in Cairo. Later, in 2001, she went on to receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Exeter in the UK.
After a whirlwind courtship, the then Prince Abdullah of Jordan wed Rania Al-Yassin in a beautiful royal wedding set at the Zahran Palace in Amman on June 10, 1993.
On June 28, 1994, Queen Rania and King Abdullah II welcomed their first child, Crown Prince Hussein.
Announcing her coronation over state television in 1999, King Abdullah II declared that his wife’s non-royal origins made her better connected to “the hopes and outlooks of people” since she “truly believes in their causes.”
Queen Rania and King Abdullah II pictured with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew on their first official state visit to the Buckingham Palace after the coronation, in 1999.
In 1999, the Jordanian royal is seen greeting Pope Saint John Paul II for the first time.
On September 26, 2000, Queen Rania gave birth to Princess Salma bint Abdullah, her second daughter, and third child with King Abdullah II.
In March 2008, she created her own YouTube channel aimed at engaging Western viewers in a discussion about their perceptions of the Arab world.
Queen Rania is a powerful advocate for reform in education and youth empowerment. Some of her endeavors include – 1GOAL, The Global Campaign for Education, and the United Nations’ Girl’s Education Initiatives, for which she serves as the honorary chair.
In 2009, during a Let Girls Learn event — which is a Barack and Michelle Obama-founded initiative — Queen Rania gave a rousing speech calling for greater support for education in conflict zones.
Queen Rania of Jordan is pictured with Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, UN Foundation, Jennifer Lopez, and Katie Couric at the UN Foundation’s Gender Equality Discussion on September 25, 2015, in New York City.
In September 2016, she received the Andrea Bocelli Humanitarian Award in Florence, Italy, in recognition of her advocacy for refugees, children’s rights, and community empowerment.
On October 2017, Queen Rania visited the Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Queen Rania and King Abdullah II pictured with their four children: Crown Prince Hussein, Princess Iman, Princess Salma, and Prince Hashem.