|Abdullah and Hussein|
And then, Hussein changed his mind. Just weeks before succumbing to cancer, he sent his brother a public letter stripping him of the crown prince title. Rumors swirled that there was friction between Hussein's fourth and final wife, Queen Noor, and Hassan’s wife, Princess Sarvath, and that Noor’s influence led to the decision. It was widely stated that Noor wanted her own son, Prince Hamzah, to be king one day (though he was only 18 at the time of his father’s death).
On January 25, 1999, Hussein named Abdullah as his heir. On February 7th, Hussein died and Abdullah became King Abdullah II. He was 37 years old and had two young children; two more would follow later. He proclaimed his wife, Rania, to be queen on March 22nd (as the title is not automatically conferred on the king's consort in Jordan).
In another difference from many existing monarchies - especially those that garner the greatest attention - Jordan's monarch has actual political power. Thus, Abdullah's accession was followed by a series of visits and tours to secure and reassure relationships, a particularly important gesture given the unrest in the region, as well as early modernizations in Jordan's infrastructure.
|The 10th Anniversary|
|With their children, left to right: Princess Iman, Crown Prince Hussein, Queen Rania, King Abdullah, Prince Hashem, Princess Salma|
Photos: Royal Hashemite Court/Petra