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At age 27, she married a king. By 47, sooner than she had thought possible, she was a royal widow.
For someone who spent much of her life in the public eye, Noor — elegant as ever at 69 — remains something of an enigmatic figure after a long widowhood spent largely in the United States and Britain: deliberate in her utterances, immersed in humanitarian causes, never remarrying. Hamzah has now sworn fealty to his half brother King Abdullah II, an indirect target of his vociferous criticisms. Noor has confined her public statements to a single carefully worded tweet. InLisa Halaby was a kind of royalty in her own right, wealthy and well-schooled, American aristocracy by way of a Lebanese-Syrian immigrant grandfather.
Her father was appointed by President Kennedy to lead what was then the Federal Aviation Agency, and later served as chairman of Pan American World Airways, but she has described an emotionally remote and sometimes difficult childhood home life. Her parents eventually divorced. Out of that, she developed a poise that could sometimes veer toward steely. She was a member of the class entering Princeton inthe first to which women were admitted. Trained in architecture and urban planning, she was already an independent, accomplished professional by the time she met Hussein — a thrice-married widower 16 years her senior.
And the king was still mourning the death of his beloved third wife, Queen Alia, in a helicopter crash. But what ensued, by all s, was a notably egalitarian partnership, particularly by regional and royal standards. Many Jordanians were initially suspicious of this foreign-born woman, a Christian convert to Islam, and she was determined to win over her new compatriots. But she hewed closely to tradition when it counted.
Several allies, including the United States, have expressed strong support for Abdullah.
Suffering from lymphatic cancer, Hussein rallied for a time, but his fatal deterioration was a rapid one. In what was widely believed to be a final gift to Noor, he deated Hamzah, then just 18, as next in line to the throne after Abdullah. To make Hamzah the heir outright would have required constitutional changes, because the monarch was allowed to deate only a brother or an eldest son as his successor.
There is little doubt that in raising Hamzah, Noor groomed him as a potential monarch. Though Western-educated, he was schooled in classical Arabic, in contrast to Abdullah, who spoke English with his British-born mother and later struggled to summon any semblance of eloquence when he gave speeches. Hamzah, now 41, even looks the part, bearing a much stronger resemblance to the late king than the round-faced Abdullah, who favors his mother.
Some longtime observers of the region believe Noor might have failed to anticipate how popular and effective Abdullah would become in the early years of his reign. But recent years have been marked by discontent over economic malaise and the social stresses of taking in millions of refugees from Iraq and Syria, with the added blow of the pandemic.
Laura King is a Washington, D. She ly served as bureau chief in Jerusalem, Kabul and Cairo. Senators race to overcome final snags in infrastructure deal. With Olympic seats empty, the hottest ticket in Tokyo is not the Summer Games but pro wrestling. AP fact check: Trump is relentless in election fabrications. All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing. Business Visionaries. Hot Property. Times Events. Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. Queen Noor of Jordan in By Laura KingTracy Wilkinson.
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