Continuing our summer series on the lives of those who married into the royal families of the world and their lives pre-marriage, this edition takes a look back at the pre-royal life of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan or Rania Al-Yassin as she was known prior to her marriage to the now King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Rania Al-Yassin was born on 31 August 1970 to Palestinian parents, Faisal Sedki al-Yassin (a pediatric doctor) and Ilham Yasmin (a housewife) in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Although she was born in Kuwait, according to Her Majesty’s Office, Rania has held Jordanian citizenship since birth.
Her parents moved from the West Bank to Kuwait just before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. She has one older sister, Dina – who is three years her senior – and one younger brother, Magdi – who is just a year younger than Rania. The family regularly visited their family in the West Bank town of Tulkarm.
For her compulsory education, she attended the private New English School, which is a private school in Jabriya, Kuwait. Her primary and secondary schooling were all in the country. In 1987, she began her university education at American University in Cairo, Egypt, where she studied business and computer science. She graduated with her degree in business administration in 1991. She would later attend The School of Business Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, where she earned a post-graduate degree in business management.
As someone graduating with a business degree, Rania would later say that she thought she might end up starting her own company after graduation. Aside from her native Arabic, she also speaks English fluently.
The Gulf War began in 1990, and by 1991, Rania and her family left Kuwait, like many others during this time of war when Iraqi forces invaded the country. The settled in the Jabal Al Ashrafiyeh neighbourhood of Amman, Jordan, where Rania would briefly work in marketing at Citibank and Apple Inc., in Amman after graduation from university; while working for Apple, Rania served as a marketing executive.
In January of 1993, Rania met then, Prince Abdullah of Jordan at a dinner party, hosted by Abdullah’s sister, Princess Aisha. Her Majesty admitted that she was a bit wary knowing that he was the son of the King of Jordan. Two months later their engagement was announced. Abdullah and Rania were married in a traditional Muslim ceremony on 10 June 1993. British designer Bruce Oldfield created her wedding dress. Abdullah’s grandmother, Queen Zein al-Sharaf Talal was said to be impressed with the future queen and reportedly said to Rania, “You’re a diamond that will be added to the Hashemite family.”
They have four children together: Crown Prince Hussein (b. 1994), Princess Iman (b. 1996), Princess Salma (b. 2000) and Prince Hashem (b. 2005).