SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

Middle East

Yearly Review: Arab royals

Copyright 2020, Royal Hashemite Court

This year was not what anyone planned, and the COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of the royals across the globe. The Middle Eastern royals had a rough year with the deaths of two monarchs and forced virtual meetings instead of seeing their people in person. Let’s take a look back at 2020 for the Arab royals.


Princess Salma of Jordan received her wings after her pilot training. The Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, died on 10 January, and a new sultan was chosen the following day. The new ruler is Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. King Willem-Alexander and the Prince of Wales flew to Oman to extend their condolences.


Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan delivered the keynote address at TechWadi in the United States. The final verdict was rendered in a UK court regarding the custody of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya of Jordan’s children. Haya was awarded custody.

Princess Haya
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein arrives at the High Court in 2019. Picture by Mark Thomas / i-Images


In one of the last state visits to take place, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway were welcomed to Jordan by King Abdullah and Queen Rania. More information was also revealed about the court case between Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya; the court said that the Sheikh had threatened the Princess and kidnapped two of his daughters. King Abdullah also addressed the Jordanian people regarding the pandemic.


Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan delivered aid to Irbid, and an outspoken Saudi princess said she was being held prisoner in her country.


Jordan marked their 74th Independence Day; however celebrations were subdued.

Copyright 2020, Royal Hashemite Court


Queen Rania and her elder daughter, Princess Iman visited Umm Qais; Rania visited Ajloun Forest Reserve later in the month. Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema was elected to the International Olympic Committee.


Following the blast in Beirut, Lebanon, the King of Jordan sent medical aid to Lebanon. Queen Rania of Jordan celebrated her 50th birthday, and Royal Central highlighted some of her work.


President Donald Trump awarded Kuwait Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Legion of Merit; the Emir sadly died a few days later at the age of 91. The new Emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was elected the same day, and he was sworn in on 30 September as the late ruler was laid to rest.

Embed from Getty Images

King Salman of Saudi Arabia also made his UN debut in September.


Emir’s choice for heir was named, and Queen Rania joined the Duke of Cambridge on the Earthshot Prize Council.

The quest to free kidnapped Dubai Princess Latifah continues, and we spoke to the leaders of the Free Latifah Campaign.

Photo: FreeLatifa campaign


The King and Queen of Jordan met virtually with distinguished Jordanians with disabilities, and Queen Rania later shared a new family photo to wish everyone a healthy 2021.

Copyright 2020, Royal Hashemite Court

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was also the first royal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.