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The four weddings of King Hussein

As we prepare for Princess Iman of Jordan’s wedding, we look at the weddings of her grandfather King Hussein, who was famously married four times.

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Three years after his accession to the throne, King Hussein’s first wife was Dina bint Abdul-Hamid, who was also his distant cousin. Dina was born on 15 December 1929 in Egypt. She met her future husband in London in 1952, and their engagement was announced in 1954. On 19 April 1955, they were married at Raghadan Palace. At the time, Dina was 25-years-old, while the King was 19.

The New York Times reported, “Sherifa Dina was not present at the marriage ceremony in Zahran Palace. According to Islamic tradition, the marriage contract is signed and witnessed by the men in the families of the bride and bridegroom. Earlier in the day, however, the 25-year-old Queen-to-be joined Hussein, who will be 20 in November, on the balcony of the palace, situated atop one of Amman’s seven steep hills. They acknowledged the cheers of thousands of his subjects, who had swarmed to the palace gates.”

During the following festivities, Dina wore a tiara and a white lace wedding dress made in Egypt. Queen Dina gave birth to a daughter in 1956, but the marriage soon turned unhappy. They were divorced on 24 June 1957, and Dina was restyled as Princess Dina.

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King Hussein’s second wife was the British-born Antoinette Avril Gardiner. Her father was posted to Jordan, and she reportedly met the King at a party given by her father. A month before their wedding, Toni became a Muslim and took on the name Muna al-Hussein. Their wedding took place on 25 May 1961.

Muna wore a cream-coloured silk gown embroidered with diamonds and pearls, and she also wore a headdress of orange blossoms. She was not named Queen and was instead known as Princess. They went on to have three children, including the current King Abdullah II. They were divorced on 21 December 1972.

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King Hussein’s third wife was Alia Bahauddin Toukan, who was born in Egypt in 1948. At the time of her birth, her father was ambassador to Jordan for several countries. She moved to Jordan in 1971 and was asked to oversee preparations for the first edition of the International Water Skiing Festival to take place that year. The request came from King Hussein, whom she had met when she was a child in Egypt while her father was tutoring Hussein.

On 24 December 1972, she married the King in a private ceremony in her father’s home with just 12 guests. This was just three days after his divorce from Princess Muna had become final. There were no official celebrations to mark the wedding, but a photo was released showing the bride in a white dress and a flowery headdress. In contrast to his second wife, Alia did receive the title of Queen. Alia and Hussein went on to have a son and a daughter before Queen Alia’s tragic death in a helicopter crash in 1977.

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King Hussein’s fourth and final wife was the American-born Lisa Najeeb Halaby, who took on the name Noor Al-Hussein upon becoming a Muslim. She was working for Alia Airlines when she met King Hussein, and they became friends. They were married on 15 June 1978, and Noor received the title of Queen.

The New York Times described the ceremony as “quiet.” The only pageantry was a Jordanian Army band with no national celebrations. Noor wore a simple white silk crepe wedding gown with a high neckline and loose sleeves from Christian Dior. She also wore a diamond bracelet and matching diamond earrings. For the following photocall, Noor also wore a white bridal veil, and she carried a bouquet of white orchids. The wedding was also attended by King Hussein’s ex-wife Princess Muna. Noor and Hussein had four children together before she was widowed in 1999.