Born in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on 31 August 1970, Rania Al-Yassin is the daughter of Palestinians, Faisal Sedki al-Yassin, a pediatric doctor, and Ilham Yasmin. It was before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War that her parents moved from the West Bank to Kuwait. Rania has an older sister, Dina, and a younger brother, Magdi.
Rania, bilingual in Arabic and English, attended Jabriya, Kuwait’s private New English School, before beginning her university education in 1987 at American University in Cairo, Egypt; there, she studied business and computer science. She graduated with her degree in Business Administration in 1991. She had aspired to be a businesswoman before meeting and marrying the future King of Jordan.
Her family left Kuwait a year after the Gulf War began in 1991 as Iraqi forces invaded the country in 1990. Rania and her family settled in Jordan, and the future consort began working for Citibank and Apple Inc. in Amman.
By January 1993, Rania had met Prince Abdullah at a dinner party hosted by Abdullah’s sister, Princess Aisha. Although a bit wary of dating and marrying a royal, their engagement was announced two months later. They were married on 10 June 1993 in a traditional Muslim ceremony.
Their first child, Prince Hussein, was born in Amman on 28 June 1994. He was not named heir apparent until 2004, replacing his uncle, Prince Hamza, after his father, King Abdullah, stripped Hamza of his title and heir apparent status. He became Crown Prince of Jordan in 2009.
The couple’s second child, Princess Iman, was born on 27 September 1996, and another daughter, Princess Salma, joined the family on 26 September 2000. Finally, the family was complete with the birth of Prince Hashem on 30 January 2005.
In January 1999, Abdullah was proclaimed heir apparent by his father, King Hussein, replacing Hussein’s younger brother, Hassan. On 7 February 1999, King Hussein passed away after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, making Abdullah King Abdullah II of Jordan. On 22 March, Abdullah issued a proclamation that made Rania the Queen of Jordan; otherwise, she would have only held the title of Princess Consort.
Since becoming consort, Rania has made education, community empowerment, and the youths of the country her primary focus. Additionally, she works in areas regarding global education, microfinance, and cross-cultural dialogue. Queen Rania said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, “As you educate a woman, you educate the family. If you educate the girls, you educate the future.”
Some of the organisations that have Queen Rania’s support include The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, Jordanian River Foundation, The Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, The Jordan Education Initiative, and Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans.
Due to the ongoing situation in the Middle East over the past couple of decades, Rania has expressed her support for the many refugees; many of these refugees have ended up in Jordan. Further, Her Majesty works to help stop the misconceptions about Islam worldwide and defeat the spread of extremist ideologies. During a 2015 interview with Nabila Ramdani from MailOnline, Queen Rania said, “We have to stand together united to defeat these groups, and to reduce our suspicion of the West as well, just as the West should not fall for stereotypes about Muslims, and Islamophobia, otherwise it is groups like IS who win.”
Her passionate advocating has led her to international roles such as Co-Founder and Global Co-Chair of 1GOAL, Honorary Member of the International Advisory Council for the International Center for Research on Women, and Honorary Chairperson for the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, among others.
Queen Rania has written several books geared toward children and can be found on Amazon. Her first publication was in 2000, The King’s Gift, as a tribute to King Hussein. All proceeds from the book benefit underprivileged children across Jordan. Her latest book was The Sandwich Swap in 2010 with Kelly DiPucchio, based on her own childhood.
The Queen is very active on social media with regular posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She also has her own website that champions the causes close to her heart.