Princess Sarvath al-Hassan
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Princess Sarvath El Hassan (born Sarvath Ikramullah) is the wife of Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. She is a Pakistani Muhajir and was born in Calcutta on 24 July 1947, to a prominent Bengali Muslim family of the Indian subcontinent.
Her father, the Bhopal-born Mohammed Ikramullah, was a senior member of the Indian Civil Service in the Government of India prior to Partition. He went on to join the Partition Committee of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later becoming Pakistan's first Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to Canada, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. His last post was as chairman of the Commonwealth Economic Committee. Her Bengali mother, the Kolkata-born Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, was a writer and one of Pakistan's first two female members of Parliament. Begum Ikramullah also served as Ambassador to Morocco and several times a delegate to the United Nations. Princess Savrath has three siblings, including the late Bangladeshi barrister Salma Sobhan and the British-Canadian filmmaker Naz Ikramullah.
The Princess' paternal uncle, Mohammad Hidayatullah, was Vice-President of India and her maternal uncle, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, was the Premier of Bengal and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Some of her other ancestors were Quraishi, include members of the Chishti Order, as well as the Iranian Sufi philosopher, Shaikh Shabuddin Yahya Suhrawardy. Many of her male and female forebearers, on both sides of her family, were poets, writers and academics. She lived in all the countries that her parents were posted to, but mostly received her education in Britain, such as at the University of Cambridge. She first met Prince Hassan in London in 1958, when they were both 11 years old.
Marriage and children
- Princess Rahma (born 13 August 1969)
- Princess Sumaya (born 14 May 1971)
- Princess Badiya (born 28 March 1974)
- Prince Rashid (born 20 May 1979)
Career and controversy
Princess Sarvath served as Crown Princess of Jordan for over 30 years. She initiated, sponsored and continues to support many projects and activities in Jordan, mainly in the field of education, in addition to issues pertaining to women and the family, social welfare and health. For example, much of her work focuses on promoting education about various topics (both locally and internationally), assisting disadvantaged women, encouraging community service and helping people with mental and learning disabilities.
Princess Sarvath and her husband continue to represent Jordan at international royal events, such as the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. In 2013, she rode in the carriage of Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot.
There have been tensions between Princess Sarvath and her sister-in-law, Queen Noor. The tensions between the Queen, who wanted her own son Hamzah to be proclaimed crown prince, and the then Crown Princess Sarvath were exacerbated by the matter of succession during the last days of King Hussein's life. According to off-the-record briefings by anonymous palace officials in Amman, a rumour based story was being circulated that Princess Sarvath had drawn up plans for a redecoration of the entire Jordanian Royal Apartment, before King Hussein had even died of cancer. This allegedly occurring while the King was undergoing chemotherapy in the United States and Prince Hassan was running the country in his place. On the contrary, other sources state that the Princess actually gave orders for some state apartments to be spruced up, in preparing to receive a foreign delegation. Furthermore, certain accounts imply that only a kitchen was renovated for the visit of Germany's then President, Roman Herzog, who was travelling with his native cook.
Some people also believe that the Princess' Pakistani roots, may have (partly) been an obstacle in reference to her husband's accession. Others hold the viewpoint, that the succession change had to do with completely different reasons.
Princess Sarvath of Jordan
|Reference style||Her Royal Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Royal Highness|
(Former) Member of the:
- Council of UNESCO's International Fund for the Promotion of Culture
- Council of Foundation of the International Baccalaureate Organization
- International Board of Voluntary Services Overseas
- International Board of the United World Colleges (present)
Patron of the:
- Young Muslim Women’s Association since 1972
- Malath Foundation for Humanistic Care
- Jordanian Charity Association for Phenylketonuria
- Jordanian Osteoporosis Prevention Society
Chairwoman of the:
- 'El Hassan Bin Talal Award for Academic Excellence' committee
- National Selection Committee for the John F. Kennedy School of Government Middle East Educational Fellowship
(Vice) President of the:
- Jordan National Red Crescent Society from 1994 to 2004 – Honorary VP
- Arab Society for Learning Difficulties since 2001 – Honorary President
- Centre for Phonetics Research at the University of Jordan – President
- Jordanian United World Colleges National Committee and chaired it from 1981 to 1995
- Amman Baccalaureate School and has chaired its Board of Trustees since 1981
- Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown of Japan (1988)
- The Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance (Al Nahda), bestowed by the late King Hussein (1994)
- The Woman of Peace Award, granted by the Rome-based Together for Peace Foundation (1995)
- The Abu Bakr Al Sadik Medal from the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies (1996)
- The degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from the University of New Brunswick (1999)
- The Hilal-i-Imtiaz award from Pakistan (2002)
- Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star
- Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau
Princess Sarvath speaks several languages, including Arabic, English, French and Urdu. Her hobbies include reading, embroidery, cooking and gardening. She also enjoys various outdoor activities, including skiing. The Princess is Honorary President of the Jordanian Badminton Federation and was the first woman in Jordan to obtain a black belt in Taekwondo.
- HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan Majlis El Hassan official website. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- Sarvath's Official Home Page: Biography, Family and Interests
- Arabic News: Princess Sarvath on the Education of Women in the Muslim World
- Jordan: Al-Hashimi Dynasty – Genealogy
- Time.com: From the Magazine | World – Jordan
- The Hashemites: Biographical Information
- "Ascot Racecourse". Twitter.
- Robins, Philip (2004). A History of Jordan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59895-8.
- George, Alan (2005). Jordan: living in the crossfire. Zed Books. ISBN 1-84277-471-9.
- BBC World: Middle East – Battle of the Wives
- Find Articles: The Spectator – February 13, 1999
- The New York Times: Late News – January 22, 1999
- The Royal Forums: Washington Times Library – April 19, 1999
- Royal Ark
- Noblesse et Royautes, Inthronisation of Willem-Alexander, photo