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Alia Baha ud-din Toukan (Arabic: علياء بھاء الدين طوقان) (25 December 1948 – 9 February 1977) was the Queen consort of Jordan and the third wife of King Hussein of Jordan from her marriage in 1972 until her death in a helicopter crash in 1977. The international airport in Amman is named after her.
A daughter of Sayyid Baha ud-din Toukan (or Touqan), former Jordanian ambassador to the Court of St James's (United Kingdom), Italy, Turkey and Egypt, by his wife, Hanan Hashim. Alia was born in Cairo, Egypt in December 1948. Her father was a Palestinian from Nablus, who had settled in Salt, near Amman. He served King Abdullah I, helped write the Jordanian Constitution, and was Jordan's first Ambassador to the United Nations.
She spent most of her childhood years travelling with her parents during her father’s career in Jordan’s diplomatic corps: she lived in Egypt, Turkey, London, the United States, and Rome. She attended Church School in London with her younger brothers, Alaa and Abdullah. She was educated at the Rome Center of Liberal Arts of Loyola University Chicago. She studied political science with a minor in social psychology, and public relations at Hunter College in New York. She was interested in sports and writing, and she wished to be a diplomat. In 1971, she moved to Jordan, where she worked for Royal Jordanian. She was asked by King Hussein bin Talal to oversee the preparations for the first International Water Skiing Festival held in Aqaba in September 1972.
Alia married the King in a private ceremony on 24 December 1972, and was titled Queen Alia al Hussein (Arabic: علياء الحسين).
They had two children:
They also adopted Abir, a 5-year-old Palestinian girl whose mother had been killed by a plane crash at a refugee camp near the Amman airport.
Queen Alia founded the Office of the Queen of Jordan and gave it an active and public role. The active role she took in Jordan has been emulated by her successors. She financed social development projects, placing particular emphasis on women and children. She often made surprise visits to hospitals and national institutions, aiming to raise service standards and help people to help themselves. In her drive to ensure that children from impoverished backgrounds received their right to education, she fostered close ties with schools such as the Schneller School for Orphans, which took many of the street children that Queen Alia sent there. Her commitment to improving social services continued throughout her lifetime and was still pursued in her name after her death, when King Hussein ensured the continuation of the many educational scholarships given in her honour.
Alia's love of the arts and literature inspired the establishment of libraries throughout the country, including one at the Central Bank of Jordan and another in the King Hussein Medical City. Her interest in the arts led to the founding of the Haya Cultural Centre for Children, the National Folklore Troupe and the Alia Art Gallery. It was also instrumental in conceiving the Jerash Festival for the Arts.
In 1974, Alia called for women to be granted the right to vote and be elected for parliament. On 4 April 1974, a law was promulgated granting women this right; however, the suspension of parliamentary life in Jordan between 1974 and 1989 prevented its implementation.
In 1976, Alia received the Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.
Alia died in a helicopter crash in Amman, Jordan on 9 February 1977. Amman's principal airport, Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), was completed in 1983 and named in her honour. It is located 20 miles south of the city and replaced Amman Marka International Airport (now Amman Civil Airport) as the city's main gateway.
Titles and styles
- 25 December 1948 - 24 December 1972: Miss Alia Baha ud-din Toukan
- 24 December 1972 - 9 February 1977: Her Majesty Queen Alia, The Queen of Jordan
- National honours
- Dame Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali.
- Dame Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance [special class] (24 December 1972).
- Foreign honours
- Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown (Empire of Japan, 10 March 1976).
- Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (Republic of Austria, 1976).
Institutions associated with Queen Alia
- Securing Political Constitutional Rights for Women.
- The SOS Children's Village.
- The Queen Alia Foundation for Hearing and Speech.
- The Farah Rehabilitation Unit at the King Hussein Medical Center.
- The Queen Alia Heart Institute, also at the King Hussein Medical Center.
- Tkiyet Um Ali Queen Alia (Um Ali - The Mother of Ali).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Queen Alia of Jordan.|
- "Jordan remembers Queen Alia". Jordan Times. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Death of a King; Cautious King Took Risks In Straddling Two Worlds Judith Miller, The New York Times, 8 February 1999
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 458. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- Royal Ark
- Princess Haya
Title last held byMuna al-Hussein
as princess consort
|Queen consort of Jordan
24 December 1972 – 9 February 1977
Title next held byNoor Al-Hussein