Prince Hassan bin Talal

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Prince Hassan bin Talal
Prince Hassan bin Al Talal-2.JPG
Prince El Hassan bin Talal in Berlin (2006)
Born (1947-03-20) 20 March 1947 (age 76)
Amman, Jordan
(m. 1968)
Hassan bin Talal bin Abdullah bin Hussein
FatherTalal of Jordan
MotherZein al-Sharaf

Prince Hassan bin Talal (Arabic: الحسن بن طلال, born 20 March 1947) is a member of the Jordanian royal family who was previously Crown Prince from 1965 to 1999, being removed just three weeks before King Hussein's death. He is now 20th in line to succeed his nephew King Abdullah II.


Prince Hassan is the third son of King Talal and Queen Zein, brother of King Hussein and uncle of King Abdullah II.

In 1968, Prince El Hassan married Sarvath Ikramullah, daughter of Pakistani politician and diplomat Mohammed Ikramullah, and female Pakistani-Bengali politician, diplomat and Urdu author, Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah. They first met in London in 1958, when they were both youngsters, and have four children together:


Prince Hassan was educated first in Amman. He then attended Sandroyd School in Wiltshire before going on to Summer Fields School, Oxford, followed by Harrow School in England, then Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford,[1] where he graduated BA with Honours in Oriental Studies and later proceeded to MA. Hassan is fluent in Arabic, English, French and German. He has a working knowledge of Turkish and Spanish, and studied Hebrew at university.[2]


In 1965 Hassan was named as Crown Prince of Jordan after the constitution was amended.[3] He was frequently regent during his brother's absences from the country. During Hussein's final illness in January 1999, he was replaced by his nephew Abdullah three weeks before the king died.[4] Abdullah subsequently inherited the throne of Jordan.

In 2009, he joined the project "Soldiers of Peace", a film against all wars and for global peace.[5][6]

On 10 June 2013, he was appointed as the chairman of the advisory board on water and sanitation (UNSGAB) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.[7]

Removal as Crown Prince[edit]

As King Hussein was undergoing cancer treatment in mid-1998, the King assigned Crown Prince Hassan a range of powers and authority to act as regent. With his newly gained powers, Hassan exercised a number of steps to consolidate his position as heir and future king, which included: (1) "orchestrating the removal of the [unpopular] government" of Abdelsalam Majali and appointing former Royal Court chief Fayez al-Tarawneh in his place, (2) organizing dialogue and reconciliation with opposition groups, most prominently the Muslim Brotherhood, and (3) attempting to effect changes at the top of the military. Hassan's attempted changes to the top hierarchy of the military angered King Hussein and led him to resume full duties as king. It is also a commonly cited reason for Hassan's removal as crown prince on 24 January 1999.[8] Hassan's removal took shape through a 14-page typed letter, described by American historian W. Andrew Terrill as "extremely harsh", in which King Hussein expressed "unmistakable disappointment in Crown Prince Hassan" and ordered his replacement with Hussein's son Abdullah. Terrill describes King Hussein as perhaps having felt that Hassan had "interest in shifting the line of succession to his own family", which led to his dismissal as Crown Prince three weeks before Hussein's death.[9]

Crown Prince Hassan's attempted consolidation of power led the sickly King Hussein to break off "intensive" treatments for lymphoma and fly back home to Jordan in order to address the issue.[10] At first, the King attempted to negotiate with Hassan, placing the King's younger son Hamzah as Hassan's crown prince to ensure that the line of succession would not switch to Hassan's line. However, Hassan's Pakistani wife Sarvath vetoed the proposal, particularly because of her reported distaste for Hamzah's American-born mother Queen Noor and her desire to have her son Prince Rashid in the line of succession. King Hussein instead replaced Hassan with his own son Abdullah, who had backing within the military and whose position as eldest son of the king would allow him to be enthroned by royal fiat, unlike Hamzah whose enthronement would require confirmation from the Jordanian Parliament.[10]


Prince Hassan Bin Talal with Irina Bokova during his visit to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (2011).

Prince Hassan has been a very active participant in Jordanian and International civil society. He founded the Royal Scientific Society in 1970, the Annual Bilad Al-Sham Conference in 1978, and the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in 1980. He has also established the Al al-Bayt University in Mafraq, the Hashemite Aid and Relief Agency, the Islamic Scientific Academy, the Triannual Conferences on the History and Archaeology of Jordan, the Amman Baccalaureate School, and the Al-Hassan Youth Award. He founded and chairs the Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Issues, Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues, the Higher Council for Science and Technology, the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, the Foundation for Intercultural and Interfaith Research and Dialogue, the Arab Thought Forum since 1981, the Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center, and the West Asia – North Africa Forum (WANA Forum), and was chair of the Policy Advisory Commission for the World Intellectual Property Organization from 1999–2002.

He has served as the president of the Club of Rome from 1999 to 2007, the board of directors for the Center for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the University of Oklahoma, the Parliament of Cultures, the Royal Jordanian Polo Club, and the International Tolerance Foundation for Humanities and Social Studies, and is honorary president of the Euro-Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development since 2012.[11]

Prince Hassan Bin Talal with Secretary John Kerry (2013).

Prince Hassan is also a patron of the Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit at the University of York,[12] the Swiss Rights and Humanity non-profit organization, the British Institute in Amman, and the Woolf Institute,[13] in addition to being a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, the Chairman the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation,[14] the Advisory Board of British think tank Gold Mercury International, the board of directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (since 2002), the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue (FIIRD) at University of Geneva, Switzerland,[15] the Executive Committee of the International Crisis Group, the International Advisory Board of Forum 2000, the Committee of Personalities of Institut Catala De La Mediterrania, the Informal Advisory Group to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, the International Board of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute,[16] the Trilateral Commission, the Advisory Council for Research of the Center for Democracy and Community Development (since 2010), and the Independent Eminent Experts group of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.




Honorary degrees and doctorates[edit]

Prince Hassan Bin Talal during a press conference in Copenhagen (2006).

In 2002, Prince Hassan was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York, in recognition of his contribution to the field of post-war reconstruction and development.[12] In 2004 he was awarded an honorary fellowship by York St John University, for his lifelong contribution to peace initiatives in the Middle East, humanitarian projects and inspirational leadership in interfaith dialogue.

Awards and prizes[edit]

Prince Al Hassan Bin Talal with Yukiya Amano (Vienna, 2017).

Abraham Geiger Award[edit]

The 2008 Abraham Geiger Award, named after liberal thinker of Judaism Abraham Geiger (1810–1874), was conferred upon Prince Hassan bin Talal. The award ceremony was held in Berlin on 4 March 2008. Past recipients include Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Alfred Grosser, Emil Fackenheim and Susannah Heschel.[28]

"Honouring the President Emeritus of the World Conference of Religions for Peace underlines Prince Hassan's courage in defending pluralism, promoting understanding among different cultures and enhancing dialogue between Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Prince's efforts to promote understanding between the Islamic and Western Worlds are crucial at a time when we seem to be drifting apart, with perceived differences appearing to overwhelm the many things we have in common, both culturally and religiously."[28]


  • (it) Camminare insieme (with Alain Elkann et Elio Toaff), Milan, Bompiani, 2015.
  • Peacemaking : An Inside Story of the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Treaty, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.
  • To Be A Muslim: Islam, Peace, and Democracy, Alain Elkann coauthor, Sussex Academic Press, Handcover, December 2003, (96 pages), ISBN 1-903900-81-6.
  • Continuity, Innovation and Changes : Selected essays, Amman, Majlis El Hassan, 2001.
  • (it) Essere musulmano (with Alain Elkann), Milan, Bompiani, 2001.
  • Christianity in the Arab World, SCM Press with foreword by the Prince of Wales, 1995, (120 pages), ISBN 0-8264-1094-4.
  • Search for Peace : The Politics of the Middle Ground in the Arab East, New-York, St. Martin’s Press, 1984.
  • Palestinian Self-Determination: A Study of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Quartet Books, New York 1981, ISBN 0-7043-2312-5.
  • A Study on Jerusalem, London – New-York, Longman, 1979.


  1. ^ Darwish, Adel (1 December 1998). "The court of King Hussein". The Middle East. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  2. ^ "H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal; Chairman of RSS Board of Trustees". Royal Scientific Society. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009.
  3. ^ Shahin, Mariam (1 September 1998). "The man who would be king". The Middle East. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Hussein sacks brother in favour of half-English son". The Birmingham Post. 23 January 1999. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Prince Hassan bin Talal". Soldiers of Peace. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  6. ^ "Il cast". Soldiers of Peace. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  7. ^ "United Nations Press Release". 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  8. ^ Lansford, Tom (31 March 2017). Political Handbook of the World 2016–2017. ISBN 9781506327150.
  9. ^ Andrew Terrill, W. (2010). Global Security Watch—Jordan. ISBN 9780313366192.
  10. ^ a b Branch, Taylor (2 September 2010). The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House. ISBN 9781849832007.
  11. ^ Euro-Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development Executive Committee[dead link]
  12. ^ a b "His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal; Honorary Graduate & Patron". The University of York; Department of Politics. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Patrons | The Woolf Institute". The Woolf Institute. The Woolf Institute. 26 November 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ "Noon Briefing Highlight | United Nations Secretary-General". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Elijah Interfaith: Muslim Leaders". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 487 & 1660. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  18. ^ "Prince Hassan receives medal from Hungary". Jordan Times. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". 26 November 1983. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1965" (PDF).
  21. ^ "SAR le Prince El Hassan Ibn Talal décoré".
  22. ^ "Jordan News Agency (Petra) |Prince El-Hassan receives Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland". 15 March 2016. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Prince Hassan receives Polish medal". Jordan Times. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Two friends from afar". Taiwan Today. 1 May 1973. Retrieved 4 April 2020. The evening's dinner was given by Vice President Yen at the Chungshan Building on Yangmingshan. In an earlier ceremony, Vice President Yen decorated the Crown Prince with the order of the Special Grand Cordon of the Order of Propitious Clouds.
  26. ^ "SOAS Honorary Fellows". SOAS.
  27. ^ "HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan – Laureaat Freedom of Worship Award 2014 – Laureaten sinds 1982 – Four Freedoms Awards". 21 April 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Abraham Geiger Award 2008". Abraham Geiger College. 2 November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.

External links[edit]

Royal titles
Preceded by Line of succession to the Jordanian throne
19th position
Succeeded by
Preceded by Crown Prince of Jordan
Succeeded by