Princess Sarvath al-Hassan
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Princess Sarvath El Hassan (born Sarvath Ikramullah) is Pakistani-Jordanian royal and the wife of Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. She was born in Calcutta, then part of the British Raj on 24 July 1947, to a prominent 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 British 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. Sarvath's 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 as 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. Her maternal uncle, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, was the Prime Minister of Bengal and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Her mother's paternal family are direct descendants of the 14th-century Persian Sufi philosopher, Shaikh Shabuddin 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, and received her bachelor's degree from 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. 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 was circulated that Princess Sarvath had drawn up plans for a redecoration of the Jordanian royal apartment before King Hussein had even died of cancer. This allegedly occurred 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 only gave orders for some state apartments to be spruced up in preparation to receive a foreign delegation. Still other 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 believe that the Princess' Pakistani roots may have 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.
- (Former) Member
- 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)
- Young Muslim Women’s Association since 1972
- Malath Foundation for Humanistic Care
- Jordanian Charity Association for Phenylketonuria
- Jordanian Osteoporosis Prevention Society
- 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
- Jordan National Red Crescent Society – Honorary VP from 1994 to 2004
- Arab Society for Learning Difficulties – Honorary President since 2001
- Centre for Phonetics Research at the University of Jordan – President
- Jordanian United World Colleges National Committee; chair from 1981 to 1995
- Amman Baccalaureate School; has chaired its Board of Trustees since 1981
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau
- Pakistan: Grand Cross of the Order of the Crescent of Excellence
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star
- Sweden: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Canada: Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws of the University of New Brunswick
- United Kingdom: Honorary Degree of the University of Bath
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. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.
- Sarvath's Official Home Page: Biography, Family and Interests
- "Princess Sarvath on the Education of Women in the Muslim World". Arabic News. 1998-12-10.
- Jordan: Al-Hashimi Dynasty – Genealogy
- Harun-or-Rashid (2012). "Suhrawardy, Huseyn Shaheed". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
- Syed Badrul Ahsan (5 December 2012). "Suhrawardy's place in history". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- 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[dead link]
- The New York Times: Late News – January 22, 1999
- The Royal Forums: Washington Times Library – April 19, 1999
- "HRH Princess Sarvath in Bath". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
- elhassanbintalal.jo, details of some of her orders and awards in paragraph 12