Hussein of Jordan

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King Hussein and his wife, Queen Noor.
King Hussein and his wife, Queen Noor.

Hussein bin Talal (Arabic: حسين بن طلال Ḥussayn bin Ṭalāl; November 14, 1935February 7, 1999) was the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 1952 to 1999. He ascended after the 1952 abdication of his father, King Talal.

Life and career

On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah I traveled to Jerusalem to perform his Friday prayers with his young grandson, Prince Hussein. He was assassinated by a gunman at the instigation of Colonel Abdullah Tell, ex-Military Governor of Jerusalem, and Dr Musa Abdullah Husseini, on the steps of one of the holiest shrines of Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hussein chased after the assailant who shot back at him; the young prince is said to have been saved by a bullet fortuitously striking a medal that his grandfather had recently awarded him and insisted he wear.

Abdullah's eldest son, King Talal was crowned as King, but within a year was forced to abdicate because of mental illness (described as schizophrenia by Queen Noor in her book Leap of Faith). His son Prince Hussein was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on August 11, 1952 at the age of 16 and was enthroned on May 2, 1953.

His reign was controversial. While it saw Jordan remain one of the more liberal states of the Middle East, it was also marked by the events of Black September when the king ordered the violent expulsion of the PLO from the country. The country also defied the west and the other allied leaders by siding with Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, which alienated the kingdom from most of the Arab world. In 1994 King Hussein led negotiations to end the official state of war with the State of Israel resulting in the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. The king wrote three books: Uneasy Lies the Head (1962), about his childhood and early years as king, My War With Israel (1969), and Mon Métier de Roi.

King Hussein was an avid amateur radio operator. He also loved to fly airplanes (prop and jet) as well as helicopters.

He died of complications related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on February 7, 1999. The King had been suffering from the disease for many years and had visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, United States on a fairly regular basis for treatment. Just before his death, he changed his will and disinherited his brother, Hassan, who had been crown prince for several decades, and designated his eldest son, Abdullah as heir. The King was at the time of his death one of the longest serving leaders in international politics.

Personal life

He married four times. His four wives were:

King Hussein was succeeded as king by his eldest son Abdullah II of Jordan.

External links

Preceded by:
Hashemite King of Jordan
Succeeded by:
Abdullah II

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