Her Majesty Queen Zein al-Sharaf (1916-1994)

Her Majesty Queen Zein al-Sharaf was one of the strongest pillars of the Jordanian monarchy and a highly intelligent women. She is remembered for her pioneering efforts in charitable works, and her support for women’s rights. The late Queen Mother was born in Egypt on August 2, 1916 and married King Talal bin Abdullah in 1934, with whom she bore three sons and a daughter; His Majesty King Hussein, His Royal Highness Prince Muhammad, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan and Her Royal Highness Princess Basma.

Queen Zein played a major role in the political development of the Kingdom in the early 1950s. She took part in the writing of the 1952 Constitution that gave full rights to women and enhanced the social development of the country, as for example in 1944 when she created the first women’s union in Jordan. Queen Zein’s political instincts and courage allowed her to successfully fill a constitutional vacuum after the assassination of the late King Abdullah in 1951, while the newly proclaimed King Talal was being treated outside the Kingdom. The Queen again performed this role in the period between August 1952, when King Hussein was proclaimed monarch, and May 1953 when His Majesty assumed his constitutional duties at the age of eighteen.

Following the influx of Palestinian refugees into Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, she led national relief efforts to help the tens of thousands of refugees. She was also instrumental in establishing the women's branch of the Jordan National Red Crescent Society in 1948. Throughout her life, she tirelessly dedicated time and energy to the Um Al Hussein orphanage in Amman. A true pillar of modern Jordan, Queen Zein al-Sharaf is a symbol to all Arab women of the balance between Islamic tradition and a modern outlook.

Upon his return from cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic, King Hussein pays respect to his mother, Queen Zein al-Sharaf, September 24, 1992. Allan