JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – To her 10.5 million followers on Twitter, Queen Rania of Jordan is “a mum and a wife with a really cool day job”, yet this is a modest understatement from one of the most influential women on the planet. As well as being the wife of King Abdullah II and a mother to four children, Rania is a passionate humanitarian, using her position to promote tolerance, acceptance and the importance of education for girls and young people, and to speak out against child abuse and social injustice.
As she approaches her 49th birthday this week, Rania spoke to Hello! in an exclusive interview about her hopes, dreams and birthday plans. “I’ve never really been big on birthdays”, said the queen. “Some people find this hard to believe, but my absolute least favourite thing is to be the centre of attention”.
“Growing up, my birthday always fell during summer holiday, when all my school friends were on vacation, so I rarely got to have birthday parties. That might’ve seemed unlucky timing back then, but that’s all turned around. Having my birthday in August now means a greater chance to have all my children back home and what better way to spend the day” Rania quipped: “As I blow out my candles, firstly, I’ll be baffled by the sheer number of them! I guess the cake has to grow bigger as I get older”.
On a more serious note, the royal added: “But interestingly, with every passing year, the things I wish for get smaller and simpler. Time makes us want to “uncomplicated” our lives. We gain a better understanding of what matters and they’re the basic things – the relationships you cultivate with a few loved ones and the greater motivation to be better for others”.
Rania and Abdullah share four children aged between 14 and 25 – Crown Prince Hussein, Princess Iman, Princess Salma and Prince Hashem. Rania said “As parents, we tend to fixate on our children’s own needs, but I often remind my children to balance their needs with the needs of other people. I encourage them to be empathetic, kind and compassionate – qualities that are usually taught at home and at a very early age. Most importantly, I always reiterate that they must carry their titles and not the other way around. It’s a responsibility, not a privilege”.