The two stylish royals making a glamorous entrance at a state banquet. Sofia (left) was on a three-day official visit to Jordan
Photo: © Rex
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Chatting to children at a community centre founded by Rania with help from a Spanish organisation
Photo: © Getty Images


28 APRIL 2006

Two elegant royal ladies from different cultures came face-to-face this week when the queen of Spain travelled to Jordan. In the capital Amman on a three-day visit Sofia and her husband King Juan Carlos enjoyed some Middle Eastern hospitality with a hearty welcome from Queen Rania and King Abdullah.

The camaraderie between the two couples was evident at a glittering state banquet thrown by the Jordanian royals for their Spanish guests. Radiant as ever the younger queen had chosen a close-fitting, midnight blue gown with an embroidered train for the occasion, while Sofia was equally chic in cream satin.

Earlier in the day the two ladies had been hard at work to highlight the fruits of humanitarian cooperation between their countries. Rania was keen to show Sofia around a centre for children, which she founded last summer with help from international organisations including the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation.

The community centre serves vulnerable families in the poorest, most underprivileged areas of the city, providing access to computer facilities, art workshops and a library. Chatting with youngsters as they sat in on a drama class, both royals showed they have a natural touch when it comes to relating to children.

Their ease with kids must be due in part to their family roles - Rania combines her duties with raising four children, including her one-year-old son Hashem, and Sofia is the proud grandmother of seven.

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