Denmark's Princess Benedikte was also standing for election, but after two rounds of voting it was Princess Haya who emerged victorious. The unconventional royal, who has been riding internationally for nearly 20 years, brings a wealth of experience to her new role
Photo: © AFP
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Haya embraces Spain's Infanta Dona Pilar de Borbon after being voted in as the new president
Photo: © AFP


2 MAY 2006

It would appear Zara Phillips isn't the only pretty royal making an impression on the world of horsemanship, as Jordan's Princess Haya has been elected president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sport.

King Abdullah's half-sister, who has been riding internationally since the age of 13, has been entrusted to oversee the work of the IFE for the next four years. The popular royal, who turns 32 on Wednesday, brings many years of experience to her new role.

The princess has competed for her country at numerous events, including the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2002 World Equestrian Games, and, having represented Jordan at the IFE's general assembly on several occasions, she also knows a thing or two about the politics involved in running the organisation.

Taking charge of the IFE, which is the international governing body for all Olympic equestrian sports, is just the latest of many achievements for Haya. The princess, who is the elder of two children King Hussein had with his third wife Alia Toukan, holds a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University. She is also the first Arab, and the first woman, to have become a goodwill ambassador for the UN World Food Programme, not to mention being the first woman in Jordan to win a driving licence for heavy goods vehicles.

The unconventional royal faced a stiff challenge from Denmark's Princess Benedikte for the position, but after two rounds of voting it was Haya who emerged victorious.

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