Jordan Jordan's royal family coat of arms

The Jordanian royal family

From left: Queen Rania, Princess Salma, Prince Hussein, King Abdullah,
Prince Hashem and Princess Iman

Although King Abdullah II is a direct descendant of the sixth-century prophet Muhammad, the Hashemites have only been monarchs of Jordan since 1946, when the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (later Jordan) was formed and Abdullah I was declared king.

Members of the dynasty - who take their name from a second century ancestor - have been movers and shakers in the Arab world for almost 2,000 years, however. The family was first linked to Jordan in 1920 when, following the Conference of Remo - which gave Palestine to Britain and Syria to the French - a Hashemite called Abdullah planned to attack French troops who had forced his brother to relinquish his newly founded kingdom in Syria.

Discouraged by the British from this course of action, Abdullah was persuaded instead to take over the government of Transjordan, a section of Palestine excluded from the "Jewish national home" clauses. The territory, which remained under British tutelage, was recognised as an independent state six years later.

When World War II ended, a new treaty was signed with Britain and in May 1946 Abdullah became king. When, six years later, he was assassinated, he was succeeded by his elder son Talal. The new king's mental health led to him being deposed by the Jordanian parliament within the year, however, and replaced by his son Hussein. On May 2, 1953, the incoming ruler's 21st birthday, Hussein acceded to the Hashemite throne.

Known as the father of all Jordanians, King Hussein ruled for almost half a century before dying of cancer in 1999. In a last-minute move he altered the line of succession, designating his eldest son Abdullah his heir, a role previously filled by the ailing king's brother, Prince Hassan.

The official royal website can be found at