Queen Rania is one of the world's most beloved and respected women in power, and with good reason. Not only is the monarch innately stylish and graceful, but she's also deeply dedicated to improving the lives of others.
And in celebration of another remarkable year for Queen Rania of Jordan, the Raghadan Palace last week chose the mother of four's 46th birthday to release a series of photographs that show her at just some of the many important functions she has attended over the past 12 months.
With some 160 local engagements and field visits – across schools, orphanages and homes for the elderly – the support of her beloved family has, as ever, been invaluable. In one image, released last December to mark the forthcoming new year, she and her husband, King Abdullah II, are seen posing proudly with their four children – Crown Prince Hussein, 22, Princess Iman, 19, Princess Salma, 15, and Prince Hashem, 11 – outside their palace in Amman.
The lynchpin of her family, Queen Rania told US magazine People last year how much she missed Hussein when he was away studying at Washington's Georgetown University.
"When he's home from college, there's just a whole different energy in the house," she said of her eldest son, who has since graduated from the university – which is where Princess Iman has also chosen to study.
Spreading her message
Speaking of Iman and her younger sister Salma, Queen Rania recently told Hala Kawtharani, the editor of Beiruti magazine Laha: "I advise my two daughters to focus on their studies, develop their intellectual capabilities and be open to the cultures of the world, while adhering to their cultural heritage of the country they belong to and the principles they were brought up with."
Committed to empowering women in her homeland to reach their full potential and to see gender as no barrier to achieving their goals, the Queen recently invited Hala to accompany her on three days of engagements that highlighted her ongoing mission to improve education in her homeland.
"The teacher has the greatest influence on the minds and souls of the next generation," explained Queen Rania, who visited the Princess Taghrid School in Al Quwaysimah, Amman, where Hala witnessed at first hand the ecstatic welcome the youngest pupils gave the monarch.
"'Queen Rania, Queen Rania,' they call out in unison, their voices charged with melodic enthusiasm. Little hands reach outwards in eager anticipation," wroteHala.
"As she enters the room with an encouraging smile, they gather around her with not a trace of embarrassment."
Hala also tells how the Queen then moves on to older students in an adjacent room: "Those who have grown up armed with the confidence that she has instilled, as they talk about their achievements and successes."
"Individuals are the ones who make change and individuals are changed by education," explained their Queen.
As she celebrated her birthday last week, Queen Rania was no doubt looking forward to another year of making a difference. Her passion remains as strong as ever.
This report was first published in Laha magazine.