Queen mourns beloved husband

By Caroline Faraj
Jordan Times

AMMAN — Regally and with remarkable courage, Her Majesty Queen Noor saw His Majesty King Hussein, her husband of 20 years, through to the end of his final hours on earth.

Aides said Queen Noor kept vigil at the room where King Hussein's body lay after he was taken home Sunday from King Hussein Medical Centre.

“Queen Noor insisted on sleeping in the same room where His Majesty was lying,” one of Queen Noor's aides told the Jordan Times.

“On Monday, she washed King Hussein's face and wiped his head and sat next to him before his sons arrived to wash the body before laying him in his coffin,” said the aide.

A tearful Queen Noor stood at the gate of Bab Al Salam Palace accompanied by female members of the Royal family watching while King Hussein's body was carried away for a 20-kilometre procession through Amman to the Royal Palace Cemetery.

After accepting condolences from her family, she headed for the Royal Court where she paid her last respects to her beloved husband and joined mourners at the burial by staying in a separate tent close by.

Queen Noor, 47, then emerged, wearing a long black skirt and jacket, and covering her hair with a white scarf in a sign of traditional Islamic mourning. During the King's illness, Queen Noor stayed at his bedside at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

“During the last treatment, Queen Noor did not leave the hospital at all,” Jordan's Ambassador to the U.S. Marwan Muasher told the Jordan Times earlier.

Among those paying condolences to the Queen were Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

Prince Abdullah, accompanied by his two sons, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and Prince Talal Ben Abdul Aziz, expressed deep condolences to the Queen and affirmed Saudi Arabia's full support for the Hashemite Royal Family and the people of Jordan.

Prince Abdullah told the Queen how deeply the Saudi family loved and admired King Hussein.

Queen Noor expressed her sincere appreciation to the Saudi prince, and said that Jordanians and Saudis are “one family.” She also described how King Hussein had admired and respected his brothers, the Al Saud family.

She said that King Hussein had wished to do the “umra [the lesser pilgrimage] but it was not God's will.” The Queen told him how much the King had been touched by Prince Abdullah's letter that was sent to the King during his first stay at the Mayo Clinic.

After meeting the Saudi crown prince, Queen Noor moved to a second floor room in Raghadan Palace, where she was joined by HRH Princess Rania Al Abdullah, Princess Basma, all the King's daughters and HRH Princess Alia Al Faisal.

Queen Noor walked strongly with her hands crossed and often bowed to salute soldiers greeting her at the entrance to Raghadan Palace.

Officials and dignitaries who came to pay their respects to Queen Noor and the other Princesses included President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Jacques Chirac and Mrs. Chirac, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, the presidents of Austria and Romania, Queen Beatrix of Holland, Queen Sofia of Spain and her daughters, Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Paola of Belgium, Queen Benjaran Unq Haja Salha and Princess Benjaran Mariam of Brunei, Queen Anne Marie and Princess Chantal of Greece, the Crown Princess of Japan, Princess Lala Hasna, the wife of Prince Aga Khan, President Mary MacAlesse of Ireland, Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina of Bangladesh, Suha Arafat, Leah Rabin and Sara Netanyahu.

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