Jordan’s former queen says prince who feuded with king is still not free

Then-Crown Prince Hamzah of Jordan and his mother, Queen Noor, in 2004
Then-Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzah with his mother, Queen Noor, during his wedding ceremony in Amman in May 2004.
(Hussein Malla / Associated Press)

Jordan’s former crown prince, who was put under house arrest seven months ago by his half-brother, King Abdullah II, is still not free, his mother the former queen alleged, drawing new attention to a scandal that exposed the royal family to rare public scrutiny.

The rift between Abdullah and Prince Hamzah erupted in April, when the king confined the popular younger royal to his home, alleging that he had conspired with others to destabilize the Hashemite kingdom. Hamzah denied the allegations, and said there was corruption at the highest levels.

Hamzah has not been seen in public for months. The king has said that the matter is being dealt with by the family and that Hamzah is under his care. Separately, Hamzah’s alleged co-conspirators—a former head of the royal court and a distant relative of the king — were convicted of sedition by Jordan’s state security court over the summer and sentenced to 15 years in prison each.


Late Wednesday, Hamzah’s mother, the former Queen Noor, made a rare public comment about the scandal in a tweet marking the birthday of her granddaughter Zein. “Inshallah, her father will be justly freed ASAP, and able to provide a natural, hopeful and uplifting and genuine Jordanian upbringing for her and all the family,” Noor wrote.

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Oct. 4, 2021

She did not elaborate on Hamzah’s situation.

The American-born Noor was the fourth wife of the late King Hussein, Abdullah’s father. She has lived outside Jordan for years, mostly in the United States. She briefly commented on her son’s detention in the spring.

The royal palace declined to comment Thursday.

Hamzah’s role in the royal rift has been at the center of clashing narratives: He is either a champion of ordinary Jordanians suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption or a disgruntled royal who never forgave Abdullah for taking away his title of crown prince in 2004.

The scandal provided a rare glimpse of the inner workings of Jordan’s ruling family, which has typically been guarded and private. Criticism of the king and his family are considered a “red line” in public discourse that Jordanians must not cross.