According to the Associated Press, Jordan’s Prince Hamzah announced his decision to abdicate his right to the throne in a statement published on his personal Twitter page. BBC News recounts Hamzah’s reasoning behind this monumental decision, stating that his “personal convictions” were not in line with the “modern methods of our institutions.” This announcement comes after Hamzah publicly apologized to his brother, King Abdullah II, in March 2022, for his previous comments criticizing his rule. In his apology letter, Hamzah asked Abdullah for forgiveness and promised to never act against the Jordanian government and speak badly about its rulers, reports Reuters.
The Jordanian royal family is seen as a symbol of stability in the Middle East, but an alleged coup attempt last April challenged the government’s stead-fast image, reports BBC News. Two senior government officials were jailed, and Prince Hamzah, the half-brother of King Abdullah, was placed under house arrest, notes the LA Times. King Abdullah and Prince Hamzah have had a contentious relationship since the death of their father in 1999. When King Hussein bin Talal died, Prince Hamzah was named the crown prince of Jordan and Abdullah succeeded his father as king. According to BBC News, many had thought that Prince Hamzah would ascend the throne, as it was widely known that Hamzah was the king’s favorite son.
Five years after King Hussein’s death, Prince Abdullah stripped Prince Hamzah of his position as crown prince and gave it to his own son. King Abdullah claimed that stripping Prince Hamzah of his title would allow him the freedom to undertake any responsibility necessary to accomplish the goals of the Jordanian government, reports Al Jazeera. This action was viewed by most Jordanians as a power move meant to ensure control of the crown for King Abdullah. Since Abdullah transferred the title of crown prince to his son, there has been a visible tension in the Jordan royal family.
The former prince of Jordan has been known to speak out against the government. Since his half-brother’s succession to the throne, Hamzah has been outspoken about the government’s failure to manage domestic affairs and its failure to put the wellbeing of Jordanians above all else, reports Al Jazeera. It was because of his apology after the alleged coup and pledge of allegiance to the King that Hamzah was able to remain out of jail.
The public has not seen Prince Hamzah outside of his house in months, which leads many to wonder whether Prince Hamzah’s renouncement of his right to the Jordanian throne was of his own accord. Theories have been circulating that King Abdullah forced Hamzah to reject his birthright. Hamzah’s announcement also leads to questions about how this will affect his wife and six children.
Although it was Prince Hamzah’s lack of experience that prevented him from becoming King of Jordan in 1999, the prince has an array of educational and professional accomplishments. According to BBC News, the former Crown Prince of Jordan attended the United Kingdom’s prestigious all-boys private school, the Harrow School, and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He then went on to study at Harvard University and spent many years as a member of the Jordanian armed forces, continues BBC News.
It is also noted that his mother Queen Noor had been preparing Hamzah for the responsibilities of being king since he was a teenager. With a list of educational accomplishments and experience in the Jordanian army, many speculate that King Abdullah saw his half-brother as a threat to his rule. Al Jazeera says his concern may stem from Hamzah’s continued efforts to build a strong relationship with the leaders of powerful Jordanian tribes. There are many speculations as to why the late-king’s favorite son renounced his title, but two things are certain: the rift between the brothers has not been mended and Jordan has one less prince.