Royal Wedding Look-Back: King Hussein and Lisa Halaby
Today marks the 35th wedding anniversary of the late King Hussein I of Jordan with the American Elizabeth Halaby.
Elizabeth (Lisa) Halaby was born in the United States into a prominent Arab-American family. She is the oldest daughter of Najeeb Halaby, former Pan American World Airways President, and Doris Carlquist. She has one sister, Alexa, and one brother, Christian. Lisa joined the first freshman class at Princeton to accept women, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning.
King Hussein announced his engagement with the 26 year-old Lisa Halaby on May 16, 1978 after three months of dating. Seven days later, the King and Lisa held a press conference at Al Diafa Palace. The 42 year-old King said about his fiancee, “She has many fine qualities that somehow cause me to feel a change I thought was impossible,” (King Hussein had suffered depression after his third wife’s death in February 1977). Answering the question from a journalist about how she fell in love with the King, Lisa answered: “It was his human qualities that drew me to him on a purely instinctive, mental and emotional basis.”
On the morning of the wedding, Lisa converted to Islam and adopted the name that the King had chosen for her: Noor Al Hussein (the light of Hussein).
The wedding took place on June 15th, 1978 at Zahran, Queen Zein Al Sharaf’s Palace, in Amman. The bride wore simple white silk crepe floor-length gown designed by Christian Dior and white flat shoes made in Lebanon. The dress was plain and virtually unadorned with a high neckline, belted waist and a skirt that was loose and flowing. Its sleeves were full and three-quarter length. The long veil made of tulle held in place with a headdress of leaves and lilies. Her cascade wedding bouquet had white Phalaenopsisorchids brought from her paternal grandfather’s brother’s farm, Camile Halaby, in Medellin (Colombia) and trailing ferns. Lisa only wore as accessories a diamond and platinum bracelet on her right wrist gifted by King Hussein and the upper part of diamond earrings gifted by the Crown Prince Fahd of Arabia Saudi.
The Katb Al Kitab ceremony, as it is called the ceremony which the bride and groom sign the marriage contract, started at 16:30 in the Oriental Room. Following tradition, only attended the ceremony the male members of the family: bride’s father, the King’s brothers, the Commander of the Armed Forces and the religious leader of the Hashemite Royal Family, Sheikh Ibrahim Al Kattam.
During the four-minute ceremony Noor and King exchanged vows in Arabic: “I have betrothed myself to thee in marriage for the dowry agreed upon” she said, and King replied, “I have accepted you as my wife for the dowry agreed upon.” Then the King and Noor signed the contract, in this moment she received the title of Queen.
Although they wanted a private wedding, after the ceremony, the newly couple posed outside palace to the 150 foreign correspondents and photographers.
The wedding reception was celebrated at the Palace’s gardens in presence of family members, friends and the diplomatic corp. Among the 200 guests also was Princess Muna, King Hussein’s second wife. King Hussein’s daughters, the twins, Princesses Aisha and Zein, Princess Haya and Abir Muhaised were the bridesmaids.
Before leaving for their honeymoon, the King and the new Queen cut with a sword the seven tiered wedding cake while sounded the Blue Danube waltz and they drank a toast with orange juice.
This was the fourth marriage for King Hussein. In 1955, he married Sharifa Dina and after their divorce, he married with British Tony Gardiner (Princess Muna) in May 1961. In 1972 Hussein and Muna divorced, and in the same year, he married the Palestinian Alia Toukan, who died in an accident in February 1977.
King Hussein and Queen Noor have four children: Prince Hamzah (b.1980), Prince Hashim (b.1981), Princess Iman (b.1983) and Princess Raiyah (b.1986).Filed under Jordan
Tagged King Hussein of Jordan, Queen Noor al-Hussein of Jordan, Wedding Anniversary.