Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet memories of King Hussein

I'm wearing sunglasses on the extreme right in this snapshot of the 1978 wedding
Jordan today marks the 76th birthday of the late King Hussein.

The online community and social media platforms have been flooding timelines with pictures, quotes and messages of respect. And I was reminded of a very special day in 1978 with His Majesty.

I was honored when my magazine in Beirut, Monday Morning, chose me to cover the wedding of the late Hashemite monarch to Liza Halaby. King Hussein married Queen Noor on June 15, 1978.

I traveled to Amman with our photographer, Krikor (Koko) Ohannes, to cover the event. We were offered a royal souvenir silver box, which is unfortunately packed with the rest of my memorabilia.

Both Koko (who was killed during the Lebanon civil war a decade later) and I were fortunate to get very close to the happy couple. And Koko was the only photographer who dared call out to the late King Hussein and his bride, Queen Noor: “King, King! Kiss together.” Koko was Armenian and his English was not exactly Shakespearean. Both the king and queen smiled and obliged.

It was a magical day I will never forget. 

At the time of his death on February 7, 1999, King Hussein was the longest serving executive head of state in the world and the 40th generation direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

I read that in his final years, King Hussein “enjoyed surfing the Web and developed a strong appreciation for the power of the Internet as a force for progress and understanding.” I thus think a blog evoking sweet memories on this day is fitting.

God bless your soul, King Hussein