Princess Sarvath al-Hassan

Princess Sarvath al-Hassan (born Sarvath Ikramullah on 24 July 1947) is a Jordanian royal and the wife of Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. She was born in Calcutta on 24 July 1947,[1] to a prominent Muslim family of the Indian subcontinent.[1]

Princess Sarvath al-Hassan
Pricess Sarvath El Hassan 2015 best.jpg
Princess Sarvath in 2015 graduating from her honorary doctorate program
BornSarvath Ikramullah
(1947-07-24) 24 July 1947 (age 73)[1][2]
Calcutta (now Kolkata), British India[1]
(m. 1968)
IssuePrincess Rahma
Princess Sumaya
Princess Badiya
Prince Rashid
HouseSuhrawardiyya (by birth)
Hashemite (by marriage)
FatherMohammed Ikramullah
MotherShaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah


Her father, the Bhopal-born Ambassador Mohammed Ikramullah, was a senior member of the Indian Civil Service in the Government of British India prior to Partition. He went on to join the Partition Committee of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later becoming Pakistan's first Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to Canada, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. His last post was as chairman of the Commonwealth Economic Committee. Sarvath's Bengali mother, the Kolkata-born Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, was a writer and one of Pakistan's first two female members of Parliament. Begum Ikramullah also served as Ambassador to Morocco and several times as a delegate to the United Nations. Princess Savrath has three siblings, including the late Bangladeshi barrister Salma Sobhan and the British-Canadian filmmaker Naz Ikramullah.[1][3]

Her paternal uncle, Mohammad Hidayatullah, was Chief Justice of India from 1968–70, Vice President of India from 1979–84, and served as acting President of India twice.[4] Her maternal uncle, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, was the Prime Minister of Bengal and the Prime Minister of Pakistan.[5][6] Her mother's paternal family are direct descendants of the 14th-century Persian Sufi philosopher, Shaikh Shabuddin Suhrawardy.[3] Many of her male and female forebearers, on both sides of her family, were poets, writers and academics including the social reformer Begum Badar un nissa Akhtar, Ibrahim Suhrawardy and Abdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy.[3] She lived in all the countries that her parents were posted to, but mostly received her education in Britain, and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Cambridge.[3] She first met Prince Hassan in London in 1958, when they were both 11 years old.[7]

Marriage and childrenEdit

Princess Sarvath married Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, in Karachi, Pakistan, on 28 August 1968. They live in one of the oldest houses in Amman and have four children:[1][8]

Career and controversyEdit

Princess Sarvath served as Crown Princess of Jordan for over 30 years. She initiated, sponsored and continues to support many projects and activities in Jordan, mainly in the field of education, in addition to issues pertaining to women and the family, social welfare and health. Much of her work focuses on promoting education about various topics (both locally and internationally), assisting disadvantaged women, encouraging community service and helping people with mental and learning disabilities.[1]

Princess Sarvath and her husband continue to represent Jordan at international royal events, such as the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. In 2013, she rode in the carriage of Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot.[citation needed]

There have been tensions between Princess Sarvath and her sister-in-law, Queen Noor. The tensions between the Queen, who wanted her own son Hamzah to be proclaimed crown prince, and the then-Crown Princess Sarvath were exacerbated by the matter of succession during the last days of King Hussein's life.[9][10] According to off-the-record briefings by anonymous palace officials in Amman, a rumour was circulated that Princess Sarvath had drawn up plans for a redecoration of the Jordanian royal apartment before King Hussein had even died of cancer.[11] This allegedly occurred while the King was undergoing chemotherapy in the United States and Prince Hassan was running the country in his place.[12][13] In contrast, other sources state that the Princess only gave orders for some state apartments to be spruced up in preparation to receive a foreign delegation.[12] Still other accounts imply that only a kitchen was renovated for the visit of Germany's then-President, Roman Herzog, who was travelling with his native cook.[citation needed] Some people[who?] believe that the Princess' Pakistani roots may have been an obstacle in reference to her husband's accession. Others hold the viewpoint that the succession change had to do with completely different reasons.[clarification needed][14]

She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Bath in 2015 to mark her achievements as a longstanding and influential supporter of inspiring young people.[15]


(Former) Member
  • Young Muslim Women’s Association since 1972
  • Malath Foundation for Humanistic Care
  • Jordanian Charity Association for Phenylketonuria
  • Jordanian Osteoporosis Prevention Society
(Vice) President
  • Jordan National Red Crescent Society – Honorary VP from 1994 to 2004
  • Arab Society for Learning Difficulties – Honorary President since 2001
  • Centre for Phonetics Research at the University of Jordan – President
  • Jordanian United World Colleges National Committee; chair from 1981 to 1995
  • Amman Baccalaureate School; has chaired its Board of Trustees since 1981


Princess Sarvath speaks several languages, including Arabic, English, French and Urdu. The Princess is Honorary President of the Jordanian Badminton Federation and was the first woman in Jordan to obtain a black belt in Taekwondo.[1]


National honoursEdit

Foreign honoursEdit


Foreign awardsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h ":: Majlis El Hassan :: Sarvath El Hassan :: Biography". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c d "Princess Sarvath on the Education of Women in the Muslim World". Arabic News. 1998-12-10.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Harun-or-Rashid (2012). "Suhrawardy, Huseyn Shaheed". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  6. ^ Syed Badrul Ahsan (5 December 2012). "Suhrawardy's place in history". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  7. ^ Beyer, Lisa (12 October 1998). "Jordan: Stepping in for the ailing King is a prince politically similar but very different in style". TIME. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  8. ^ Business Optimization Consultants B.O.C. "H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  9. ^ Robins, Philip (2004). A History of Jordan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59895-8.
  10. ^ George, Alan (2005). Jordan: living in the crossfire. Zed Books. ISBN 1-84277-471-9.
  11. ^ "Middle East | Battle of the wives". BBC News. 9 February 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b [1]
  13. ^ "King Hussein of Jordan Said to Name New Heir to Throne". Archived from the original on 5 February 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "HRH Princess Sarvath in Bath". Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e "HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal | HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan". Retrieved 25 May 2017.

External linksEdit