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Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Noor Al-HusseinLeap of Faith is the dramatic and inspiring story of an American womans remarkable journey into the heart of a man and his nation.
Born into a distinguished Arab-American family and raised amid privilege, Lisa Halaby joined the first freshman class at Princeton to accept women, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning. Two years later, while visiting her father in Jordan, she was casually introduced on the airport runway to King Hussein. Widely admired in the Arab world as a voice of moderation, and for his direct lineage to the prophet Muhammad, Hussein would soon become the worlds most eligible bachelor after the tragic death of his wife. The next time they met, Hussein would fall headlong in love with the athletic, outspoken daughter of his longtime friend. After a whirlwind, secret courtship Lisa Halaby became Noor Al Hussein, Queen of Jordan.
With eloquence and candor, Queen Noor speaks of the obstacles she faced as a naive young bride in the royal court, of rebelling against the smothering embrace of security guards and palace life, and of her own successful struggle to create a working role as a humanitarian activist in a court that simply expected Noor to keep her husband happy. As she gradually took on the mantle of a queen, Noors joys and challenges grew. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, she gave birth to four children. Meshing the demands of motherhood with the commitments of her position often proved difficult, but she tried to keep her young children by her side, even while flying the world with her husband in his relentless quest for peace. This mission would reap satisfying rewards, including greater Arab unity and a peace treaty with Israel, and suffer such terrible setbacks as the Gulf War and the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin.
Leap of Faith is a remarkable document. It is the story of a young American woman who became wife and partner to an Arab monarch. It provides a compelling portrait of the late King Hussein and his lifelong effort to bring peace to his war-torn region, and an insiders view of the growing gulf between the United States and the Arab nations. It is also the refreshingly candid story of a mother coming to terms with the demands the kings role as a world statesman placed on her familys private life. But most of all it is a love story — the intimate account of a woman who lost her heart to a king, and to his people.
Documents made public show that the agency sought to please the Middle Eastern monarch by setting him up with women while he was in the United States during a spring visit to Los Angeles. A memo shows that the king, 24 years old at the time, "was especially desirous of female companionship during his Los Angeles visit and it was requested that appropriate arrangements be made through a controlled source of the Office in order to assure a satisfied visit. The pair, both divorced at the time, apparently hit it off. The CIA had arranged the encounter after enlisting the help of private investigator Robert Maheu, and another meeting was set up between the pair in New York. There were concerns within the agency about the setup failing, because Cabot was Jewish and Hussein a Muslim.
For more than 20 years, she was his wife and confidante, an American-born beauty who became a Jordanian Queen. And even with the death of King Hussein, no one here is expecting Queen Noor to go away. At age 47, she is now the honored widow of a sovereign whose family includes his 11 children, by four wives. Queen Noor was at the King's side throughout his illness and is said to have been a buoying force as family members gathered around his hospital bed. And as the King lay dying, she won hearts here by venturing into the rain on Saturday evening, her head covered modestly in white chiffon, to circulate outside the hospital gates -- the widow-to-be comforting the bereaved. It was a graceful gesture from the Queen, who has been a target of sniping in the past but whose strength and warmth have recently won her increasing affection, and who is now seen as likely to endure as an important voice behind the Jordanian throne.
In , Ms. Halaby made a drastic change in her life, converting to Islam and marrying Jordan 's King Hussein. King Hussein held a unique position in the Middle East, being a pan-Arabist with a deep understanding of Western culture.
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His father King Talal suffered from mental illness and was forced to abdicate just a year later. The year-old Crown Prince became King Hussein I with a regency council established until he reached the age of The couple separated and were divorced in They had one daughter: Princess Alia This marriage, too, ended in divorce in