Five facts about the King of Jordan

King Abdullah II laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington (Getty)
King Abdullah II laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington (Getty)

King Abdullah II of Jordan is currently on a three-day official visit to New Zealand. Here are five things you need to know about him.

1. He is called 'the Warrior King'

King Abdullah II of Jordan is regarded as the most influential leader of a Muslim nation in the world, by the Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. He's 54, he's done 35 years of military service and he's been dubbed "the Warrior King".

Five facts about the King of Jordan

(Reuters)

2. The Queen is a royal rockstar

His wife, Queen Rania of Jordan, has 2.6 million Instagram followers, 5.7 million Twitter followers and more than 10 million Facebook followers. She has used her position to advocate for education and children's welfare. She's also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in the music video for Black Eyed Peas song 'End Poverty - Be the Generation'. Her husband is a Trekkie, and while he was still a prince, he appeared briefly in the Star Trek: Voyager in a non-speaking role.

Five facts about the King of Jordan

3. He wants to wipe out Islamic State

King Abdullah II is fiercely committed to wiping out Islamic State - last year he declared he was going to wage a "harsh war" against the militants after the brutal execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasabe.

4.  He has real power even though Jordan is a democracy

Jordan holds Parliamentary elections every four years, but the King can overrule the powers of Parliament. So it's not quite a democracy in Western terms.

5. Homosexuality is legal in Jordan

This isn't specifically about the King but it is worth a mention - same sex sexual activity was legalised in Jordan in 1951. They even have a general interest gay magazine published in Jordan called My.Kali, the first LGBQT mag in Arabic.

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