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17 April, 2005

Newlyweds, royal-style

A groundbreaking AFP interview with Princess Haya, wife of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed, brings fascinating insight into the royal marriage. We learn that a passion for horses - Princess Haya headed Jordan's equestrian team before her marriage - originally united them.

"As time passed, we soon realised that we also share a passion for poetry and writing as well, for Muslim and Arab history and culture, and for preserving and enhancing our traditions. Much of both of our work is dedicated to this end."

Even more interesting is Haya's perspective on her husband:

"His vision and commitment truly inspire everyone around him. He still retains the innocence of a child. He makes it, like he dreams it."

Although the marriage itself is a political dream - uniting two of the most advanced, open Arabic countries, and providing a strong, media-friendly female figurehead acceptable to East and West - Haya's words suggest it may well be a love marriage first and foremost.

Her words on women are also carefully chosen - revealing a clear intent to bring about change while appeasing traditionalists:

"I am not saying that we should not exert efforts across the Arab and Muslim worlds to further better our chances on the legal and socio-economic and political fronts, but we must respect the women’s choices themselves and to encourage those who simply want to live according their own dreams."



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