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Sunday, February 7, 1999 Published at 15:10 GMT

World: Middle East

Abdullah sworn in

King Abdullah: Takes office under his father's gaze

The new King of Jordan, Abdullah, has been sworn in following his father's death.

Jordan's sorrow
At an emergency session of both of Jordan's houses of parliament he pledged to uphold the country's constitution.

Wearing traditional Arab head dress and a black tie, he spoke in Arabic to swear allegiance to the constitution and the country.

He said: "I swear by God that I will respect the constitution and remain faithful to the nation."

[ image: Black ribbons adorn pictures of King Hussein]
Black ribbons adorn pictures of King Hussein
He stood to attention in front of a portrait of his father before taking the oath.

The parliament's speaker then said: "May God protect his Royal Majesty King Abdullah and give him success. May Jordan live long, as his Royal Majesty King Hussein intended."

King Abdullah was only made crown prince two weeks ago when King Hussein replaced his brother Prince Hassan.

It was one of King Hussein's last acts as the third member of the Hashemite dynasty to rule Jordan.

Full circle

The new king had been crown prince for a short time in his infancy but Prince Hassan, his uncle, was appointed heir in 1965 to ensure the crown would not pass to a young child at a time of mounting Middle East turmoil.

He occasionally acted as regent in the absence of King Hussein and other senior family members and built up links with young members of Gulf Arab ruling families.

In a national television address shortly after King Hussein's death, King Abdullah said: "He died a believer.

"We will preserve Hussein's legacy by building a strong Jordan and I ask everyone to remain united in their loyalty, like one family.

"He was a father and brother to all of you. His spirit will always remain with us and among us. He will not leave our hearts and souls."

King Abdullah was born in Amman on 30 January, 1962, the son of King Hussein and his second wife, Englishwoman Toni Gardiner, known as Princess Muna.

At four he was sent to school in England. He later studied international affairs at Oxford University, in England, and Georgetown University in Washington before going to the Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK.

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