Despite her social media savviness, the Queen is more popular outside of Jordan, where 36 tribal leaders recently compared her to Leila Ben Ali, the profligate and nepotistical wife of the deposed Tunisian leader. In a daring letter to the King, they accused her of meddling in state matters and bestowing property to her family.
“We call on the King to return to the treasury land and farms given to the Yassin family. The land belongs to the Jordanian people,” they said. “We still have loyalty to the Hashemite throne, but we believe that King Abdullah should stop his wife and her family from abuse. Otherwise, the throne might be in danger.” They also criticized her for throwing this past September a lavish 40th birthday party (which set tongues wagging in Jordan) in Wadi Rum, a touristic destination in the southern part of the country. They fretted over “the party’s colossal cost … at the expense of the treasury and the poor.”
The articulate Rania who describes herself in her Twitter bio as a “A mum and a wife with a really cool day job…” has veered mostly away in her tweets from the political upheavals engulfing the Middle East. She does tweet her support for her husband’s stated commitment for reform. On March 29, using the hashtag WeAreAllJo, she wrote: “His Majesty: We don’t fear reform & will respect Dialogue committee’s recommendations on amendments related 2 parliamentary life.” And again: “His Majesty: Vandalism and chaos are rejected and a red line.” But she was silent on March 25 when clashes between government supporters and protesters calling for a constitutional monarchy left more than 100 injured. Regarding Egypt, she tweeted once: ”Egypt where I spent my university years. May you be blessed with security & prosperity for all in this new era.” Same diplomatic tweet for Tunisia: “Closely watching developments in #Tunisia and praying for stability and calm for its people.”