Hussein bin Talal reigned as King of Jordan from 11 August 1952 until his death in 1999. As a member of the Hashemite dynasty, the royal family of Jordan since 1921, Hussein claimed to be a 40th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad.
Hussein was born in Amman as the eldest child of Talal bin Abdullah and Zein Al-Sharaf. Hussein began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. After Talal became King of Jordan in 1951, Hussein was named heir apparent. The Parliament forced Talal to abdicate a year later due to his illness, and a regency council was appointed until Hussein came of age. He was enthroned at the age of 17 on 2 May 1953. Hussein was married four separate times and fathered eleven children: Princess Alia from Dina bint Abdul-Hamid; Abdullah II, Prince Faisal, Princess Aisha, and Princess Zein from Antoinette Gardiner; Princess Haya and Prince Ali from Alia Touqan; Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashim, Princess Iman, and Princess Raiyah from Lisa Halaby.
Hussein, a constitutional monarch, started his rule with what was termed a "liberal experiment," allowing, in 1956, the formation of the only democratically elected government in Jordan's history.