Abdullah II of Jordan
He became the leader of Jordan on February 6, 1998 when his father, the aging and ill King Hussein, made a surprising royal decree that the then Crown Prince Abdullah would govern the country as Regent. Until then, the position of Crown Prince had been held by Hussein's brother Hassan. It was not a universally popular decision. Since Abdullah's mother, Antoinette (Toni) Avril Gardiner was British by birth -- she was renamed "Muna al-Hussein" upon her marriage to King Hussein, created a royal princess by her husband, and remains a popular philanthropic figure in Jordan -- many people in Jordan considered it unfitting that he should be an heir to the Hashemite throne, which traces its descent directly to the Prophet Muhammad.
Abdullah is married to a Kuwait-born, Jordan-bred Palestinian, Rania Al-Yassin (now Queen Rania al-Abdullah), who is as praised for her philanthropic work as she is criticized for her frequent interviews to the Western press and her fondness for haute couture. They have three children: Prince Hussein (born 1994), Princess Iman (born 1996), and Princess Salma (born 2000).