Jordan’s Queen Rania attends the opening session of the WEF yesterday. King Abdullah said the sweeping developments in the Middle East this year “have opened the way to positive change, but in many places, also created painful economic dislocations.” Image Credit: AFP

Manama: In a highly unusual move, the office of Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan has issued a statement clarifying expenses on her wardrobe and designer clothes, saying that fake news and misleading information have created deceitful impressions.

“At the beginning of each year, some foreign blogs publish estimates of the spending by royals from around the world on clothes and designs. We have also seen a number of inaccurate publications on social networking platforms about the cost of what Her Majesty is wearing during her daily activities,” the office posted on the Queen’s Facebook page.

“Last year, the UFO No More blog estimates of Her Majesty’s spending on her clothing were widely circulated. However, in view of the gap between their assessments and the sheer facts, we asked the owners of the blog not to include Her Majesty in their annual reports.”

The Unidentified Fashion Objects (UFO) No More blog annually posts “a comprehensive look at the value of the new clothing of different royal ladies from around the world.”

Over the years, there has been so much talk about Queen Rania’s spending on clothes that it became the subject of discussions and debates that eclipsed many of her numerous activities in various fields, and the office should have issued clarifications directly and openly then, the statement added.

“Therefore, and in line with Her Majesty’s interest in making the facts accessible to all so that they can make their own thoughts and opinions, be they positive or negative, we have decided to clarify some details,” the office said.

“With Her Majesty the Queen seeking to represent Jordan properly, she is keen on a balance between the appropriate representation and moderate spending. Most of Her Majesty’s clothes are borrowed from fashion houses, offered as gifts, or bought at reduced preferential prices. Fashion blogs calculate their estimates solely on the market value of the clothes, which results in false impressions that do not reflect reality.”

Some people may deplore the principle of ‘borrowing’, but it is a universally accepted practice among fashion houses as a way to highlight their designs. Some may deplore the fact that a person of Her Majesty’s status accepts the principle of ‘borrowing’, but the office does not advertise or promote fashion on any of Her Majesty’s pages on social networking platforms, unless the designs are Jordanian.

The focus on the clothing and spending of leaders’ spouses in many countries and their accusation of waste, whether right or wrong, is not new, and has been used as a political tool historically.

“Today, we see some people in Jordan adopting this approach to portray Her Majesty the Queen as being far from reality, and this is completely false. Therefore, these individuals may reject this clarification and question it in principle, in an effort to create a false public opinion,” the office said.

“Her Majesty the Queen is aware of the criticism that has been circulating, and she had previously emphasised that criticism is an integral part of public work. She supports and respects responsible criticism and always takes it seriously and responds to it. Today, however, we find that some individuals are not content with criticism, but push matters to the point of fabricating information and resorting to ridicule and mockery. This is most unfortunate as it is contrary to the values of our Jordanian society.”

Born on August 31, 1970, Queen Rania obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Cairo in 1991. She applied this, first, to a banking career in Jordan and, later, to the information technology sector.

Queen Rania is recognised for “breathing new life into the public education system, empowering communities and women especially through microfinance initiatives, protecting children and families, and driving innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, especially amongst young people.”

Internationally, she is an advocate for tolerance, compassion and bridge building between people of all cultures and backgrounds. Her efforts to simultaneously challenge stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and promote greater understanding and acceptance between people of all faiths and cultures, have won her global recognition.

Queen Rania is also a global voice for access to quality education for children around the world. She authored several books primarily for children including the Sandwich Swap, inspired by her own childhood experiences.

She and King Abdullah have four children.