Queen Rania’s Interview with ITV News

November 16, 2021

CHRIS SHIP: Your Majesty, thank you very much for talking to us.

QUEEN RANIA: Pleasure.

CHRIS SHIP: Your Majesty, the Duchess of Cornwall in the UK does a lot of work on the issue of gender-based violence and also with girls’ education. And I suppose in Jordan, a country with 700,000 Syrian refugees, it is a real problem and what the center is trying to help with.

QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely. When the Jordan River Foundation first launched its Child Safety Program over two decades ago, the issue of child abuse and violence against women was very much a taboo issue, both here in Jordan and across the region. It was something that people thought should be kept behind closed doors. So this path-breaking work that is being done here, in terms of prevention, intervention, and raising awareness, has really literally almost thrown the doors wide open on the issue. So what the team here tries to do is really strengthen the family unit and foster a culture of child safety.

One of the best ways to prevent violence and abuse is to try to uproot these harmful behaviors before they escalate into violence, to try to instill some healthy family dynamics. So what’s great about community centers like these is that they provide a safe space for people to come and express their emotions freely and to pick up some healthy habits, and it really provides the resources for survivors who need further support.

So of course we have a toll-free family helpline, where people can get consultations and psychosocial support, and where cases are referred to relevant institutions and systems so that nobody falls through the system.

Ultimately, every woman and child should have a happy, safe place at home, and children in particular should be able to count on the family to be a built in support system. So what we try to do here is arm parents with the tools they need to be the best caregivers they can be.

CHRIS SHIP: I wanted to ask you about the Earthshot Prize. You’ve agreed to work with Prince William on this prize. Climate change is clearly a very big issue at the moment – world leaders have been talking about it in Glasgow – and an issue that affects Jordan with your scarcity of water in Jordan. Royals, like Prince Charles has done, can take a lead on this very important issue, can’t they?

QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely. I think our planet is at a critical juncture, and even the most ardent sceptics cannot escape the fact that we have done some great damage to our planet. We know it because most of us in the last few years have had firsthand encounters with the effects of the damage. We all know that if we don’t do something soon and we don’t take this issue seriously, we all stand to lose. The prognosis here in the Middle East is quite dire. In our region, we’re expecting warming to be at double the global average, with temperatures increasing up to 4C by 2050. And as you mentioned here in Jordan, we’re considered the second most water scarce country in the world, and dwindling rainfall still hits us where it hurts.

We’re trying our best to fight back: we’re investing in renewable energies, enhancing energy efficiency, launching a green COVID recovery plan… but a country like Jordan, our carbon footprint is quite small. If we really want to make a difference in the world, we have to do it through global collaboration and shared commitments, and this is where the role of figures such as HRH Prince Charles, who has been speaking about this issue for so long, even when people weren’t listening. And I’m just glad that, at this point, people have actually started understanding what he has been saying for so long and to understand the urgency of his words, and I think he’s a leading figure in the fight for our planet.

Equally, Prince William is just as passionate. It’s been a real pleasure for me to work on the Earthshot Prize because it’s a project that recognizes the potential of every segment of society to make a difference. So, for example, in our first round of finalists, we had a country, a city, and of course individuals and social enterprises. And it’s really uplifting to be part of a project that celebrates human creativity, collaboration, dedication – all these are ingredients that we absolutely need in order to walk back from the brink of climate catastrophe.

So figures like both the Royal Highnesses really make a very big difference in encouraging us, in giving us direction, and really giving hope. So many people feel like this is maybe a lost cause and we shouldn’t even try to do anything, but we absolutely all have a role to play.

CHRIS SHIP: Queen Elizabeth in the UK has been in poor health in recent weeks. I know your royal families are both very close. Have you had an opportunity to express your good wishes to her through Prince Charles?

QUEEN RANIA: Of course. She is somebody we hold in really high regard and she’s someone I look up to personally. I think the whole world turns to her as a symbol of what it means to be a true figurehead and stateswoman, giving inspiration to the rest of the world through her discipline, her hard work, her steady approach to everything. I think we all find comfort when we think of her. We’re always concerned for her health, but she is a strong woman and she, even at this age, is very active – we can all just hope to be as active as she is at that age! So our best wishes are always to her and hopefully she’ll have many more years ahead of her.