The eldest child of the late King Hassan II, Moroccans find pride in the princess as a champion of children and women’s rights.
Rabat – Morocco celebrates Wednesday, August 26th, Princess Lalla Meryem’s 58th birthday.
Princess Lalla Meryem was born in 1962 in Rome. As the first-born child of the late King Hassan II and the older sister of King Mohammed VI, Princess Lalla Meryem holds an important position in Morocco’s royal family.
Throughout her life, Princess Lalla Meryem has used her title and position within the monarchy to advocate for Morocco’s most vulnerable, focusing in particular on Moroccan women and children.
After graduating from Mohammed V University in 1981, King Hassan II named his daughter president of the Social Work of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR). This kicked off her reputation as a social justice-oriented princess.
Princess Lalla Meryem’s current roles include presiding over the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child (ONDE), the Moroccan Association of Support for UNICEF, the Children’s Parliament, and the National Union of Women of Morocco (UNFM). She is a member of the Honorary Committee of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.
Representing the royal family
The princess often represents the royal family when high-level delegations arrive in Morocco. She has welcomed several royal visitors to Morocco since 2018, including Princess Astrid of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain, and the UK’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In November 2019, the princess welcomed Ivanka Trump to Morocco and hosted the White House advisor and daughter of US President Donald Trump during her stay.
Ivanka traveled to Morocco to assess the development of the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative, which aims to economically empower 50 million women by 2025.
As an advocate for Moroccan women’s empowerment, Princess Lalla Meryem represented the monarchy during the Trump delegation’s high-level visit.
The princess greeted Ivanka upon her arrival at the Rabat-Sale airport. The following evening, Princess Lalla Meryem stood by Ivanka’s side as they arrived at a royal dinner at the palace in Rabat, and sat next to her during the meal.
The following month, Lalla Meryem opened the Diplomatic Circle’s 2019 International Charity Bazaar at the Mohammed V National Theater in Rabat. The annual event aims to support Moroccan NGOs focused on education, health, and empowering rural women.
Supporting women and girls on International Women’s Day
As president of the UNFM, Princess Lalla Meryem led Morocco’s celebration of International Women’s Day this year on March 8 at the Bahia Palace in Marrakech.
During the celebrations, the princess awarded “Lalla Meryem Scholarships” to girls in secondary school and high school graduates from underprivileged areas, particularly outside of cities. The scholarships are an initiative of the UNFM and aim to keep girls in school and prevent drop-outs.
The ceremony also introduced the “kolona maak” (We are all with you) platform and app offering support and guidance for vulnerable women.
The platform is available day and night to direct women to the relevant service for their needs, including police, prosecutors, gendarmerie, or UNFM reception centers. The platform also offers professional assistance on topics such as employment, training, income-generating projects, and entrepreneurship.
Notably, the International Women’s Day celebrations saw the signing of the 2020 Marrakech Declaration.
The declaration represents the commitment of several Moroccan government ministries to fight violence against women, support victims of gender-based violence, combat sexist stereotypes, and promote a culture of non-violence against women.