AMMAN — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II’s graduation from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Friday, one of the world’s foremost military institutes, marked another major step in his academic and military career.
Crown Prince Al Hussein graduated after undergoing 44 weeks of gruelling physical and academic training as part of the Academy’s strict curriculum.
His Majesty King Abdullah graduated from Sandhurst in 1981, while Their Majesties the late King Hussein and the late King Talal each graduated from the RMA in 1952 and 1929, respectively. A number of renowned military leaders and politicians from around the world are also among Sandhurst’s alumni.
The Crown Prince enrolled at Sandhurst after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, last year, with a bachelor’s degree in international history. His Royal Highness had graduated in 2012 from King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.
The Crown Prince, alongside fellow officer cadets, participated in the Sovereign’s Parade on Friday, which marked the passing out of the Senior Division at Sandhurst, where King Abdullah represented Queen Elizabeth II as the Reviewing Officer.
The Parade’s segments and military marches showcase the values of discipline, accuracy, and dedication the pinnacles of soldiering.
In interviews with the Jordan News Agency (Petra), instructors and supervisors at the Academy described the training as tough and demanding, noting that it encompasses psychological and physical aspects, and teaches the ability to take decisions under pressure.
The instructors said the Crown Prince had displayed a high sense of discipline, perseverance, adaptability, and self-confidence, noting that His Royal Highness worked diligently and seriously, displaying marked progress throughout his training at the Academy.
His Royal Highness was humble and disciplined during the training, the instructors added, praising the Crown Prince’s leadership skills.
Sandhurst cadets commit to a tough regimen, characterised by severe discipline. Cadets must bull their boots and iron their clothes themselves, while undergoing physically taxing military training within a strict schedule. Their rooms are also routinely inspected.
Around 800 new cadets enrol in the Academy every year over three terms, while 10 per cent of the cadets quit training for a number of reasons, mainly due to injury.
Major Rebecca Hepworth, a platoon commander and a staffer at Sandhurst, said the cadets’ 44-week training includes academic courses on military history, defence, international affairs, and communication studies, as well as basic military skills such as shooting, navigation, and how to live in the field.
Hepworth said the training tests cadets out of their comfort zones to enable them to "cope with any challenge that comes across their way once they commission out of Sandhurst".
The training is physically and mentally demanding, she noted, citing the intensity of the exercises. "The day at Sandhurst can be anything from 6 o’clock in the morning till about 10 o’clock at night," she added.
The cadets are "constantly tested and constantly put into new circumstances", and they have to deal with the stress they are put under to make logical decisions and then produce outcomes, Hepworth said.
Warrant Officer John Shimmins, a company sergeant major at Sandhurst, said each stage of the training brings its own complications and hardships.
For some of the newly arrived cadets, their first term at the Academy is the hardest time and a time away from home, he added.
Progressing through the intermediary and into the senior level, the cadets learn to apply the skills they have gained, and some of them start to find their own way and their own leadership style, Shimmins explained.
He said the Crown Prince is a popular member of his company, where "everyone gets along with each other."
"People would go to him for advice," and His Royal Highness would go to others for advice, Shimmins added, noting that the Crown Prince has become a key member within the company.
Crown Prince Al Hussein holds the rank of second lieutenant in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and has participated over the past years in several military training courses in the field, in addition to military parachuting, special operations, and helicopter piloting.