His Royal Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
His Royal Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (born January 28, 1950 in Riffa, Bahrain) is the current King of Bahrain (since 2002), having previously been its Emir (from 1999). Upon succeeding his father, King Hamad brought in sweeping political reforms to the Kingdom which included the release of all political prisoners, granting women the right to vote, and holding elections for parliament.
He is the son of Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the previous emir. He and his wife, Shaikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, had six children, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on October 21, 1969, Shaikh Abdullah on June 30, 1975, Shaikh Khalifa on June 4, 1977, and Shaikha Najla on May 20, 1981. The king’s youngest son, 15 year old Prince Faisal ibn Hamad Al Khalifah, died in a car accident on January 13, 2006.
For his secondary schooling, he attended the Leys School in Cambridge, England, and later at military colleges in the United Kingdom (including Sandhurst) and United States (including Fort Leavenworth). On 16 February 1979 he was awarded the Knight of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George from the United Kingdom.
In 2002 he took a stance opposing any ‘unilateral’ military action by the United States against Iraq.
The King has great interest in preserving heritage and continues to indulge in a number of sports activities and hobbies including flying, falconry, golf, fishing, tennis and football. His keen interest in Arabian horses caused him to establish the Amiri stables in June 1977 which was registered in the World Arabian Horses Organisation in September 1978.