Skip to main content
Original Issue


Jordan's king, an Easterner with western ideas, enjoys a Chicago suburban weekend

Rudyard Kipling may have thought it couldn't be done, but the Easterners of his day bore little resemblance to the young man pictured here. King Hussein of Jordan, one of the best friends the U.S. has in the Arab world, not only looks like a young hot-rodder but acts like one at times. In California he happily flew an Air Force jet at more than twice the speed of sound. Prevented by snow from visiting the Air Force Academy, he cheerfully suggested they drop him in by parachute. The suggestion was not taken up.

These pictures show Hussein in moments of relative relaxation last week at Oak Brook, the 3,000-acre Hinsdale estate of Chicago Paper Millionaire Paul Butler, whose son Michael is an old friend of the young King and a fellow sports car buff. On the way to Oak Brook, Hussein got a chance to study U.S. highway construction at the speeds he likes best as the senior Butler's brand-new Bentley convertible whipped him along Chicago's turnpike at upward of 75 mph. Soon afterward, along with some 20 carefully sifted guests, the King got a look at some of his polo playing host's magnificent mounts and proved that as a horseman he is all his Arab ancestors could wish. "Keep her back, keep her back," the alarmed Butler shouted to his grooms as the King approached one skittish mare in the training ring, but Hussein strolled purposefully forward and in a moment had the lively lady under complete and adoring control.

A lesson from Wyatt Earp's alter ego Hugh O'Brian in the art of the quick draw; an intriguing, 30-minute ride in beer-and-baseball man August Busch's buslike land yacht; a pheasant shoot; and a hunt ball, at which the tireless, energetic King whirled one after another of the fairest ladies of the Midwest around the floor to endlessly repeated melodies from My Fair Lady, completed his rest.

In the tack room of the Butler stables, where the rich aromas of the horse ring mingle with the scents of society, silver polish and well-rubbed leather, Host Paul Butler shows royal visitor his polo trophies as son Michael Butler looks on. Michael knew the King in Jordan and was the one who actually sent the cable urging him to drop in for the weekend.

In the training ring, just off the tack room, the King and TV horse-opera star Hugh O'Brian vie for the attentions of Shook Up, a lady who came near living up to her name when the King first approached. Within seconds, however, the young man whose ancestors practically invented horses had the recalcitrant mare whickering happily at his touch.