Salma Bennani is the daughter of a school teacher father, (her mother died when she was young). After obtaining an engineering degree, she went to work for a holding company controlled by the Moroccan Royal Family. This is how she met Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.
Salma is the first Moroccan King’s wife in history to ever receive any kind of title and acknowledgement. The King bestowed on her the title of Royal Princess of Morocco and she is often seen in public. She also represents the King abroad, something very rare for a royal Muslim wife. For instance, she was at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate.
When Mohammed’s father, Hassan II, was king, his wives, (there were two official wives), rarely left the harem, and if they did they were never photographed, or they were heavily veiled. Hassan II also had a harem full of unofficial wives (hundreds). It is tradition that the new King take into his household his father’s harem and provide for them. When Mohammed became King, is released all the women in his father’s harem with pensions, and vowed to only have one wife. Also, Hassan II’s official wives were only known as “mother of the royal children.”
The new King is considered very modern and a reformist. Although it is not outlawed, polygamy is discouraged and regulated. Also, men are now made to pay alimony and child support in divorce situations, as children are not automatically given to the father. The King has also made many political changes and changes as to how the kingdom is run. This, and Morocco’s close relationship/friendship with the west has made Morocco and target for Muslim extremist.
The fact the Morocco’s King’s wife even appears in public and photographs is significant in itself and shows a very modern Muslim kingdom moving toward more modern ideals.