King of Morocco
Moulay Hassan ben Mohammed Alaoui was born on July 9, 1929, the oldest son of Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef. Hassan was educated at the Imperial College at Rabat and earned a law degree from the University of Bordeaux.
In 1953, the French forced Hassan's father -- the sultan -- into exile, but he returned to head the newly independent Morocco. Hassan became the head of the Royal Army. After his father's sudden death in 1960, Hassan became the ruler of Morocco.
He established a parliamentary democracy, but after the parliament became ineffectual, he dissolved it and ruled directly. Hassan survived two assassination attempts. He served as a bridge between the Arab world and Israel, facilitating early negotiations between them. At his death in 1999, there was mourning throughout the world for a monarch who had played a pivotal role in Middle East affairs over the previous four decades.