In recent years, Prince Hamzah has spoken out against high-level corruption, an issue the public associates with privatization. And he has visited tribal leaders and attended tribal events, perceived as a provocative attempt to foment tribal frustration and social discontent.
“He didn’t create these grievances,” said Mr. Ramadan, the former lawmaker. “He tapped into them.”
But before Prince Hamzah reinvented himself as a government critic, he was the epitome of a palace insider. After King Abdullah inherited the crown in 1999 from their father, King Hussein, he appointed Prince Hamzah as his own crown prince and successor.
King Abdullah, 59, is the eldest son of Hussein’s British-born second wife, Princess Muna. Prince Hamzah, 41, is the eldest son of Hussein’s American-born fourth wife, Queen Noor.
Both men were educated at Harrow, an elite British school, and Sandhurst, the British officer-training academy.
But their paths diverged in 2004, when King Abdullah removed his half brother as crown prince — later replacing him with his own son, Prince Hussein, now 26.
The decision devastated Prince Hamzah, according to Jordanian officials. He had been considered a favorite of King Hussein’s, a more polished orator with a more academic mind than King Abdullah, and had been groomed as a teenager for the throne. Suddenly he was ejected from the circle of influence, and cast around for a new role.
At one point he asked his half brother to be commander in chief of the armed forces, a request that King Abdullah declined, according to a person briefed on the conversation.