Prince Abdullah and Prince Faisal
with their parents, King Hussein and Princess Muna, in 1964
Abdullah was born on 30 January 1962 in Amman, to King Hussein, and Hussein's British-born second wife, Princess Muna. He is the namesake of his great-grandfather, Abdullah I, who founded modern Jordan. Abdullah's dynasty, the Hashemites, ruled Mecca for over 700 years—until the House of Saud conquered Mecca in 1925—and have ruled Jordan since 1921. The Hashemites are the oldest ruling dynasty in the Muslim world. According to family tradition, Abdullah is the 41st generation agnatic descendant of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and her husband, Ali, the fourth caliph.
As Hussein's eldest son, Abdullah was heir apparent to the Jordanian throne under the 1952 constitution. Due to political instability, King Hussein though it wise to appoint an adult heir instead, choosing Abdullah's uncle Prince Hassan, in 1965. Abdullah began his schooling in 1966 at the Islamic Educational College in Amman, and continued at St Edmund's School in England. He attended high school at Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in the United States.
King Hussein and Princess Muna had three more children – Prince Faisal, Princess Aisha, and Princess Zein – before they divorced in 1972. Princess Muna stayed in Jordan and had a strong influence on Abdullah's upbringing; Abdullah grew up "unmistakably English in deportment, character and outlook", with a better command of English than Arabic. Furthermore, enduring doubts about Muna's religion made Abdullah an unlikely contender for the throne. In addition to an older half-sister, Princess Alia, Abdullah gained five half-siblings from his father's subsequent marriages: Prince Ali, Prince Hamza, Prince Hashem, Princess Iman, Princess Raiyah.