Princess Lalla Salma: Morocco’s Public Health Champion


Princess Lalla Salma, the former wife of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, is a dedicated public health advocate and the founder of Fondation Lalla Salma, a charitable organization leading the fight against cancer. She holds the WHO Gold Medal (2017) and the Grand Cross of Merit from Senegal. Remarkably She also served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Education and Early Life

Salma Bennani was born on May 10, 1978, in Rabat, Morocco. Her father, Abdel Hamid Bennani, was an engineer and businessman. Her mother, Naima Bensouda, passed away tragically when she was young. Raised by her grandmother and educated in prestigious institutions like Lycée Hassan II and ENSEM. She earned a degree in computer engineering. After completing her studies, Princess Lalla Salma briefly worked as an information services engineer at ONA Group. The country’s largest private holding company, controlled by the Moroccan royal family.
On October 12, 2001, Lalla Salma became the first wife of a Moroccan monarch, Mohammed VI.

And was publicly acknowledged, breaking with tradition and assuming a unique public role. This included representing the King and Morocco in official engagements, both domestically and internationally

Her Work and Advocacy

Princess Lalla Salma actively supported various social causes. In 2005, she founded and served as the President of the Fondation Lalla Salma. Remarkably playing a crucial role in cancer prevention and treatment initiatives across Morocco, partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO) on several key projects.
Lalla Salma also championed women’s rights and empowerment. She served as the Ambassador of Goodwill for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). And participated in various initiatives aimed at improving the lives of women and girls in Morocco and beyond.
Princess Lalla Salma represented Morocco on the international stage, attending high-profile events and meetings alongside the King. Her presence at gatherings like the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton showcased Morocco’s international engagement.

Honors and Achievements

In recognition of her contributions, Princess Lalla Salma received several prestigious honors. In Spain, she was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (2005). Senegal honored her with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (2008). The World Health Organization presented her with the Gold Medal (2017).


Princess Lalla Salma

On March 21, 2018, Lalla Salma and the King divorced.
While no longer officially the princess, Lalla Salma took on engagements in a private capacity and was last seen attending one in 2021. Lalla Salma’s contributions to Moroccan public life and her advocacy efforts remain noteworthy. Her commitment to healthcare, education, and women’s empowerment has demonstrably impacted the lives of many in Morocco and abroad.

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