"When he's home from college, there's just a whole different energy in the house," Queen Rania tells PEOPLE of her oldest son

By Simon Perry
Updated June 24, 2015 03:50 PM
Credit: Royal Hashemite Court

Meet the future king who attends Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., is Instagram-savvy and is also “one of the guys” – that last one according to his mom, at least.

Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II of Jordan turns 21 on June 28, and the palace has shared exclusive new photos of the young royal to mark the occasion.

“I love his fresh take on things – it keeps his father and me young!” his mom, Queen Rania, 44, tells PEOPLE of her firstborn son, an international history student at Georgetown who also backs up his father, King Abdullah II, in royal duties. “When he’s home from college, there’s just a whole different energy in the house.”

The oldest of four children (his siblings are Princess Iman, 18, Princess Salma, 14, and Prince Hashem, 10), he has had to contend with the expectations that come with being the heir.

“I’m often asked about how I keep the balance between my personal and public life; Hussein has had to deal with that from a very young age and he’s done a good job of maintaining that balance in his life,” Rania tells PEOPLE.

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“He takes his responsibilities very seriously but also tries to have a good time like any young man his age would,” she adds. “His public duties as a young leader are a priority for him, but in his everyday life he goes out of his way to keep a very low profile. To his friends he just wants to be ‘one of the guys’ – and judging from what I’ve seen, he really is.”

His mother says her son, who has the rank of second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces, has a “wisdom beyond his years.” In April he became the youngest person to chair a U.N. security council meeting, leading a debate on how young people can help combat the worldwide threat of extremism and urging that the world’s youth be involved more in countering it.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised him, saying, “He is not yet 21 years old – but he is already a leader in the 21st century.”

He is also an avid supporter of Hearing Without Borders, a program he started last year to aid children with hearing disabilities. On Wednesday he posted a sweet photo in which he greets a young patient who received a cochlear implant.

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