Saudi architect Rajwa Al Saif and Jordan’s heir to the throne Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah wedded yesterday in a lavish ceremony attended by royals from around the world.
The wedding took place at the Zahran Palace in Amman, the capital of Jordan — the same venue where other important Hashemite kingdom weddings happened, such as that of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania and also that of his father, the late King Hussein bin Talal.
The 28-year-old couple exchanged vows in front of their families and 140 guests, including US First Lady Jill Biden and Britain’s Prince and Princess of Wales, who made an unexpected appearance.
King Abdullah II, who is 61 and has been ruling since 1999, has long prepared his eldest son to take over him, bringing him along for significant visits and meetings, former information minister Samih Maaytah told AFP before.
Prince Hussein became the next in line to the throne in 2009 after his father took away the title from his half-brother Hamzah in 2004.
Hamzah would later be put under house arrest after being accused of trying to overthrow King Abdullah II in 2021 that caused a shock in the royal establishment.
That year Bassem Awadallah, an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was found guilty of plotting to topple King Abdullah II.
In April 2022, Hamzah gave up his royal title, saying that he no longer shared the same values as “our institutions”.
The new Princess Rajwa was born in Riyadh. She comes from the Al Sudayri family of Najd in what is now modern day Saudi Arabia, known to be close to the Saudi royal family.
Other notable guests yesterday included the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, as well as Belgium’s King Philippe and Crown Princess Elisabeth and Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.
The much-awaited wedding was celebrated across Jordan, with thousands gathering to watch the procession in Amman in streets adorned with pictures of the couple and banners.
A royal red procession, used only for special occasions, crossed the capital from Zahran Palace in the centre to Husseiniya Palace in the west.
“We are very happy with the crown prince’s wedding. This is Jordan’s joy,” said Sawsan Rifaia, 26, wearing a white shirt with a picture of the newly weds and a red Jordanian keffiyeh over her white headscarf.
Jordan is relatively stable compared to its Middle East neighbours, but has seen protests in recent years as it struggles with economic problems.
The World Bank says Jordan has a lot of debt and faces around 23 per cent unemployment.
The country depends a lot on foreign aid.
The Jordanian king has a lot of political powers in a nation of 11 million people, a parliamentary monarchy, and he is also the supreme leader of the armed forces.
Hussein followed his father’s footsteps by going to Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and then studying history at Washington’s Georgetown University.
His bride was born and raised in conservative Saudi Arabia but also studied in the West, having studied architecture at Syracuse University in New York.