Jordan’s crown prince has married the daughter of a prominent Saudi family in a palace celebration in Amman attended by royals and other VIPs from around the world as crowds gathered in a mood of excitement across the kingdom.
Thursday’s marriage of Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and architect Rajwa Al Saif, 29, had a star-studded guest list, headlined by Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, and including US first lady Jill Biden.
The celebrations hold deep significance for Jordan, emphasizing continuity in an Arab state prized for its longstanding stability and refreshing the monarchy’s image after a palace feud. It even could help resource-poor Jordan forge a strategic bond with its oil-rich neighbour Saudi Arabia.
The bride, wearing an elegant white dress, arrived at Zahran Palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V custom-made for the crown prince’s late great-grandmother. The crown prince arrived earlier in full ceremonial military uniform with a gold-hilted saber.
The families and their guests gathered in an open-air gazebo surrounded by landscaped gardens for a traditional Muslim wedding ceremony known as “katb al-ketab”. The crowd erupted in applause after the signing of the marriage contract.
Several kilometres away, a jolt went through a crowd gathered at an ancient Roman amphitheatre as they watched the couple seal their vows and exchange rings on a wide screen set up for the occasion. After several minutes of silence, thousands were on their feet, waving flags and shrieking with excitement at one of several viewing parties held across the nation.
Samara Aqrabawi, a 55-year-old mother watching the livestream with her daughter, said the ceremony was more impressive than she imagined. “I wish for all mothers and fathers in Jordan and in the world to feel like they’re surely feeling,” she said of the king and queen.
“This is an important day because he is our future king,” said Ahmad al-Masri, an 18-year-old attending with his family. “All of Jordan is watching.”
Jordan’s 11 million citizens have watched the young crown prince rise in prominence in recent years as he increasingly joined his father, King Abdullah II, in public appearances. Hussein has graduated from Georgetown University in the US, joined the military and gained some global recognition, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly. His wedding, experts said, marks his next crucial rite of passage.
“It’s not just a marriage. It’s the presentation of the future king of Jordan,” political analyst Amer Sabaileh said. “The issue of the crown prince has been closed.”