How Queen Rania of Jordan's 1993 wedding outfit broke with tradition

One subtle omission on the day she married King Abdullah II laid the foundation for her future as queen

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When Queen Rania married her husband, Jordan's King Abdullah II, in 1993, she broke tradition. She chose not to wear a tiara. It was a subtle shift, but one that spoke volumes about the young bride.

When the pair wed on June 10, 1993, Rania Al-Yassin, then 22, wore a gown designed by British designer Bruce Oldfield, a favourite of Princess Diana of the UK.

Inspired by the formal Syrian court dresses being displayed at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, Oldfield sketched a simple fully-skirted gown with a separate collared bolero jacket, embellished with traditional motifs picked out in gold thread. Embroidery sat on the collar of the jacket — framing the bride's face — and continued around the sleeve hems, on to the waterfall detailing cascading down the front of the gown, and around the hem of the dress. Even the pointed shoes were embroidered to match.

Queen Rania of Jordan waves to the crowds on her wedding day to King Abdullah II in 1993. Reuters

Her hair was in a chic up-do, wrapped with a matching embellished band to hold the veil, and the outfit was finished with matching gloves.

Despite her elegant and regal look, Rania did not wear a tiara. While this small gesture may seem insignificant, it was in fact a powerful statement about her values, and her hopes for the new life that lay ahead.

Born to Palestinian parents in Kuwait, Rania did not come from a titled family, nor did she have a legacy of family heirloom jewellery. Tradition dictates a royal bride must wear jewels from her own family at her wedding, then switch to pieces from the royal collection after she is married. In many cases, of course, the ruling monarch can choose to loan the bride jewellery to wear. This happened when Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in the UK, with Queen Elizabeth II loaning her Queen Mary's bandeau tiara.

Given that Rania was marrying the oldest child of King Hussein and his second wife, Princess Muna, she presumably would have been offered a tiara and jewellery to wear for the ceremony. We don't know the details of these discussions, but we do know Queen Rania did not commission her own tiara until 2003, four years after being crowned.

Since then, Queen Rania has become known, alongside her husband, as a strong voice for social and religious tolerance, working hard to spread a message of equality and share his message of compassion.

Widely adored and respected, Queen Rania's appeal is boosted by her upbringing, but she's also become globally renowned for her keen sense of style, something the world noted that day she got married.

She may have wed into royalty, but by opting not to wear a priceless tiara, she showed the world she would never forget where she came from.

As the world waits for the wedding days of Queen Rania's daughter Princess Iman, and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Rajwa Al Saif, one wonders how they might make a statement with their looks.

See Queen Rania of Jordan's style evolve in 64 pictures

Updated: August 18, 2022, 9:15 AM
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