Crown Prince Hussein marries Princess Rajwa in glittering day for Jordan

Excitement over the nuptials had been building in Amman, with banners featuring the happy couple adorning buses and hanging over winding hillside streets

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Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein married Princess Rajwa in a ceremony attended by Arab and western royalty on Thursday that promoted the kingdom’s image as a bastion of stability in the Middle East.

After her marriage, Rajwa, 29, a Saudi citizen whose mother is a cousin of King Salman, was declared a Jordanian Princess by the royal court.

“I accept the marriage from her to myself, according to God’s book and the way of his Prophet,” the Crown Prince, 28, said during the ceremony at Zahran, a palace in an affluent part of Amman where his grandfather, King Hussein, married the first of four wives.

The wedding is a stepping stone in the grooming of the Crown Prince to one day succeed his father, King Abdullah II, who holds all significant power in the kingdom.

Prince Hussein’s parents, King Abdullah and Queen Rania, welcomed the Islamic ceremony’s 140 guests, which included royalty from around the world.

US President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, attended the wedding, along with her daughter Ashley, in an indication of the kingdom's close ties with Washington.

The UK’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales, were also present.

But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was widely expected to attend the wedding, did not come.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest Arab investor in aid-dependent Jordan and relations between the two countries have been improving, after differences over regional issues sharpened during former US president Donald Trump's term in office.

King Abdullah appointed Hussein as Crown Prince in 2009, after a rift with the king’s half- brother, Prince Hamzah. Official media have been portraying the wedding as a symbol of continuity in the Hashemite monarchy, which has ruled Jordan since its inception as a British protectorate in 1921.

In another symbol of family unity, Princess Rajwa – wearing an elegant long-sleeved Elie Saab dress – was walked down the aisle by the youngest of the Jordanian royal children, Prince Hashem.

Prince Hussein’s younger sister, Princess Salma, could be seen smoothing Princess Rajwa’s gown after she stepped from a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V custom-made for the Crown Prince’s late great-grandmother.

The heir wore his military uniform and carried a gold-hilted sabre for the occasion, which was split between Zahran Palace and Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman’s west.

Prince Hussein and Princess Rajwa's wedding attended by royals from across world

Prince Hussein and Princess Rajwa's wedding attended by royals from across world

The couple travelled between the two in a grand convoy as thousands of Jordanians looked on. Still more attended viewing parties, the most spectacular of which took place in the capital’s Roman amphitheatre.

They were flanked by the Red Motorcade, a collection of eight red Land Rovers and 11 BMW motorbikes, as they waved from an open-top Land Rover Defender. Later in the procession, white horses replaced the vehicles.

Samir, a student who lives in the west of the city, said the whole experience was “nice” and he was impressed with the rhythm of the cars and motorcycles surrounding the couple's car.

“It was worth watching,” he said.

Streets cleared relatively quickly after the royal couple drove by, as some left to enjoy what was left of their national holiday or settle in to watch the rest of the festivities at home.

Excitement over the nuptials – Jordan’s biggest royal event in decades – had been building in the capital, with banners featuring Prince Hussein and his beaming bride adorning buses and hanging over winding hillside streets. Shops had competing displays of royal regalia.

Even those visiting the country were issued with special passport stamps of the couple’s wedding logo to mark the occasion.

Embassies sent best wishes to the couple throughout the day. Ireland sent its “warmest congratulations” and British ambassador Bridget Brind wished them a “lifetime of happiness and lasting joy”.

In a video message, Mr Biden told the couple: “In the years ahead, we are looking forward to working with you and your proud parents. I really wish I could be there with you today.”

Television viewers and live crowds were treated to traditional performances during the reception at Al Husseiniya Palace, where the royal family hosted more than 1,700 guests.

A banquet was to follow, combining “the formalities and diplomatic aspects of a state banquet with the joyous celebration and traditions of a wedding ceremony”, the Royal Court said.

Even in the impoverished Palestinian refugee camp of Al Wehdat, crowds gathered in the main square to watch the occasion live.

Updated: June 01, 2023, 7:47 PM