Jordan crown prince weds Saudi architect in lavish ceremony

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah married Saudi architect Rajwa Al Seif on Thursday in a ceremony attended by royals from across the globe.

The ceremony was held in the mid-century Zahran Palace in the capital Amman — the site of other key royal weddings including that of King Abdullah II to Queen Rania as well as that of his father, the late King Hussein bin Talal.

The king’s eldest son and Al Seif, both aged 28, tied the knot at a ceremony attended by their families and 140 guests, including US First Lady Jill Biden and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Other notables 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 highly anticipated nuptials were met by celebrations across Jordan, with thousands gathering to witness the procession in Amman in streets decorated with pictures of the couple and banners.

A royal red motorcade, reserved for special occasions, crossed the capital to celebrate the bride and groom.

King Abdullah II, aged 61 and on the throne since 1999, has long groomed his eldest son to succeed him, bringing him along to important visits and meetings, former information minister Samih Maaytah previously told AFP.

Prince Hussein became heir to the throne in 2009 after his father removed the title from his half-brother Hamzah in 2004.

Hamzah would later be placed under house arrest after being accused of attempting a royal coup in 2021 that sent shockwaves through the royal establishment.

In April 2022, Hamzah renounced his royal title, saying his own values no longer aligned with those of “our institutions”.

Jordan enjoys relative stability compared to its Middle East neighbors but has seen protests in recent years as it struggles with economic woes.

The World Bank says Jordan is heavily in debt and faces around 23 percent unemployment.

The Hashemite kingdom relies extensively on foreign aid.

The Jordanian king has wide-ranging political powers in the country of 11 million people, a parliamentary monarchy, and also acts as the supreme leader of the armed forces.

Hussein followed in his father’s footsteps by attending Britain’s Sandhurst Military College and then studying history at Washington’s Georgetown University.

His bride was born and raised in conservative Saudi Arabia but is also Western-educated, having studied architecture at Syracuse University in New York.

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