The Prince and Princess of Wales attended the wedding of Jordan’s Crown Prince Al Hussein and Miss Rajwa Al Saif earlier on Thursday.
The Royal couple were spotted in a five-star luxury hotel in the country’s capital the night before the wedding and were seen greeting the bride and groom ahead of their ceremony.
The Crown Prince married his bride, now known as Princess Rajwa Al Hussein, at a glamorous service in the garden of the Zahran Palace in Amman.
The Princess of Wales wore a blush pink Elie Saab dress, the same designer that the bride chose for her gown, and sat in the fourth row with Prince William.
They were joined at the wedding by Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, her husband, as well as Jill Biden, the US first lady, and several members of other royal families from around the world, including the king and queen of the Netherlands.
The Jordanian royal family has shared a long-time close connection with the British royals. King Abdullah II and Queen Rania were among the 2,300 guests at King Charles III’s Coronation in May, as well as for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last year.
The Princess of Wales is believed to have become close to Queen Rania, who sits on the council of Prince William’s Earthshot Prize.
The Prince’s relationship with the groom, meanwhile, blossomed when he made his first trip to the country in 2018 as part of an official royal visit to Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The fellow Sandhurst graduates watched the World Cup together at Crown Prince Hussein’s home and they carried out a number of engagements together.
Jordan holds special memories for the Princess – the Middleton family spent three years there in the early Eighties, when she was two years old, after her father relocated there for work.
In 2021, the Royal couple decided to take their three children to the ancient city of Petra for a private holiday, later releasing a photograph of the family there for their Christmas card.
In a heartfelt nod to the British Royal family, the newly married couple left the wedding for their reception in a 1984 Range Rover that was specially customised for Elizabeth II’s visit to Jordan.
The Wales’s attendance had been kept tightly under wraps, and was only confirmed by Jordanian state media a few hours before the start of the palace ceremony.
The wedding came after a difficult period for the Jordanian royal family, including a bitter public rift between King Abdullah II and Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, his half-brother who was implicated in a failed coup attempt two years ago.
In May 2022, the Jordanian ruler explained that he had placed his half-brother under house arrest because of his “erratic behaviour and aspirations”, in a public letter that was unprecedented in its candour.
The move came in the wake of an alleged coup attempt in 2021 that Jordanian leaders claimed to have foiled by arresting 19 people, including Prince Hamzah and a number of political allies and officials.
The royal furore not only caused shock in Jordan, but damaged the country’s regional relations, especially after a former Jordanian deputy prime minister claimed that Israel had orchestrated the plot.
It was hoped that Thursday’s wedding, the first major royal nuptials in the country in years, would be a joyful distraction for Jordanians.
The country’s 11 million citizens have watched the young crown prince rise to prominence in recent years, as he increasingly joined his father in public appearances.
Crown Prince Hussein was formally named heir to the throne in 2009 at the age of 15. In 2016, he graduated from Georgetown University, in Washington DC, with a degree in international history. A year later, he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
He holds the rank of captain in the Jordanian military and gained some global recognition speaking at the UN General Assembly.
Princess Rajwa, a Saudi Arabian architect, has a degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York and has previously lived and worked in Los Angeles.
Details surrounding the courtship and how the couple met have not been disclosed, though the pair were officially engaged at an Islamic ceremony in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, last August.
Hopes for improved diplomatic ties
Their marriage could also prove to be symbolic of a wider, deeper partnership between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as the latter seeks greater influence in the region following the Biden administration’s decision to reduce its involvement in Middle Eastern affairs.
The bride’s father is a founder of one of Saudi Arabia’s largest engineering firms and her mother is a relative of King Salman.
Ahead of the wedding, Thursday was declared a public holiday in Jordan so that crowds of people could gather after the service to wave at the couple’s motorcade of red Land Rover jeeps.
The tradition is a nod to the historical procession of horse riders clad in red coats during the reign of King Abdullah I, the country’s founder.
Tens of thousands of well-wishers flocked to glimpse the newlyweds as they travelled to their reception and big screens were set up nationwide for crowds to watch the occasion unfold.
After the ceremony, the wedding party moved to Al Husseiniya Palace for a reception, entertainment and a state banquet. The couple were expected to greet more than 1,700 guests at the event.