Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan’s royal wedding: Prince William, Kate Middleton join VIPs at lavish ceremony
Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, heir to the throne in one of the oldest monarchies in the Middle East, is officially married to Rajwa Alseif.
On Thursday, the couple tied the knot in an Islamic marriage ceremony at Zahran Palace in Amman, Jordan. It followed a reception at Al Husseiniya Palace with over 1,700 guests. The glitzy event was the biggest royal wedding in years.
Britain’s Prince William and wife Kate Middleton were among the numerous royals from various palaces across the globe who attended the wedding.
Others in attendance included Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, Princess Hisako and Princess Tsuguko of Japan, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, King Philippe and Princess Elisabeth of Belgium and King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands.
William’s cousin, Princess Beatrice, was also spotted with her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
Middleton’s mother, Carole Middleton, and older sister Pippa Middleton were at the reception.
U.S. first lady Jill Biden was among numerous VIPs in attendance.
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“This wedding is a huge deal,” Shannon Felton Spence, royal expert and former head of communications and politics at the British Consulate in Boston, told Fox News Digital.
“They are a super tight-knit family unit,” she said of Jordan’s royal household. “Lots of diplomatic influence, and they have two royal weddings this year, this one being the bigger deal because it is their son, the crown prince. William and Kate’s attendance shows how important it is diplomatically. It’s their counterpart in Jordan. That’s how big of a deal that royal wedding is.”
“Sending the Prince and Princess of Wales is a demonstration by the British Head of State (King Charles) that this is a strategic and important relationship to the U.K. for the long term,” she continued. “Jordan is a stable ally for the West. Sending the Prince and Princess of Wales to the wedding demonstrates the strength of the friendship and the importance of Jordan.”
The British royal family has a close connection with Jordan. Hussein’s mother, Queen Rania, is on the council of William’s Earthshot Prize. Middleton lived in Jordan from ages 2 to 4 while her father Michael Middleton worked for British Airways. In 2021, the Prince and Princess of Wales took their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — on a family trip there.
Hussein’s parents were also guests at the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla May 6 in London. In 2018, William, who is heir to the British throne, made an official visit to Jordan, where he spent much of his time with Hussein.
The bride and groom are destined to become a power couple as they forge a new bond between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
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The celebration is a joyous time for Jordan’s ruling family, which has gone through a rough patch in recent years due to economic troubles and some public infighting. It deepens the ties between two countries in a turbulent region. Additionally, the ceremony gave the world a first glimpse of the man tapped to one day rule the desert kingdom.
In May, Hussein told Vogue Arabia he met his bride “through an old friend from school.” It’s unclear whether he was referring to his high school years at King’s Academy, Jordan, college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., or the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the U.K.
“I consider myself lucky because it is not every day you meet someone like Rajwa,” the 28-year-old said.
The couple announced their engagement in August 2022. They got engaged at the home of Rajwa’s parents in Saudi Arabia with Hussein’s parents, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, in attendance. They made their first public appearance in October 2022. Most notably, they attended the wedding of Hussein’s sister, Princess Iman, in March of this year.
“Jordan is an important ally,” Jonathan Sacerdoti, a royal expert and British broadcaster, told Fox News Digital. “It is a relatively stable presence in a tense neighborhood, bordering war-torn Syria and Iraq, as well as Israel and the disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians. The future king and his bride have strong Western sensibilities.
“The wedding has great significance because the bride is the scion of a powerful Saudi dynasty, strengthening ties between the two countries,” he added. “Jordan is quite a poor country which relies on international aid, so the royal wedding is likely to help it strengthen its ties with oil-rich Saudi Arabia. … Rajwa is the daughter of one of the richest people in Saudi Arabia.”
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Crown Prince Hussein was born June 28, 1994. His path to succession became clear when his father, the king, stripped his half-brother, Prince Hamzah, of the title of crown prince in 2004. Hussein was formally named heir to the throne five years later, at the age of 15. Hussein is the oldest son of the king, 61, who has ruled Jordan as a reliable Western ally and voice of moderation through more than two decades of turmoil in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Iraq.
The Hashemites, as Jordan’s ruling family is known, trace their lineage to the Prophet Muhammad. They dwelled in the Hejaz region of what is now Saudi Arabia for centuries before King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s forces drove them out in 1925. The Hashemites had led the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, a rebellion dramatized by the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia.” The crown prince is named after his grandfather, King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for 46 years until his death in 1999 and remains a beloved figure for many Jordanians.
Rajwa, 29, was born in Riyadh April 28, 1994, the youngest of four children from a prominent Saudi family. Her billionaire father, Khalid Alseif, is the founder of El Seif Engineering Contracting, which built Riyadh’s Kingdom Tower and other high-rises across the Middle East. Her mother, Azza Al Sudairi, is related to Hussa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi, who is said to have been the favorite wife of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.
Rajwa studied architecture at Syracuse University in New York, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2017. The year before, she led a spring break architecture symposium in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that was funded by her father’s company. She earned a degree in visual communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
The bride arrived at Zahran Palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V custom-made for the crown prince’s late great-grandmother. The crown prince was in full ceremonial military uniform with a gold-hilted saber. The look was inspired by the same suit his father wore when he married the queen in 1993.
Vogue Arabia reported that the curve-hugging, long-sleeved bridal gown was designed by Lebanese designer Elie Saab. The bride completed the look with a diamond tiara, a sweeping veil with embroidery and pointed flats.
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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-kitab.” The crowd erupted in applause after the signing of the marriage contract. About 140 guests were in attendance.
Several miles away, a crowd gathered at an ancient Roman amphitheater as they watched the couple seal their vows and exchange rings on a widescreen set up for the occasion. After several minutes of stillness, thousands were on their feet, waving flags and shrieking with excitement at one of several viewing parties held across the nation. After the service, by royal decree, the Royal Hashemite Court announced that Rajwa was officially a princess.
The couple’s red motorcade was a nod to the traditional procession of horse riders clad in red coats during the reign of the country’s founder, King Abdullah I. It consisted of eight bright red Land Rover vehicles. Thousands of well wishers attended free concerts and events in honor of the festivities.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Amman was filled with Saudi wedding guests and tourists. The men wore white dishdasha robes while the women appeared in brightly colored abayas. Congratulatory banners of Hussein and his beaming bride adorned buses and hung over hillside streets. Shops had competing displays of royal regalia.
Palace officials turned to social media to showcase the nuptials, even creating the wedding hashtag #CelebratingAlHussein. Thursday was declared a public holiday, giving crowds the chance to gather and celebrate.
The reception highlighted performances from local artists, a choir group and the national orchestra. It concluded with the bride and groom cutting the cake below a display of fireworks. Guests were welcomed with foraged wildflowers that represent the native landscape and traditional Arabic coffee and music. The reception space was surrounded by olive trees, representing hospitality in both Jordanian and Saudi cultures. The tables were adorned with traditional clay pottery and hand-blown glass.
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The palace’s archways featured blooming, fragrant jasmine. Sacerdoti shared that the previous night the king hosted a dinner where Jordan’s national dish mansaf, lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt, was served to over 4,000 Jordanians.
Sacerdoti, who was in Jordan when the engagement was initially announced, noted that the union is the real deal.
“I was sitting with a representative of the royal court, and I said, ‘Is this a political arrangement designed to sort of soothe tensions and reset ties?’” he recalled. “And the response I got was, ‘No, no, this is true love.’ So, it’s a fairy tale, according to the royal court.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News