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Jordan celebrates royal wedding of Crown Prince Hussein

Published June 1, 2023last updated June 1, 2023

The 28-year-old heir to the throne in Jordan has married 29-year-old Saudi-born Rajwa Alseif in a lavish celebration, which British royals and senior US dignitaries attending the ceremony.

Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Rajwa Alseif of Saudi Arabia
Jordan declared a public holiday for the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and his fiancee Rajwa AlseifImage: Albert Nieboer/Royal Hashemite Court/ Royal Press Europe/picture alliance

Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah and Saudi Arabia's Rajwa Alseif tied the knot during ceremonies in the Jordanian capital Amman on Thursday.

Prominent royals and political dignitaries from around the world took part, including Britain's Prince William and Princess Kate, as well as US First Lady Jill Biden and US climate envoy John Kerry.

The royal wedding is being celebrated across the kingdom, with the palace declaring a public holiday and arranging an array of celebrations and concerts.

Analysts view the royal wedding as a way for Jordan's royals to project stability following a 2021 palace feud and as the country struggles with economic issues and unemployment. King Abdullah II's half-brother and former crown prince Hamzah was accused of being involved in a coup attempt. Hamzah never faced trial.

What do we know about the couple?

The 28-year-old Crown Prince Hussein is a captain in Jordan's army, having previously graduated from Georgetown University in the US.

He's gained recognition on the international stage by speaking at the UN General Assembly. He is set to succeed his father, King Abdullah II, in ruling the country. Previously, his uncle Hamzah was stripped of the crown prince title.

Hussein's parents, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania married some 30 years ago in the same palace where Thursday's nuptials are taking place . Ahead of the wedding, Jordan's palace posted pictures of Hussein and his father at a dinner banquet.

The crown prince has married Saudi Arabia's Rajwa Alseif — a 29-year-old who comes from the same maternal family as Saudi King Salman. Her billionaire father owns a construction company in Saudi Arabia.

Rajwa studied at the Syracuse University School of Architecture in the US state of New York. She then moved to Los Angeles and worked at an architecture firm while also earning a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

She is an avid equestrian, and is passionate about riding, often pictured with horses on social media and in magazine photoshoots.

What were the celebrations in Amman like?

On Thursday afternoon, the marriage ceremony took place at Zahran Palace in the capital Amman. The couple signed a marriage contract at the palace in front of the guests.

A royal decree was then issued that gave the bride the title of Her Royal Highness Princess Rajwa al-Hussein.

Following the ceremony, the couple took part in a procession to another palace for their dinner reception.

Crowds gathered at the wedding procession, where the newlyweds waved from a motorcade of red Land Rover jeeps. The procession took the couple to another palace for the dinner reception.

The red-hued procession is a nod to a tradition started during the reign of the country's founder King Abdullah I, where processions consisted of horse riders wearing red coats.

The palace has also released official social media tags for celebrating the wedding, as well as an official logo for the occasion, which translates to "we celebrate."

What are the wider implications of the royal wedding?

The wedding comes at a time when Jordan is experiencing economic difficulties and grappling with high youth unemployment. The wedding could also serve to shore up an ally in oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

"Of course, it's joyful," a 25-year-old bookseller who decorated his shop for the festivities told the Associated Press news agency. "But in a couple days, we'll just go back to our problems."

The ceremony also serves to shore up Prince Hussein's image following the crisis with the former crown prince in 2021.

"It's not just a marriage, it's the presentation of the future king of Jordan," political analyst Amer Sabaileh told the agency. "The issue of the crown prince has been closed."

rs/kb (AP, dpa)