European royalty is in Jordan to celebrate the marriage of the country's Crown Prince.
Celebrations are in full swing in Jordan as the nation celebrates the wedding of the heir to the country’s throne. International royalty flew in for the event, including senior members of European dynasties, who watched Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah marry Saudi-born Miss Rajwa Khalid Alseif at Zahran Palace.
Only 140 invited guests were present during the couple’s official ceremony, including the UK’s Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine, whose surprise arrival added to the excitement of the day. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, the Crown Princes and Princesses of Denmark, Norway and Sweden took their place amongst the guest list. While Sheikha Moza bint Nasser represented the Qatari royal family.
A royal who's who
A larger wedding banquet at Al-Husseiniya Palace is being held throughout Thursday evening for over 1,700 people. Guests will enter on a path that evokes the Jordanian desert, featuring a 20-metre long handwoven traditional Bedouin rug. Inside the reception space they will be surrounded by native olive trees and a dune-like supply of dates, which represent hospitality. The evening will end with the couple cutting their wedding cake amidst a display of fireworks.
A national holiday has been declared for Jordanian citizens to allow them to participate in the joyous occasion. And they have. Across the country’s 12 governorates, festivals and concerts have been taking place, while in Amman convoys of cars paraded through the streets bearing images of the happy couple and flags, while enthusiastically beeping their horns.
Congratulatory banners with pictures of Prince Al Hussein and his bride also adorn buses, buildings and are visible along every major stretch of road. This is a feel-good moment for the country.
The royal red motorcade – reserved for special occasions – crossed the capital taking the Crown Prince and his new bride to their evening reception. It’s a nod to tradition. The country’s founder King Abdullagh I would mark his entrance riding a white horse, accompanied by other riders clad in red blazers.
The newlyweds were conveyed in a 1984 Range Rover especially customised for a state visit of Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth to Jordan. Since then, ‘Sheer Rover’ as it is known, has been elongated and a cut off roof added.
Well-wishers lined the streets of Amman hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds as the motorcade passed. Others watched events unfold on big screens set up for the day as wedding fever truly kicked in.
The couple waved as they passed-by. The crowds able to see in person, albeit briefly, the gown worn by the bride. A white gown designed by Elie Saab, which featured a lengthy train embroidered with flowers. On top of her head Rajwa was crowned with a sparkling diamond tiara.
Husan Tellawi from Amman told Euronews, “This happens, really, only every 40 years. It’s a very special day for every Jordanian.” Another well-wisher simply said she “loved the royal family”.
Best wishes have been pouring in on a site set up for the couple. ‘A thousand, thousand congratulations,’ read one post. Others wishing the newlyweds a ‘blessed marriage,’ and a ‘happy life’. One comment summed up the general mirth of the day saying, ‘Our joy is your joy’.
His Majesty King Abdullah II, who has been on the throne since 1999, has long groomed his eldest son to succeed him. Many in the capital see the public celebrations of the Crown Prince’s wedding as a way of bringing him closer to the people and consolidating his future as leader of the country.
The King not only has wide-ranging political powers but also acts as supreme leader of the armed forces. Jordan is a key western ally.
Watch our report from Amman in the video player above