Jordan prepares for royal wedding of Crown Prince

Jordan is preparing for a royal wedding this week with Crown Prince Hussein set to marry a US-educated architect. 

The 28-year-old Sandhurst-educated prince is marrying Rajwa Alseif, 29, at Zahran Palace – where his father King Abdullah II and his grandfather, the late King Hussein, also married.

Thursday’s ceremony is expected to include some of the same features as previous ceremonies, including a motorcade of red Land Rovers escorting the couple through the streets of the capital Amman after the ceremony.

US First Lady Jill Biden is set to attend alongside royal family members from around the world, including the King and Queen of the Netherlands.

Palace officials have kept quiet about other aspects of the wedding, namely the full guest list and the bride’s dress.

But celebrations kicked off last week with a henna party for Ms Alseif, hosted by Jordan’s Queen Rania and attended by several hundred women.

Thousands of Jordanians also attended a free concert in Amman on Monday. Performers included well-known Arab singers, including Egypt’s Tamer Hosny.

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Ms Alseif, from Saudi Arabia, has a degree in architecture from Syracuse University in New York and has lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Her father is a founder of one of Saudi Arabia’s largest engineering firms and her mother is a relative of Saudi King Salman.

Meanwhile, her husband-to-be was formally named heir to the throne in 2009 at the age of 15.

He graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in international history in 2016 and from the British Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst the following year.

He holds the rank of captain in the Jordanian military and has more than four million followers on Instagram.

Palace officials have not revealed how the couple met or any details about their relationship.

They were formally engaged at a traditional Muslim ceremony in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in August 2022 attended by senior members of Jordan’s royal family.

The ceremony and celebrations are seen as a way of shoring up public support during a time of persistent economic difficulties in the country.

The bride and groom are destined to become a power couple in the Middle East, forging a new bond between Jordan and Saudi Arabia as the latter seeks to transform itself into a regional power broker.

The royal family has also come under pressure due to a public rift between the king and his half-brother.

The last royal wedding to generate as much excitement among Jordanians was the marriage of Abdullah and Queen Rania in June 1993. Queen Rania was born to a Palestinian family in Kuwait and worked in marketing.

Abdullah became King in February 1999 after the death of his father.