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Jordan’s Crown Prince Is Getting Married. Here’s What We Know About the Lavish Royal Wedding

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Updated: | Originally published:

For the first time in almost 30 years, a future King of Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court married in a lavish wedding ceremony on June 1.

Crown Prince Hussein—the 28-year-old eldest son and heir of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania—wed Rajwa Khaled bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al Saif, 29, after announcing their engagement in August.

The Jordanian royal family, known as the Hashemites, have ruled Jordan since 1921—first as emirs of the Emirate of Transjordan under a British protectorate and later as kings after the country gained independence from Britain in 1946. The Hashemites hail from the House of Hashem that ruled Mecca from as early as the 10th century, and King Abdullah II is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

The last time a Hashemite wedding of this scale took place was in 1993 when Abdullah II, then a prince, married Rania Al-Yassin, born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. The ruling couple share three other children: Princess Iman, 26, who married Jameel Alexander Thermiotis, a Venezuelan venture capitalist of Greek descent in a smaller ceremony in March; Princess Salma, 22; and Prince Hashem, 18.

As part of festivities last week, Queen Rania hosted an opulent henna party for her future daughter-in-law and hundreds of women at the Madareb Bani Hashem, where she delivered a glowing welcome speech.

“I’ll never forget how happy his majesty and I were when Al Hussein told us he wanted to marry Rajwa,” Rania told guests, according to People. “She is the perfect answer to all my prayers for him. May you always be each other’s source of happiness and support.” She also said she believes her father-in-law, King Hussein—who was proclaimed king at age 16 in 1952 and reigned until his death in 1999—would be proud of the way she has raised his grandson.

As Hussein and Rajwa’s wedding day unfolds, here’s everything we know so far about the event.

What to know about Crown Prince Hussein

Crown Prince Hussein is a captain in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England, as well as Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In 2015, Hussein became the youngest ever person to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss how young people can confront extremism and terrorism. He also addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 2017, and has supported his father on diplomatic overseas visits including meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in May 2022, and again in February.

King of Jordan Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah of Jordan meet with U.S. President Joe Biden
King of Jordan Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah of Jordan meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 2, 2023.Royal Hashemite Court/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The royal notably did not grow up as heir to the throne; Abdullah stripped his half-brother Prince Hamzah—the former heir apparent—of his title in 2004. In April 2001, Hamzah issued a video message claiming to be under house arrest for calling out corruption among Jordan’s leaders. In March 2022, the royal court released a letter claimed to be written by Hamzah, seeking his brother’s forgiveness. The royal has rarely been seen in public since.

Who is Rajwa Al-Saif?

Rajwa, a Saudi Arabian national, is an architect and the youngest daughter of Saudi businessman Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz al-Saif. She has three older siblings: Faisal, Nayef, and Dana.

Rajwa has her own royal connections as her mother is part of the Al Sudairi family, Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. Rajwa is the second cousin of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Read More: The First Royal Wedding of 2023 Was an Intimate Ceremony. Here’s What to Know About Jordan’s Princess Iman

She studied at Syracuse University in New York and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She worked at an architectural firm in Los Angeles before moving back to Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Rajwa became engaged to Hussein in August at her family home but little else is known about how the couple met. Since then, the soon-to-be crown princess has undertaken a number of royal engagements including a prominent role in Princess Iman’s wedding.

What did the wedding consist of?

As Rajwa celebrated at her henna party, thousands of young Jordanians attended a free tribute concert titled “We Rejoice in Hussein” at Amman International Stadium. The show featured performances from prominent Arab musicians such as Tamer Hosny, Ahmed Saad, Ragheb Alama, Zain Awad, and Diana Karazon.

“For his excellency the beloved crown prince let’s hear a huge round of applause,” Hosny told stadium crowds, according to the Associated Press. The artists are said to have volunteered their services as a gift to Jordanian citizens. The wedding day has been marked with its own calligraphy logo featuring the words “we rejoice” in Arabic.

A man hands out posters of Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein and his fiancee, Saudi architect Rajwa Alseif, during a concert
A man hands out posters of Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein and his fiancee, Saudi architect Rajwa Alseif, during a concert at a sports stadium in Amman, Jordan, on May 29, 2023.Nasser Nasser—AP

The night before the wedding, on May 31, over 4,000 male guests joined the royal court for a dinner party that showcased the culture of Jordan’s Hashemite Arab rulers. Among those in attendance at Raghadan, the oldest royal palace, were high-ranking officials, business and military figures, and representatives from across Jordanian society.

The Islamic marriage ceremony took take place at Zahran Palace in Amman at 4 p.m. local time, where the couple signed marriage contracts with their fathers acting as their two witnesses. Sheikh Ahmed Al Khalayla oversaw the ceremony and the couple read the Fatiha verse from the Quran before exchanging rings.

Rajwa wore a silver tiara and a white asymmetrical wedding gown and veil designed by Elie Saab and she was escorted through the venue by Hussein’s younger brother Hashem. Meanwhile, Hussein wore black, white, and red military regalia complete with gold embellishments. Queen Rania wore a full-length black dress with a gold choker and cuff detailing from Christian Dior’s fall 2022 showcase.

Guests will finish the night at the Al Husseiniya Palace at the wedding party and banquet.

A 10 km (6 mi.) royal procession will take place later between the two venues, as part of the country’s Hashemite traditions dating back to 1946. As part of preparations, images of the prince were placed along the convoy route. Seventy-one members of the Royal Guard, who will likely wear red scarves, will lead a procession of around 20 red land rovers and motorcycles. Public transportation is free for all citizens who wish to watch the procession in person, and the day has been declared a national holiday.

Who attended the ceremony?

Hussein and Rajwa’s high profile nuptials saw a number of global royals traveling to Jordan to witness the historic event. Among those attending were Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah; King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain; the King and Queen of the Netherlands; Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland, Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg; Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway; Hisako, Princess Takamado, and her daughter, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado of Japan.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden exits a car outside of a hotel
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel of Sweden leave their hotel for the wedding of Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah of Jordan in Amman on June 1, 2023.Patrick van Katwijk—Getty Images

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, represented the UAE, and Sheikha Moza bint Nasser attended on behalf of Qatar. Also present was the Crown Prince of Oman, Kuwait’s Crown Prince Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Iraqi president, Latif Rashid, as well as other dignitaries from Rwanda, Pakistan, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Fresh from her attendance on May 6 at the coronation of King Charles in London, U.S. First Lady Jill Biden was also present at the wedding. She was greeted on arrival in Amman by Hadeel Aziz, the 2023 International Women of Courage Award winner.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, who share a fondness for the nation and took their children there in 2021, were guests at the wedding. Kate also wore an Elie Saab couture dress in a blush pink shade with a high neck and long sleeves. The British couple were joined by Princess Beatrice of York and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Correction, June 2

The original version of this story misstated the year King Abdullah II married Rania Al-Yassin. It was 1993, not 1997.

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Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com