Sheikh Khaled with Prince Hussain bin Abdullah II and Princess Rajwa in Amman on June 1. Image Credit: WAM

AMMAN: Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, attended the wedding of Hussain bin Abdullah II to Rajwa Al Saif, a Saudi architect.

He conveyed congratulations and blessings on behalf of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the family of King Abdullah II, and wished His Royal Highness the Crown Prince happiness and prosperity.

The guests at the wedding reception. Image Credit: WAM

He congratulated the newlywed and their families, and wished them a happy and prosperous life.

The marriage of Crown Prince Hussain, 28, and Saudi architect Rajwa Al Saif, 29, drew a star-studded guest list including Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, as well as US First Lady Jill Biden.

The bride, wearing an elegant white dress by Lebanese designer Elie Saab, arrived at Zahran Palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V custom-made for the crown prince’s late great grandmother.

The crown prince arrived earlier in full ceremonial military uniform with a gold-hilted saber.

The families and their guests gathered in an open-air gazebo decked with flowers and surrounded by landscaped gardens for a traditional Muslim wedding ceremony known as “katb Al ketab.”

Jordan's King Abdullah II, Queen Rania, Hussain and Rajwa greet Britain's Prince William and Princess Catherine as they attend the reception. Image Credit: Reuters

The crowd erupted in applause after the signing of the marriage contract. Rajwa will henceforth be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Rajwa Al Hussain, according to a royal decree.

Several miles away, a jolt went through a packed ancient Roman amphitheater as viewers watched the couple seal their vows and exchange rings on a wide screen. After several minutes of stillness, the crowd of some 18,000 people were on their feet, waving flags and shrieking with excitement at one of several viewing parties held across the nation.

Samara Aqrabawi, a 55-year-old mother watching the livestream with her young daughter, said the ceremony was more impressive than she imagined. “I wish for all mothers and fathers in Jordan and in the world to feel like they’re surely feeling,” she said of the king and queen.

The newlyweds later emerged from the palace in a white custom Range Rover escorted by several bright red Land Rovers, motorcycles and a military marching band — a nod to the traditional horse-mounted processions during the reign of the country’s founder, King Abdullah I.

Hussain and Rajwa travel in a motorcade on the day of their wedding, in Amman. Image Credit: Reuters

Public holiday

The kingdom declared Thursday a public holiday so crowds of people could gather to wave at the couple’s motorcade amid a heavy security presence across the city. Tens of thousands of well-wishers attended free concerts and cultural events.

On Thursday morning, Saudi wedding guests and tourists filtered through the marbled lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman. Noura Al Sudairi, an aunt of the bride, was wearing sweatpants and sneakers on her way to breakfast.

“We are all so excited, so happy about this union,” she said. “Of course it’s a beautiful thing for our families, and for the relationship between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

Excitement over the nuptials — Jordan’s biggest royal event in decades — has been building in the capital of Amman, where congratulatory banners of Hussain and his beaming bride adorn buses and hang over winding hillside streets. Shops had competing displays of royal regalia.

US first lady Jill Biden and her daughter Ashley Biden attend the wedding of Jordan's Crown Prince. Image Credit: Reuters

“She looks like such a princess that I think she deserves him,” Suhair Afaneh, a 37-year-old businesswoman, said of the bride.

Jordan’s 11 million residents have watched the young crown prince rise in prominence in recent years, as he increasingly joined his father, Abdullah, in public appearances.

Hussain has graduated from Georgetown University, joined the military and gained some global recognition speaking at the UN General Assembly. His wedding, experts say, marks his next crucial rite of passage.

“It’s not just a marriage, it’s the presentation of the future king of Jordan,” said political analyst Amer Sabaileh. “The issue of the crown prince has been closed.”

In addition to the Prince and Princess of Wales, the guest list includes an array of foreign aristocrats and dignitaries, including senior royals from Europe and Asia, as well as US climate envoy John Kerry. Other likely attendees include Saudi aristocrats. Her billionaire father owns a major construction firm in the kingdom.

Both Rajwa and Kate wore gowns by the Lebanese designer Elie Saab, said a spokeswoman for the company, Maryline Mossino.

The motorcade drove through Amman to the Al Husseiniya Palace, a 30-minute drive away, for the reception. There, the newlyweds walked beneath an arch of swords and were welcomed with a traditional zaffeh, a lively musical procession featuring drums, dancing, singing and clapping.

The royals greeted more than 1,700 guests at the reception, which featured live music and a banquet. The celebrations were capped with a fireworks display that could be seen across the capital. -- With inputs from WAM