The wedding of Jordan’s crown prince and his Saudi bride—the region’s most high-profile royal wedding in recent years—is set to take place on Thursday with a guest list that includes British royals, the U.S. first lady and several other international dignitaries in an event that also bears significant geopolitical significance, owing to the rocky relations between Jordan and its neighbor Saudi Arabia.
The royal wedding will see Jordan’s 28-year-old Crown Prince Hussein tie the knot with 29-year-old Saudi Arabian architect Rajwa Al Saif—whose family has links to the Saudi royals.
First lady Jill Biden, who’s on a tour of the Middle East, arrived in Jordan earlier on Thursday and will be in attendance.
The U.K.’s Prince William and his wife, Kate—whose attendance was kept as a closely guarded secret until hours before the ceremony—are on the guest list as well.
Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is also expected to be the high-profile attendee from the Middle East.
The attendance of the Saudi crown prince and the bride’s links to his family are likely to hold geopolitical significance as the relationship between the Hashemite kingdom and its larger neighbor to the east has run into some issues in the recent past. The biggest of these was a purported coup attempt against Jordan’s King Abdullah by his half-brother and former crown prince Hamza in 2021. Officials in Jordan raised speculation about the potential role of Saudi Arabia in backing the coup, an allegation it vehemently denied. Hamza, who is popular with the Jordanian public, remains under house arrest. While Hussein officially replaced Hamza as the crown prince back in 2009, the wedding ceremony is being seen as an effort to consolidate his position as the future king.
Hussien’s wedding is being treated as a massive national event in the country—featuring motorcades, fireworks, cultural events and free concerts. Jordanian authorities have also set up large screens across the country to allow crowds to watch the ceremony live. Breaking from tradition, the pre-wedding events have also been prominently featured on social media, including videos on YouTube that show the Jordanian queen dancing with guests and photos of the events on Facebook.