Jordan's royal wedding today: A closer look at Crown Prince Hussein, bride Rajwa Al Saif

They are destined to become a power couple in the Middle East, forging a new bond between Hashemites and Saudi Arabia

By AP

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

 

Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein stands with Rajwa Al Saif, the youngest daughter of Saudi businessman Khaled Al Saif, during their engagement in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters
Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein stands with Rajwa Al Saif, the youngest daughter of Saudi businessman Khaled Al Saif, during their engagement in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters

Published: Thu 1 Jun 2023, 7:05 AM

Last updated: Thu 1 Jun 2023, 11:02 AM

He is heir to the throne in one of the oldest monarchies in the Middle East and a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). She's a Saudi architect with an aristocratic pedigree of her own.

Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, 28, and Rajwa Al Saif, 29, are to be married on Thursday at a palace wedding in Jordan, a monarchy that has been a bastion of stability in the Middle East.


The families have not said how the couple met or provided any details about their courtship. They were formally engaged at a traditional Muslim ceremony in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in August 2022 that was attended by senior members of Jordan's royal family.

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.


Here's a look at the bride and groom.

US-educated architect with Arabian tribal roots

Rajwa Al Saif was born in Riyadh on April 28, 1994, the youngest of four children.

Her mother, Azza bint Nayef Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Sudairi, is related to Hussa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi, wife of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, and gave birth to seven of his sons, including the country's current ruler, King Salman.

Rajwa's father, Khalid, is a member of the Subai, a prominent tribe in the Arabian Peninsula with ancient roots. He's also the founder of El Saif Engineering Contracting, which built Riyadh's iconic Kingdom Tower and other high-rises across the Middle East.

Rajwa studied architecture at Syracuse University in New York, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2017. A graduation video shows her receiving her degree in sparkling silver sneakers.

The year before, she led a Spring Break architecture symposium in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that was funded by her father's company.

“What made this trip so memorable for me... was seeing the students in the studio experience Arabic culture and architecture for the first time," she was quoted as saying by a university newspaper.

She went on to earn a degree in visual communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.

An official biography shared by the Jordanian royal palace says her hobbies include horseback riding and handmade arts, and that she is fluent in English, French and her native Arabic.

Long groomed to lead

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania stand with Crown Prince Hussein during his engagement to Rajwa Al Saif, the youngest daughter of Saudi businessman Khaled Al Saif, in Riyadh. Photo: Reuters
Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania stand with Crown Prince Hussein during his engagement to Rajwa Al Saif, the youngest daughter of Saudi businessman Khaled Al Saif, in Riyadh. Photo: Reuters

Crown Prince Hussein was born June 28, 1994. At the age of 15, the title of Crown Prince was conferred to him on July 2, 2009.

He is the oldest son of King Abdullah II, 61, who has ruled Jordan through more than two decades of turmoil in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Iraq, all of which border the small, resource-poor kingdom.

The Hashemites, as Jordan's ruling family is known, trace their lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They dwelled in the Hejaz region of what is now Saudi Arabia for centuries before King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's forces drove them out in 1925.

The crown prince is named for his grandfather, King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for 46 years until his death in 1999 and remains a beloved figure for many Jordanians.

It could be years before the crown prince becomes king, but his training has already begun.

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 routinely takes part in drills and ceremonies.

He has joined his father on overseas trips, including a recent meeting at the White House with President Joe Biden. The prince shared pictures from the visit on his Instagram feed, which has over 4 million followers and also features more casual photos.

In 2015, Hussein was the youngest person to ever chair a meeting at the U.N. Security Council, leading a discussion about how to help young people confront violent extremism and promote peace. Two years later, and just out of college, he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.

His experiences to date have prepared him to rule Jordan one day.

ALSO READ:


More news from World