The Prince and Princess of Wales have made a surprise visit to Jordan to attend the wedding of the country’s Crown Prince and his Saudi Arabian bride.
Prince William and Kate were among a host of foreign royalty attending the nuptials of the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and 29-year-old architect Rajwa Alseif.
The ceremony got under way on Thursday at Amman’s Zahran Palace, the same venue chosen by the Crown Prince’s father, King Abdullah II, and his grandfather, the late King Hussein, for their weddings.
The British royals’ trip to Jordan was not announced in advance, with their arrival confirmed by Jordanian state media a few hours before the start of the palace ceremony.
After the ceremony, Prince William and Kate lined up along other guests to congratulate the royal couple, Kate wearing a floor length, long-sleeved baby pink dress.
Prince William hugged the Crown Prince before kissing Ms Alseif on either cheek, the Princess of Wales followed suit.
The King and Queen of the Netherlands as well as US First Lady Jill Biden also said they would attend.
The ceremony started with some of the same features as previous ceremonies, including a motorcade of red Land Rovers escorting the couple through the streets of the capital to the ceremony.
Crowds gathered at sites with huge screens which broadcast the wedding across the nation, with many people waving flags and decked out in the white-and-red checkered scarves worn by Jordan’s ruling family, the Hashemites.
The bride, a graduate of Syracuse University in New York, arrived at Zahran Palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V custom-made for the Crown Prince’s late great-grandmother.
Meanwhile, the Crown Prince, who graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in international history in 2016 and from the British Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst the following year, arrived wearing full ceremonial military uniform with a gold-hilted saber.
As Jordan’s biggest royal event in years, the ceremony held deep significance for the region. Much like royal weddings in Britain, congratulatory banners of the royal couple were hung throughout streets and shops had competing displays of royal regalia.
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.
“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.”