Jordanians celebrated a royal wedding this week. The ceremony signaled more than the union of two people. It symbolizes the partnership of two influential Middle Eastern nations.
Today, Jordan’s Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II married Rajwa Alseif of Saudi Arabia. They held a traditional Muslim ceremony in a gazebo surrounded by gardens. The guest list included U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and royalty from Europe and Asia.
Crown Prince Hussein became heir to Jordan’s throne at the age of 15. The king’s half-brother, Prince Hamzah, once held that title—until the king took it away in 2004, accusing him of insubordination. Two years ago, he placed Hamzah under house arrest.
But just who is Jordan’s young crown prince? Twenty-eight-year-old Hussein traveled the world with his father, visited the White House, and gave a speech to the United Nations. He attended Georgetown University and the British Royal Military Academy. He’s a captain in Jordan’s military.
But in many ways, he still must prove himself as a leader of his people. The wedding day served as a test in the public eye. Jordanians pay attention to his appearance and the way he carries himself.
Jordan’s economy has struggled in recent years. The nation has few natural resources. It depends on aid from wealthy nations such as Saudi Arabia. On top of that, the open conflict between the king and his half-brother tarnished the royal family’s public image.
Could the royal wedding help solve Jordan’s woes?
The bride, Rajwa Alseif, comes from one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful families. Her mother is related to Hussa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi, one of the wives of Saudi Arabia’s founding king. Alseif’s marriage to Crown Prince Hussein will solidify the bond between their two nations.
The wedding also has consequences for Western nations such as the United States. Jordan is a valuable Western ally. It holds a strategic geographic position between Syria, Iraq, and Israel. Saudi Arabia has also played a key role as a U.S. ally. But that relationship has frayed. Saudi Arabia has formed ties with Iran and China and rejected U.S. requests to pump more oil. Could the royal wedding help heal Western relations with Saudi Arabia?
The bride and groom are bound to become powerful players in international politics. But only God knows exactly what their union will mean for the world.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. — Proverbs 21:1
(Jordanians wave flags as they await the royal wedding motorcade. AP/Raad Adayleh)