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 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.
Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, also made up some of the 140 guests.
After the ceremony, Prince William and Kate lined up alongside 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, and the Princess of Wales followed suit.
Members of the royal families of Belgium, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Japan also attended, along with US First Lady Jill Biden.
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.
The kingdom declared the day a public holiday so crowds could gather to wave at the couple’s motorcade amid a heavy security presence across the city.
People had gathered at sites with huge screens which broadcast the wedding across the nation, with many waving flags and donning 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 the 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 began 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.”