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Which country is set to see two big royal weddings next year

Love is in the air for the royal family of Jordan.

The Middle Eastern kingdom, wedged between Israel and Iraq, is celebrating a trio of weddings and engagements as several senior family members are saying“I do.”

While the first of the three weddings took place in early September in Amman — between Jordan’s Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, the first cousin of King Abdullah, and Princess Miriam of Turnovo — the bigger scoop surrounds upcoming nuptials for both Crown Prince Hussein and Princess Iman, his sister.

They are the children of Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his glamorous wife, Rania.

The Crown Prince, 28, is set to marry Rajwa Khaled Bin Musaed Bin Saif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saif, 28, next summer. The Saudi stunner is the daughter of Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al Saif—  CEO of the privately owned Al Saif Group — and his wife, Azza bint Nayef Abdulaziz Ahmed Al Sudairi.

Princess Iman in an official portrait honoring her engagement to Jameel Thermiotis, a businessman who was born in Venezuela but is now based in New York.
Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP via G
Queen Rania (left), here with Princess Iman, is considered one of the world's most stylish monarchs.
Queen Rania (left), here with Princess Iman, is considered one of the world’s most stylish monarchs.
Shutterstock

While the couple clearly appear besotted, Middle East observers suggest that regional diplomacy is as much behind the royal match as old-fashioned romance.

“Rajwa is Saudi has a good impact on Jordanians who see it as an opening for better relations with Saudi Arabia,” said Randa Habib, Jordanian journalist and author of the book “Hussein and Abdullah: inside the Jordanian Royal Family.”

She also presents a more contemporary, forward-thinking image of Saudi Arabia, which remains deeply conservative, especially when it comes to women’s rights. “The family of Rawja are … more modern than expected and modest in their behaviors,” Habib said.

After attending high school in Saudi Arabia, Al Saif moved to New York and studied architecture at Syracuse University. The soon-to-be princess — and future queen – also attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and worked at an architecture firm there before moving back home to Riyadh, where she is employed at the Designlab Experience design studio.

King Abdullah (center) attends the August wedding of his cousin, Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad to Princess Miriam of Turnovo, a Spanish jewelry designer and socialite.
King Abdullah (center) attends the August wedding of his cousin, Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad to Princess Miriam of Turnovo, a Spanish jewelry designer and socialite.
Crown Prince Hussein with his new fiancée, Rajwa Al Saif. The couple will one day become King and Queen of Jordan.
Crown Prince Hussein with his new fiancée, Rajwa Al Saif. The couple will one day become King and Queen of Jordan.
Balkis Press/Abaca/Sipa USA

Prince Hussein, who was named heir to the throne in 2009, also traveled abroad for his education. He graduated from both Georgetown University in 2016 and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom in 2017. He is now a Captain in the Jordanian Armed Forces.

For the Aug. 17 engagement, Queen Rania loaned her future daughter-in-law custom white-and-yellow diamond plumage earrings from coveted jewelry designer Stephen Webster. 

The Crown Prince and his fiancée are already being compared to Prince William and Kate Middleton for their proximity to the throne, as well as their poise and glamorous vibes. Fashionistas have pointed out that Rajwa’s official engagement portrait features a deep blue dress from Costarellos that is similar to the one Kate wore to announce her own betrothal in 2010.

King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein during a White House visit with Joe and Jill Biden in July 2021. Jordan has long been one of the US' strongest Middle Eastern allies.
King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein during a White House visit with Joe and Jill Biden in July 2021. Jordan has long been one of the US’ strongest Middle Eastern allies.
Best Image/BACKGRID

However, a source close to the Jordanian royal family said that the comparison is only accurate in fashion, not substance.

“While it’s a new age and a new generation, the Crown Prince is highly influenced by his father and late grandfather,” the source said. In Jordan, unlike in England, the royal directly runs and rules the nation.

The Jordanian royal family, minus Princess Iman, in 2018: (l-r) Prince Hashem, Queen Rania, Princess Salma, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein.
The Jordanian royal family, minus Princess Iman, in 2018: (l-r) Prince Hashem, Queen Rania, Princess Salma, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein.
Royal Hashemite Court via Getty Images
King Abdullah and Queen Rania drive through the streets of Amman on their wedding day in June 1993 — mere months after meeting at a dinner party.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania drive through the streets of Amman on their wedding day in June 1993 — mere months after meeting at a dinner party.
AFP via Getty Images

Queen Rania will be knee-deep in wedding planning for a while, since her eldest daughter is also tying the knot. Earlier this summer, the palace announced that Princess Iman, 25, the second child of the king and queen, will wed New York-based financier Jameel Alexander Thermiotis, 28. 

Although born in Caracas, Venezuela, Thermiotis hails from a Greek family and his real first name is Dimitrios; he goes by Jimmy, which the palace “Arabicized” to Jameel (translating to “beautiful” in Arabic).

The Thermiotis family secured the Dior franchise Venezuela, and eventually moved to Miami, where Jameel studied business administration at Florida International University.

Princess Iman is relatively low key, known for her equestrian prowess and fashion style. She attended Georgetown University, but then switched to New York’s Parsons School of Design to finish her bachelor’s degree. She met Thermiotis in New York, where he worked in private equity and venture capital. Their engagement was a surprise as the relationship had been kept extremely private.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania dazzle at the wedding of Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel Westling in Stockholm in 2010.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania dazzle at the wedding of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel Westling in Stockholm in 2010.
WireImage
The King and Queen with Crown Prince Hussein in Washington, DC celebrating the Prince's graduation from Georgetown University in 2016. Hussein, like his father, is directly descended from the Prophet Muhammed.
The King and Queen with Crown Prince Hussein in Washington, DC celebrating the Prince’s graduation from Georgetown University in 2016. Hussein, like his father, is directly descended from the Prophet Muhammed.
Balkis Press/Sipa USA

Unlike her brother, Princess Iman has chosen to spend her life with someone who is not Arab and not Muslim, which has raised some eyebrows in her home country.

“There have been mixed feelings regarding Princess Iman’s choice,” the close source acknowledged.

Still, the royal family clearly approves of the union, with the Crown Prince writing on his Instagram page: “Warmest congratulations to my dear sister Iman and her fiancé Jameel on their engagement. I wish you a lifetime of happiness together.”

“The wedding of Princess Iman is expected to happen in Jordan,” Habib noted. “As for their activities later, they could live abroad and travel to Jordan occasionally.” 

Crown Prince Hussein along with his parents, Queen Rania and King Abdullah, visit with Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter, Princess Anne, at Buckingham Palace in 2019. The Crown Prince completed much of his early education at England's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Crown Prince Hussein along with his parents, Queen Rania and King Abdullah, visit with Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter, Princess Anne, at Buckingham Palace in 2019. The Crown Prince completed much of his early education at England’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Shutterstock

The biggest wildcard has been the unexpected royal wedding that just took place between Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, 56, and Princess Miriam of Turnovo, 59. The private ceremony at Amman’s Raghadan Palace on September 3 was attended by King Abdullah, Prince Hussein and Prince Talal Bin Muhammad — but Jordanians found out about the nuptials through the Spanish media, not via the kingdom. 

It was the second marriage for both the bride and groom: In 1997, Prince Ghazi married Areej Zawawi, mother of their four children: Princess Tasneem, Prince Abdullah, Princess Jennah and Princess Salsabeel. They divorced in 2021. Prince Ghazi is 18th in line for the crown, and serves as the personal adviser to the King on religious and cultural affairs

Born to a Spanish noble family, Miriam became Princess Miriam of Turnovo when she married Bulgaria’s Prince Kardam in 1996. After having two sons, Prince Boris and Prince Beltrá, things took a tragic turn: In 2008, the couple survived a serious car accident in Madrid, but Kardam remained in a coma before passing away seven years later in 2015. 

Happily, the royal gemologist and jewelry designer found love again with Prince Ghazi and turned heads in an elegant champagne-colored satin wedding gown.



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