Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II weds Saudi national Rajwa Al-Saif at royal wedding

The couple wed at Zahran Palace. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 June 2023

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II weds Saudi national Rajwa Al-Saif at royal wedding

  • The ceremony was held at the Zahran Palace, where the crown prince’s parents — King Abdullah II and Queen Rania — wed in 1993
  • The event was attended by around 140 guests, including members of the Royal Hashemite family, invited royals and heads of state

AMMAN: It was an affair to remember as Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II wed Saudi national Rajwa Al-Saif, who by royal decree will now be known as Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein, on Thursday at Zahran Palace in Amman, before the royal couple travelled by motorcade to Al-Husseiniya Palace for a lavish reception.  

 When the crown prince takes the throne, the princess will be Queen Rajwa. The bride wore a custom-made Elie Saab gown, while Queen Rania opted for Dior.

The religious ceremony was held at Zahran Palace, where the crown prince’s parents — King Abdullah II and Queen Rania — wed in 1993. The ceremony was attended by around 140 guests, including members of the Royal Hashemite family, invited royals and heads of state - US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden even shared a congratulatory message on social media.

Guests include dignitaries and royals from around the world, including the UK’s Prince and Princess of Wales William and Kate Middleton; US First Lady Jill Biden; Qatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser; the king and queen of Malaysia; the king and queen of The Netherlands; King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain; Prince Sébastien of Luxembourg; Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland; Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Hisako, Princess Takamado and her daughter, Princess Tsuguko of Takamado of Japan, among others.  

The bride arrived at the palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V that was custom-made for the late Queen Zein Al-Sharaf and was escorted by the Crown Prince’s younger brother, Prince Hashem bin Abdullah II, and Princess Salma bint Abdullah II. Prince Hashem walked Al-Saif to the gazebo where the Islamic marriage ceremony took place.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom signed the marriage contract. Royal Hashemite Court Imam Dr. Ahmed Al-Khalaileh, who was appointed to the position in January 2021, presided over the ceremony, which was followed by several women performing the Zaghrouta, or traditional ululation.

Afterwards, crowds lined the 10km route as the couple traveled to the location of the reception party in a custom 1984 Range Rover as part of a convoy worthy of an Arab royal wedding.  

The motorcade featured eight red 1980s Land Rovers and 11 red BMW motorcycles. The vintage machines belong to the Royal Convoy Unit, part of a special military formation known as the Royal Guards. The Jordan Armed Forces Musical Band performed during the event. 

As is customary, the arrival of the bride and groom was announced with a zaffeh by the Jordan Armed Forces Musical Band. All band members wore the red-and-white shemagh, a traditional headdress for men, in addition to their full-dress uniform. After passing through an honorary Arch of Sabers, the couple proceeded through the courtyard amidst a traditional Jordanian zaffeh, toward the greeting stage, where the family greeted more than 1,700 guests. The remainder of the evening featured a variety of performances by local and regional singers, a choir group, Jordanian bands, the national orchestra, and folk dance troupes.

According to the Royal Hashemite Court, the reception space at Al-Husseiniya Palace was designed to showcase Jordanian traditions, craftsmanship, and the country’s natural surroundings. Upon arrival, guests entered on a path that evokes the Jordanian desert, featuring a 20-meter-long handwoven Bedouin rug, created specifically for this occasion by the Bani Hamida Women's Weaving Project in the village of Mukawir in Madaba.

Surrounded by foraged wildflowers that reflect the native landscape of the weavers, guests were welcomed with traditional Arabic coffee and music as they made their way down the reception. Once inside the reception space, guests were greeted by the sight of native olive trees surrounded by a dune-like display of dates, which represent hospitality in both Jordanian and Saudi cultures. The venue featured an installation of five large-scale mesh arches, inspired by the architecture of the palace and the hues of the desert landscape of Jordan’s Wadi Rum.

Guest seats were adorned with traditional embroidery patterns, handstitched by women artisans employed by Al-Karma Embroidery Center and the Jerash Women Charitable Society – all of which were established to empower local women and promote traditional handiworks. Guest tables were made from natural Madaba stone and decorated with hand-blown glass vases and traditional clay pottery made by local artisans. The decor also incorporated hand-hammered basalt stone from the north of Jordan. Utilizing local seasonal flowers, the Palace’s archways wre steeped in jasmine. Other design elements paid homage to Jordan’s wheat harvesting season, which is in full swing, with items reimagining the traditional threshing board used to shred wheat and release its grain.

The reception concluded with the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake.

The royal wedding was almost a year in the making, with the couple announcing their engagement in August 2022. The pair got engaged in Riyadh with members of the Jordanian royal family in attendance, as well as Al-Saif’s parents — Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif and Azza bint Nayef Abdulaziz Ahmad Al-Sudairi. 

The Al-Saif family traces its lineage to the Subay tribe, who have been present in the Sudair region of Najd since the beginning of the era of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Al-Saif’s mother comes from the prominent Al-Sudairi family. 

Best and Worst: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair talks style comebacks and dream destinations

Updated 35 sec ago

Best and Worst: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair talks style comebacks and dream destinations

DUBAI: The Saudi model talks style comebacks, math and dream destinations.   

Amira Al-Zuhair walking for Alexis Mabille in July, 2022. (Getty Images)

Best TV show/film you’ve ever seen? 

“Scandal” is my all-time favorite. I'll forever be in awe of Olivia Pope’s character. 

Worst TV show/film you’ve ever seen? 

Horror movies get me every time. I know it’s their purpose, but I’m just not a fan of being terrified. 

Best personal style moment so far? 

I feel most confident and stylish when I’m wearing jeans. They’re so versatile, and I love experimenting with different pieces and accessories to create unique looks. 

Worst personal style moment? 

Any time I don’t feel comfortable in what I’m wearing. Comfort is key; it allows you to enjoy yourself and the occasion you’re dressing for. 

Best accessory for a little black dress? 

A cute handbag. Your choice can either dress it up or down. 

Worst accessory for a little black dress? 

There’s no worst accessory. It depends on the dress style, the cut, and the occasion. 


Best fashion trend of 2023? 

I’m loving the comeback of double denim! It’s a classic trend with a fresh twist. 

Worst fashion trend of 2023? 

The worst trend, in my opinion, is following too many trends. Choose whatever suits you best and aligns with your personal style. 

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

“Surround yourself with people who genuinely want the best for you.” Love and support can lead to amazing things. 

Worst advice you’ve ever been given? 

“Be content with what you have.” I believe in constantly striving for more, it’s the only way to evolve. 


Best book you’ve ever read? 

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It’s a timeless masterpiece that beautifully explores the pursuit of dreams and the interconnectedness between our aspirations and the universe. 

Worst book you’ve ever read? 

Every book offers something to learn from, so I can’t say there’s a worst one. 


Best thing to do when you’re feeling low? 

Put on some good music and dance it out! 

Worst thing to do when you’re feeling good? 

Worrying about the future. It keeps you from fully savoring the joy of the present. 


Best holiday destination? 

Hotel Caesar Augustus in Capri. The view from the hotel is the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen. 

Worst holiday destination? 

Anywhere can turn into a nightmare when the weather is bad. But, with the right company, you can find beauty and enjoyment anywhere. 

Best subject at school? 

My favorite subjects (and the ones I was best at) were math and economics. I guess numbers have always been my strong suit!  

Worst subject at school? 

I can’t think of one. I was a bit of a nerd; competing in national math competitions was my idea of fun! 

Best thing to do to ensure you have a productive day? 

Planning your next day before you go to bed is a game-changer. 

Worst thing to do when you’re trying to have a productive day? 

Aimlessly scrolling on your phone. 

Best concert you’ve ever been to? 

Any of Queen B’s concerts! 

Worst concert you’ve ever been to? 

Probably those school concerts where we were all forced to sing. Those off-pitch notes are hard to forget!  

Stunning Seville: The Andalusian capital will delight culture vultures and beauty seekers alike 

Updated 16 min 16 sec ago

Stunning Seville: The Andalusian capital will delight culture vultures and beauty seekers alike 

SEVILLE: The southern Spanish city of Seville is, as its various nicknames — ‘The Pearl of Andalusia,’ ‘The Frying Pan of Europe’ and ‘The City of Oranges’ — renowned for its cuisine and its beauty. Films and TV shows including “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Game of Thrones” have been shot here. But wandering the Andalusian capital’s ancient streets, you quickly realize just how much of a historical powerhouse it is when it came to politics, knowledge, commerce, and culture, too. 

For instance, it is believed that the passionate dance of flamenco and the staple cuisine of bite-size tapas were developed here. In the close-by port city of Huelva, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (known in Spain, where he died in 1506, as Cristobal Colon) famously set sail to the ‘New World’ of the Americas in 1492 — under the sponsorship of Spanish royalty — changing the course of history. There are clear Middle Eastern influences here too, in both the architecture and the language. The city’s Spanish name — Sevilla — is based on the way the ruling Arabs pronounced the name of the land in their control: Ishbiliyya. In Seville, prosperous, centuries-long Arab rule lasted until 1248, when Christian forces recaptured it in a campaign known as the ‘Reconquista.’  

Plaza de Espana Seville. (Shutterstock)

Seville is a city that will delight history buffs and curious roamers alike. Take the time to explore its narrow paths, tiled walls, quaint shops, and majestic interiors.  

We are staying at the centrally-located Hotel Vincci Molviedro, situated in a peaceful square just a 10-minute walk away from the two most-visited attractions the city has to offer: the Alcazar and the cathedral. Inside the hotel, near reception, there is a fascinating view of an ancient, 22-meter stretch of a centuries-old Arab-built defensive wall.  

The nearby Castelar road leads to a bustling web of streets where tapas bars, cafes, and speciality shops (and, of course, souvenir sellers) sit side-by-side. It’s a fun place to explore on your way to the Real Alcazar, a World Heritage Site that is still used by the Spanish royal family today. This ancient palace boasts airy courtyards, carved ceilings, calligraphy-covered walls, and sophisticated apartments that reveal an evolution in style from Moorish to Renaissance. It can be a tricky venue to navigate, but make sure to see its main highlight, the intricate, golden-dome-topped Hall of Ambassadors.  

Seville is home to the world’s largest gothic cathedral — its vast interior can be overwhelming at first, with its high golden altar and detailed chapels. (Shutterstock)

Seville is home to the world’s largest gothic cathedral — its vast interior can be overwhelming at first, with its high golden altar and detailed chapels. But, if there’s a point of historical interest that you shouldn’t miss it’s the grand tomb of Columbus, whose remains were transported from Cuba to Seville in 1902.   

The cathedral is paired with the iconic La Giralda tower, which used to operate as a minaret for the mosque that was formerly sited here. You are allowed up its 34 flights of ramps, but the bell-covered top will likely be congested and your view blocked by tourists and metal bars. For far superior 360-degree views of the city, head to Las Setas  — the mushrooms —at the Plaza de la Encarnacion. Billed as the world’s largest wooden structure, it stands around 26 meters high and houses a theater, a market, a museum, restaurants, and a rooftop terrace with views of the old city. 

If you want to simply sit back, relax, and do some people-watching, head to the colorful, tile-studded benches of the vast Plaza de Espana. Inside its semi-circle are bridges, balustrades and numerous ceramic murals portraying scenes from Spanish history. 

After all that sight-seeing, you’ll need a bite to eat. Near the cathedral, there’s a popular casual eatery called La Paella. Most customers opt for the eponymous rice dish, but if you want to try something different, go for the arroz negro — rice infused with squid ink — and add a few dollops of garlicky alioli sauce for a kick in taste.  

Elsewhere, lively Guichot street near the charming Plaza Nueva also has several dining options. We recommend El Atun, which specializes in tuna dishes.  

If you really want to treat yourself, then a meal on the terrace of Mariatrifulca restaurant on the Triana Bridge is a wonderful way to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Guadalquivir River (another name based on an Arabic term: Wadi Al-Kabir or ‘the great river’) — the beating heart of Seville which brought prosperity to the area and its people over centuries.   

Lebanese group Mayyas perform as guests on ‘America’s Got Talent’ 

Updated 28 September 2023

Lebanese group Mayyas perform as guests on ‘America’s Got Talent’ 

DUBAI: Lebanese dance group Mayyas are back on the “America’s Got Talent” stage.  

The dancers, who won the 17th season of the talent show, presented a breathtaking performance on Wednesday during season 18’s finale. 

The crew – led by founder and choreographer Nadim Cherfan – wore maroon Arabian-style sets with gold chain face accessories as they danced to Arab tunes.  

The show was a live performance of the group’s music video “Horra,” which was released in July.   

In an interview with Lebanese channel LBC, Cherfan said that the group has been preparing for their “America’s Got Talent” performance for a month.  

The finale also featured performances by Hollywood stars including pop star Jason Derulo, award-winning songwriter Diane Warren, multi-platinum-selling band Thirty Seconds to Mars, musician Jon Batiste and chef and TV personality Cat Cora. 

The winner of the 18th season are trainer Adrian Stoica and his dog Hurricane, earning them a $1 million prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.  

Founder of Saudi luxury jewelry, watches platform CLÉ talks brick-and-mortar opening

Updated 27 September 2023

Founder of Saudi luxury jewelry, watches platform CLÉ talks brick-and-mortar opening

DUBAI: Saudi entrepreneur Yasmine Alshathry is opening the first brick-and-mortar store for her e-commerce platform CLÉ – dedicated to fine jewelry and watches – in VIA Riyadh on Oct. 7.  

Alshathry, who launched her platform in 2013, took a trip down memory lane with Arab News, looking back at how she started CLÉ and what she is doing to grow the brand.  

“The journey began long before 2013, back when I was in middle school where frankly I was fortunate to be surrounded by people of taste and culture who wore beautiful mechanical watches,” she recalled.  


A post shared by CLÉ - كلي (@werecle)

“Of course, at the time I had zero knowledge or clue what watches were about, but I enjoyed the aesthetics and design and that was the initial hook,” she said.   

Alshathry then started having conversations with her father about the pieces he owned. “As any 14-year-old, when you share a common interest with your role model – your parents – nothing can beat that feeling,” she said. 

When she moved to London in 2011, she started to immerse herself in the industry by visiting modern and vintage boutiques. “It was in 2013, when I wanted to truly mimic the feeling I received from everyone I met in these stores to GCC collectors and equally support them in their endeavors to acquire the pieces they were after.”  


A post shared by CLÉ - كلي (@werecle)

That was when she took the decision to launch CLÉ Concierge, a bespoke service that aimed to bridge the gap between watch collectors and brands. 

In 2019, the founder decided to scale CLÉ Concierge to serve a wider purpose focused on growing and evolving the luxury market from a traditional retail model to an innovative platform built on localization, brand storytelling and a luxury customer service experience. 

Her decision to launch a physical store came after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She noticed an unexpected shift in consumer behavior as people wanted to go back to physical experiences and human interactions, she said. 


A post shared by CLÉ - كلي (@werecle)

“The Saudi customer has a very peculiar purchase behavior and although he or she is very tech-savvy, there will always be hesitation when it comes to buying jewelry or watches online and they need a sense of reinforcement and we believe the store will provide that feeling,” Alshathry said.  

“Our aim is to deliver a rewarding experience to our clients every time they engage with us and because we offer an exclusive service and product range that very few people appreciate and know about,” she said. “Our aim is to grow this pool of audience and expand it, and to do so, we need to continuously educate the market, build rapport and relationships and to do that we need to be visible, present and accessible to clients.”  

The entrepreneur said that VIA Riyadh’s team reached out to her because “they truly appreciated what CLÉ has to offer.”   


A post shared by CLÉ - كلي (@werecle)

“VIA Riyadh is a luxurious development with a local essence that embodies everything we believe in at CLÉ, bringing in exclusive retail and hospitality brands means we all service and target a niche audience, centered around offering a high caliber customer experience,” she said. 

The launch event will take place on Oct. 7.  


A post shared by CLÉ - كلي (@werecle)

“Because we don’t do mainstream at CLÉ definitely expect for the launch event to be daring, different and bold,” the founder said. “All I can say is that there will be a lot of engaging activities and guests won’t be bored.” 

The founder said that she is working on growing a wider presence for CLÉ.  “We are definitely looking to open new stores but with different concepts. I don’t believe that our stores will be the same across Saudi Arabia or the Gulf, we will always add something new and fresh into any concept we bring forward,” she said.  

Designers look back at Saudi 100 Brands showcase in Milan 

Updated 27 September 2023

Designers look back at Saudi 100 Brands showcase in Milan 

DUBAI: Forty designers from the Kingdom this week showcased their latest designs in Milan with the Saudi 100 Brands initiative during White Milano, the international apparel and accessories trade show that famously takes place alongside Milan Fashion Week.  

The event, which ran from Sept. 22-25, is part of White Milano’s EXPOWHITE program.  

Among the 40 brands was RBA NEW YORK, founded by Saudi designer Rakhaa Bin Ahmed. In an interview with Arab News, the founder looked back at her experience in Italy and said that she got “great responses” from the international audience. 

“They loved the urbanized twist in my designs, largely due to their reflection of the Saudi heritage and the strong story behind my creations,” she explained. “I was pleased to hear from the audience who came from different backgrounds, saying they would definitely wear my designs for different occasions due to their versatility.” 

Bin Ahmed’s brand is famous for its textured linen sets. She also offers shirts, cardigans and traditional Saudi attire – with a modern twist – for men and women. 

The designer said that the Saudi Fashion Commission’s Saudi 100 Brands’ initiative is helping support the local designers in showcasing their work internationally. “I would call it a talent traveler as it takes us internationally with the highest standards to different countries around the world with great ease,” she said.  

The event also presented designs from Saudi streetwear label Sign Spot, founded by Nada Alotaibi. 

“It’s an exceptional opportunity and occasion for us Saudis to display our culture to the rest of the globe while also showcasing Saudi designers on an international scale,” the designer told Arab News.  

She said visitors in Milan were “impressed” by her collection. “They were also impressed by our concept of Sign Spot, which is how we convey messages through our designs. They were thrilled with our offerings and our focus on the details,” she added.  

Alotaibi, whose brand features shirts, t-shirts, shorts, pants, leggings, socks, caps and cardholders, said the Milan showcase acted as a confidence booster.