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The Prince and Princess of Wales have made a surprise visit to Jordan to attend the wedding of the country’s Crown Prince Hussein.
William, 40, and Kate, 41, are among a host of foreign royalty attending the nuptials of Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and architect bride Rajwa Alseif, 29, on Thursday at the Zahran Palace.
The attendance of the British royals – who were spotted at a luxury hotel in Amman last night – had been kept under wraps, and was only confirmed by Jordanian state media a few hours before the start of the palace ceremony.
But it’s perhaps hardly surprising Kate and William have made the journey to the Middle East – as both no doubt share a fondness for Jordan.
The country especially holds special memories for the Princess; the Middleton family spent three years there during the early 80s, when Kate was just two years old, after her father Michael, a British Airways manager, was relocated to Amman for work.
In 2021, Kensington Palace revealed William and Kate had taken George, Charlotte and Louis on holiday to Jordan when they released a Christmas card featuring this image
Kate went to an English language nursery while her parents were in the country for almost three years, before they returned to Berkshire in 1986.
In 2011, in an interview with The National, the founder of the Assahera nursery which Kate attended, Sahera al Nabulsi, gave a revealing insight into the princess’ early years.
She said: ‘The morning routine was to have all the children sitting in a circle where they would all sing Incy Wincy Spider, both in English and Arabic.
‘We would read one verse from the Quran to improve the children’s Arabic and tell stories about the Prophet’s companions, like Omar Bin Khattab. The idea was to reinforce concepts such as respect and love.’
Kate was in a class of 12, while the nursery looked after 100 children aged three to five from Jordan, Britain, Japan, India, Indonesia and American.
In the morning, everyone was grouped together to learn Arabic before separating into different classes.
‘The teacher used to ask in Arabic, ‘Who is wearing red today?’ so that the children would recognise the colours,’ Ms al Nabulsi recalled.
The nursery founder would dress up as Santa Claus at Christmas, and celebrated Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan when a drummer would visit to entertain the children.
A family photo of Kate, now the Princess of Wales, aged four with her father Michael Middleton and sister Pippa in Jerash, Jordan
Prince William and Crown Prince Hussein looking at a blown-up version of the same photograph in 2018
Prince William pictured with Crown Prince Hussein in June 2018 during his tour of the Middle East
Ms al Nabulsi recalled how the royal’s mother Carole usually did the school run, but that Michael sometimes collected Kate in his work uniform ‘The kids used to get very excited and run to see him,’ she said.
Speaking of Kate’s childhood with the chief executive of Save the Children, Rania Malki, during a tour of the Middle East in 2018, Prince William said: ‘She loved it here, she really did. She is very upset that I am coming here without her.’
William visited the ruins of a Roman settlement at Jerash – where Kate was pictured as a child – with Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein, before posing for a picture at the same spot.
The Prince of Wales told photographers at the time: ‘We’ll have to bring the kids next time.’
Staying true to his word, in 2021, Kensington Palace revealed William and Kate had taken Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on holiday to Jordan when they released their Christmas card.
In 2021, Kensington Palace revealed William and Kate had taken Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on holiday to Jordan when they released their Christmas card.
The Palace revealed the photograph shared for the festive period was taken in Jordan earlier that year when the royal family-of-five visited the ancient city of Petra.
The Jordanian royal family have also shared a long-time close connection with the British royals.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania were among those included on the ‘slimmed-down’ guest list of 2,300 at Westminster Abbey on 6 May for King Charles and Queen Camilla’s Coronation.
The pair were also in attendance at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September last year.
Queen Rania referred to the late monarch as the ‘Queen of the World’ in a sweet Instagram tribute and even admitted she ‘looked up’ to Queen Elizabeth during an interview with ITV News.
The Prince and Princess of Wales speaking to King Abdullah ll and Queen Rania during a pre luncheon reception for guests at Windsor Castle on May 18, 2012
Kensington Palace released this photograph of Prince William with his children, Prince Louis, Prince George (right) and Princess Charlotte, to mark Father’s Day 2022. The photograph was taken in Jordan in the Autumn of 2021
Elsewhere, she was asked about Kate during an interview with CNN which was recorded in London in September 2022, ahead of the late Queen’s funeral.
Speaking of the mother-of-three, Rania praised the Princess of Wales for her sense of duty, saying she ‘gives from the heart.’
She also said there was a ‘sense of sincerity’ and ‘love’ in everything that Kate does in a clip of her interview.
‘Princess Catherine, when she talks about her work, her face lights up,’ Rania said. ‘She does it out of a sense of duty but more importantly, she does it because she absolutely cares.’
Her praise didn’t stop there, as she said the Princess of Wales ‘gives from the heart.’
‘When she talks about her work, she’d say: “I’m just lucky to be doing this, I have the privilege of doing that”.’ she said. ‘So she gives from her heart. And again, there is a sense of sincerity and a sense of love in everything that she does.’
Queen Rania is also a council member for the Earthshot Prize, which was launched by Prince William in 2020.
On Prince Hussein’s wedding day, 140 guests, including members of the Royal Hashemite family, invited royals and heads of state, will watch the couple tie the knot in the palace garden.
Thursday has been declared a national holiday, with celebratory events hosted in all 12 of Jordan’s governorates to allow citizens to share in the festivities.
The couple will be married at the Zahran Palace in an ‘elegant and understated religious ceremony’.
The couple will then move to the Al Husseiniya Palace in a motorcade procession for the wedding reception, which will feature a diverse line-up of performers paying tribute to the Crown Prince’s military career, his bride’s Saudi Arabian heritage, and traditional Jordanian artistry.
The wedding reception will be hosted by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, as well as the bride’s parents, with more than 1,700 guests.
The remainder of the evening features a variety of performances by local and regional singers, a choir group, Jordanian bands, the national orchestra, and folk dance troupes.
The reception concludes with the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake.
It’s set to be the royal wedding of the summer – and now new details have emerged about Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and his bride Rajwa Al-Saif’s big day