The Prince and Princess of Wales made a surprise visit to Jordan to attend the wedding of 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, at Zahran Palace on Thursday .
The presence of the British royals – who were spotted at a luxury hotel in Amman last night – had been kept secret and was only confirmed by official Jordanian media hours before the ceremony was due to start at the palace.
But it’s perhaps no surprise that Kate and William made the trip to the Middle East – as the two no doubt share a fondness for Jordan.
The country especially keeps special memories for the princess; the Middleton family spent three years there in the early 1980s, when Kate was just two, after her father Michael, a British Airways manager, was transferred to Amman for work.
In 2021, Kensington Palace revealed that William and Kate had taken George, Charlotte and Louis on holiday to Jordan when they released a Christmas card with this image.
Kate attended an English-language nursery while her parents were in the country for almost three years, before returning to Berkshire in 1986.
In 2011, in an interview with The Nationalthe founder of the Assahera crèche Kate attended, Sahera al Nabulsi, gave a revealing insight into the princess’s early years.
She said: “The morning routine was to have all the children sit in a circle where they would all sing Incy Wincy Spider, in English and Arabic.
“We read a verse from the Koran to improve the children’s Arabic and told stories about the companions of the Prophet, such as Omar Bin Khattab. The idea was to reinforce concepts such as respect and love.
Kate was in a class of 12, while the nursery cared for 100 children aged three to five from Jordan, Britain, Japan, India, Indonesia and America.
In the morning, everyone was grouped together to learn Arabic before splitting into different classes.
‘The teacher used to ask in Arabic: ‘Who is wearing red today?’ so that the children recognize the colours,” recalls Mrs al Nabulsi.
The nursery founder would dress up as Santa Claus at Christmas and celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan when a drummer came to entertain the children.
A family photo of four-year-old Kate, now Princess of Wales, with her father Michael Middleton and sister Pippa in Jerash, Jordan
Prince William and Crown Prince Hussein look at an enlarged version of the same photograph in 2018
Prince William pictured with Crown Prince Hussein in June 2018 during his Middle East tour
Ms al Nabulsi recalled how the Royal Family’s mother, Carole, usually raced to school, but Michael sometimes picked up Kate in her work uniform. “The kids were very excited and running to see him,” she said.
Speaking about Kate’s childhood with Save the Children’s chief executive 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 come here without her.
William visited the ruins of a Roman settlement in Jerash – where Kate was pictured as a child – with Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, before posing for a photo at the same location.
The Prince of Wales told photographers at the time: ‘We’ll have to bring the kids next time.
True to its word, in 2021 Kensington Palace revealed that William and Kate took Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on holiday to Jordan when they pulled out their Christmas card.
In 2021, Kensington Palace revealed that William and Kate had taken Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on vacation to Jordan when they took out their Christmas card.
The palace revealed that the photograph shared for the holiday season was taken in Jordan earlier that year when the royal family of five visited the ancient city of Petra.
The Jordanian royal family also shares a long-standing close connection with the British royal family.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania were among those on the “reduced” guest list of 2,300 guests at Westminster Abbey on May 6 for the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla.
The couple were also present at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September last year.
Queen Rania called the late monarch ‘Queen of the World’ in a sweet tribute on Instagram and even admitted she ‘admired’ 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-lunch 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 on Father’s Day 2022. The photograph was taken in Jordan at fall 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 bottom of her heart”.
She also said there was a “sense of sincerity” and “love” in everything Kate does in a snippet of her interview.
“Princess Catherine, when she talks about her job, 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 bottom of her heart”.
“When she was talking about her job, she was like, ‘I’m just lucky to do this, I’m privileged to do that.’ she said, “So she gives with her heart. And again, there’s a sense of sincerity and a sense of love in everything she does.”
Queen Rania is also a board member of the Earthshot Prize, which was launched by Prince William in 2020.
On Prince Hussein’s wedding day, 140 guests, including members of the Hashemite royal family, visiting royals and heads of state, will watch the couple marry in the palace garden.
THURSDAY was declared a national holiday, with celebratory events held in all 12 governorates of Jordan to allow citizens to share in the festivities.
The couple will marry at Zahran Palace in an “elegant and discreet religious ceremony”.
The couple will then travel to Al Husseiniya Palace in a motorcade for the wedding reception, which will feature a diverse line-up of performers paying tribute to the Crown Prince’s military career, his wife’s Saudi heritage and traditional Jordanian art.
The wedding reception will be hosted by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, along with the bride’s parents, with over 1,700 guests.
The rest of the evening includes a variety of performances by local and regional singers, a choir, Jordanian bands, the national orchestra and folk dance troupes.
The reception ends with the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake.
It will be the royal wedding of the summer – and now new details have emerged on the big day of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and his wife Rajwa Al-Saif