Jill Biden to attend Saudi Crown Prince, tour Middle East and North Africa

 May 27, 2023

First Lady Jill Biden confirmed on Friday through a spokesperson that she will attend the wedding of Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein to longtime girlfriend Rajwa Al Saif on June 1, as well as making other stops in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Bidens have developed a friendship with Hussein's parents, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, over Biden's many years in politics, and Jill Biden joins a long list of world leaders, many of them members of royal families, who will be attending the event.

Biden and King Abdullah II met for breakfast many times while Biden was vice president and Abdullah's son was attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. They have also met three times since Biden became president.

The wedding will take place at Zahran Palace in Jordan's capital, Amman.

Family ties

Hussein is 28, the oldest child of the king and queen. The bride, Al Saif, is an architect from Saudi Arabia.

The wedding comes less than three months after Hussein's younger sister, Princess Iman, married Jameel Alexander "Jimmy" Thermiótis in March.

The queen and Al Saif took part in the traditional pre-wedding henna party on May 22, and were seen holding hands and embracing.

The queen also gave an emotional speech that had Al Saif dabbing her eyes with a napkin.

"You are his family"

Queen Rania said to guests at the party, “I’m so happy that you could all be here to celebrate with us. Today is a special day for us, and to our entire Jordanian family: Our joy is one and the same… near or far, you are all in our hearts today.”

She said she had long dreamed of her son's wedding day, and added, “Al Hussein is your son as much as he is mine – you are his family and this is your celebration."

Al Saif's gown for the party took 1,100 hours to create and contained secret messages related to both her homeland of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which will be her new home.

Al Saif is a member of the Saudi royal family; her mother is the first cousin of King Salman.

Strained relations with Saudis

While the Bidens are longtime friends of Jordan's royals, the same cannot be said of relations with Saudi Arabia, which have become so strained since Biden took office that leadership has declined requests from Biden not to cut oil production at a shaky economic time for the U.S.

It was not clear whether Jill Biden would visit Saudi Arabia while in the region.

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