Crowned heads arrive in Jordan for crown prince's wedding
Wed May 26, 1:33 PM ET Add Mideast - AFP to My Yahoo!
AMMAN (AFP) - Several crowned heads and other distinguished guests arrived in the Jordanian capital to attend the wedding celebration the following day of Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein.
The 24-year-old heir to the throne is the half-brother of King Abdullah II and the son of the late King Hussein and Queen Noor, formerly Lisa Halabi, an American of Lebanese origin.
He was engaged last August to Princess Noor, the daughter of Prince Assem bin Nayef, a cousin of King Hussein.
Among the first to arrive were Spain's Queen Sophia, official Petra news agency reported.
Reports from Madrid said Crown Prince Felipe and his new bride, former journalist Letizia Ortiz, also flew to Jordan Wednesday after a three-day mini-honeymoon in northern Spain.
Farah Diba, the widow of the late shah of Iran also arrived Wednesday and was received by Prince Hamza's half-brother, Prince Faisal, who is commander in chief of the air force, Petra said.
Prince Andrew, son of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (news - web sites) was also among the royalty flew in for the celebration, which will be held in the Zahran Palace, in west Amman, the agency said.
Brunei's Crown Prince Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, who is due to marry in September, arrived Monday.
The court has declined to provide the press with an advance list of the guests due to attend the celebration, but sources close to the palace said invitations had been sent to several Arab and Western dignitaries.
Zahran Palace, the former residence of King Hussein's late mother, has been spruced up for the event, and workers were still putting the finishing touches Wednesday afternoon.
Jordanian security forces fanned across Amman, and the capital was decked with Jordanian flags.
Earlier in the day King Abdullah hosted an all-male lunch for Prince Hamza that brought together royal family members, senior government leaders, tribal chiefs as well as political figures and Arab diplomats.
Prince Hamza is the 43rd direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.
King Abdullah officially named him crown prince February 7, 1999 on the death of their father.
Like all other members of the Jordanian royal family he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Britain, graduating in 1999 as a commissioned officer in the Jordan Arab Army.
He and Princess Noor, 22, are currently studying in the United States and the palace had said the couple would return there to continue their studies after the wedding.