Following the cancellation of a ceremony that was supposed to take place in Jordan in April, Princess Raiyah bint Al Hussein married British journalist, Ned Donovan in a small ceremony earlier this week. While the exact date and location of the couple’s nuptials remain unknown, the Jordanian Princess took to Twitter on July 7 to thank followers and fans for their well wishes. “While it was originally planned for April in Jordan, the pandemic derailed those plans and it was safer for my husband’s family to hold it in the UK,” she wrote. Confirming a celebration in Jordan is still on the cards, the Princess continued, “God willing we look forward to celebrating in Jordan once the situation allows.”
Thank you all for your kind messages on our wedding!While it was originally planned for April in Jordan, the pandemic derailed those plans and it was safer for my husband’s family to hold it in the UK. God willing we look forward to celebrating in Jordan once the situation allows pic.twitter.com/moCMSOxZxp
— Raiyah bint Al-Hussein (@RaiyahHKJ) July 7, 2020
Daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Noor of Jordan, Princess Raiyah’s engagement to Donovan was announced in October 2019, after a statement by The Royal Hashemite Court was published. “The Royal Hashemite Court extends its sincere congratulations to Her Royal Highness Princess Raiyah and to Mr Donovan on this occasion,” the statement read.
Bound by social distancing restrictions, the couple celebrated their special day with only a few friends and family in attendance. The guest list included Queen Noor of Jordan, the mother of the bride, Omar Nahar, Jordan’s ambassador to the UK and members of the Donovan family. Photos from the ceremony show guests sitting at a distance from each other while the couple were married in a formal Muslim ceremony. Having converted to Islam prior to the wedding, Donovan has since taken the name Faris and is currently in the process of learning Arabic.
The grandson of acclaimed children’s writer Roald Dahl, Donovan is a freelance journalist who has previously contributed to publications such as The Spectator, New Statesman and The Telegraph. Writing about his Middle Eastern pursuits on his website, the journalist says, “I recently completed an intensive Modern Standard Arabic course, which taught me two things: that my Arabic is not very good, and that I will keep trying to improve it.” “Primarily my interests lie in Asia, specifically the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent,” he wrote.
Having studied at the University of Edinburgh, where she attained an undergraduate degree in Japanese studies, Princess Raiyah has since gone on to earn a master’s in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in New York, and is currently a PhD candidate in pre-modern Japanese literature at UCLA.