If a list of the world’s recognized and beloved royalty were put together, the top names would likely include: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, (future Princess) Kate Middleton, and Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah, who is married to the current King Abdullah II.
Yet according to www.officialroyalwedding2011.org, no dignitaries or representatives from the Kingdom of Jordan were included. Why then, didn’t their names appear on the official guest list for Friday’s upcoming Royal Wedding?
Here are the four most likely reasons:
1. For whatever reason, King Abdullah and Queen Rania were indeed snubbed by Buckingham Palace. Given Britain and Jordan’s close official ties, a cold-shoulder would have to come from the British monarchy and not the government. This, however, seems highly unlikely as there is no news (nor even rumors) to suggest the two monarchies are suffering from frosty feelings.
2. The official royal wedding website clearly states, “The following are all confirmed attendees at the Royal Wedding as of 23rd April 2011,” making it a possibility that King Abdullah and Queen Rania have yet to respond. Again though, this explanation is also unlikely given such a late reply would come across as rude.
3. Another possible rationale could be that Abdullah and Rania do not want to attract attention and have asked that their names be withheld to avoid the fanfare. While far more plausible, such a move wouldn’t fit with the family’s style and previous record of attending events.
4. The final possibility is that with unrest all around Jordan and riots and protests breaking out inside its own borders, King Abdullah may have decided it wise to let Buckingham Palace know from the beginning that he is not interested in coming, to avoid being perceived as someone tied to and more concerned with the pomp and circumstance than the difficult economic issues facing his country. This seems to make the most sense. Although slightly damaging to Jordanians' pride, who seem genuinely upset that Jordan has been “snubbed,” declining the invitation could help alleviate the criticism that the King and especially Rania have come under for living an elite jet-setting life style. Nevertheless, the fact that his name never appeared on the original guest list released back in February puts holes in this theory as well.
Surely, if the King of Tonga was invited (no disrespect to his majesty of the South Pacific Island), then the King and Queen of Jordan must have been extended an invitation, right? After all, Jordan was an official British Protectorate until May 1946 and has maintained very close relations with the U.S. and Great Britain. In fact, King Abdullah spent a year in school in London and since ascending the throne has made several visits to London including a high-profile visit last summer for bilateral talks on how to move forward with the idea of Palestinian statehood.
Earlier yesterday, Hannah, a member of Buckingham Palace’s press office, politely refused comment to inquires regarding the Jordan royal family’s conspicuous absence saying that Buckingham Palace left it up to individuals to answer questions regarding the wedding. The Jordan Times – Jordan’s main English-language newspaper – did not return my call and Queen Rania did not answer the several Tweets I sent to her Majesty’s official Twitter account.
From talking with friends in Jordan, there is a sense of disappointment and even indignity. Rania, of course, holds impressive sway in the West, always promoting charities and initiatives and constantly in the media spotlight. While her husband, King Abdullah, might not possess the same magnetism and charisma, he is a pretty well-appreciated royal figure and leader in his own right. After all, he has only successfully further developed the Hashemite Kingdom Jordan into a peaceful and Western-friendly country wedged between Israel/Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.
Still, King Abdullah was rated the fourth most influential Muslim in the world by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center (which is based in Jordan, of course).
Whatever the reason, the mystery grows. Some blogs and websites claim the Jordanian royal family is confirmed to attend while others make it a point to highlight their absence. Whether they do end up attending remains to be seen; however the strange silence and lack of information continues to raise questions as to why the plans of one of the world’s most glamorous royal couples are not better known.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons