12 APRIL 2004
Princess Haya of Jordan, half-sister to King Abdullah and daughter of the late King Hussein, has married the crown prince of Dubai, General Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The private ceremony took place on Saturday, and was attended only by close family members.
The princess is the elder of two children Hussein had with his third wife, Alia Toukan. The royal, who turns 30 on May 3, graduated from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and is a keen horsewoman who spent time on a stud farm in Ireland after graduating.
She was also the first women in Jordan with a licence to drive heavy vehicles and articulated lorries. "My father's nickname for me is 'The Trucker'," she revealed in a 1996 interview in HELLO! "When I am in Jordan I go to truckers' cafes and chat to everybody."
The independent princess said in the same interview: "I don't think I could be happy without a career. I've got far too much energy and I get bored easily. I would drive a husband mad as I have to be out of the house."
Her groom, who is 55, is the Minister of Defence of the United Arab Emirates as well as being the crown prince of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the rapidly developing region.
King Abdullah and Queen Rania were both present at the wedding ceremony, which was held in the al-Baraka palace in Amman. Also present was Crown Prince Hamzah, the son of King Hussein and his fourth wife, American-born Queen Noor; Abdullah's brother Prince Faisal, and the princess' full brother Prince Ali.
In just a few weeks' time, Jordanians will have more nuptial festivities on May 27, the date for the official public celebrations of Crown Prince Hamzah's private 2003 wedding with Princess Noor Hamzah.