They were supposed to marry in an elaborate ceremony in Jordan this April, but alas, the current pandemic altered the grand plans. Not wanting to hold off any longer, Princess Raiyah bint Al Hussein married British journalist, and grandson of renowned children’s author Roald Dahl, Ned Donovan in an intimate ceremony earlier this week.
The date was kept private, but the marriage was announced by the Princess herself on Twitter to thank her followers for their congratulatory wishes, tweeting, “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,” hinting that a wedding celebration in Jordan may still take place in the near future!
Princess Raiyah is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Noor of Jordan, and her engagement to Donovan was announced last October in a statement by the Royal Hashemite Court that read, “The Royal Hashemite Court extends its sincere congratulations to Her Royal Highness Princess Raiyah and to Mr Donovan on this occasion.”
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety restrictions, the newly married couple celebrated their wedding with just a few close friends and family, including Queen Noor of Jordan, Omar Nahar, Jordan’s ambassador to the UK, and members of the Donovan family. To marry Princess Raiyah, Ned Donovan converted to Islam prior to the wedding and has reportedly taken the name Faris, and is learning Arabic. They were wed in a formal Muslim ceremony.
Freelance journalist Donovan is the grandson of the much-loved author Roald Dahl, and has contributed to newspapers such as The Telegraph, New Statesman amongst others. He wrote about his struggle to learn Arabic on his website where he said, “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.”
Princess Raiyah is an academic and scholar herself with an interest in far eastern culture as she got her undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies from the University of Edinburgh and has since earned her masters in Japanese Literature from Columbia in New York and is getting her PhD in pre-modern Japanese literature at UCLA.