Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan married Saudi architect, Rajwa Al Saif, on Thursday, in a ceremony that brought together royals and politicians from all around the world to celebrate. Among the glamour, Crown Prince Hussein and Princess Rajwa headed from the ceremony to the reception in a parade through Amman in a fantastic 1984 Range Rover, converted to an open-top review car by coachbuilder Wood & Pickett, along with an armada of classic Puma Defender vehicles in tow.
The vehicle is a 1984 "Sheer Rover," one of the many Range Rover conversions offered in Wood & Pickett's catalog. "Sheer" is Persian for "lion," likely marketing aimed at Wood & Pickett's large Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf market. Sheer Rovers were offered in various guises, including six-wheel extended versions, convertibles, and open-top review cars like this one.
The Wood & Pickett conversions were often avante garde re-imaginings of Range Rovers. Many featured modified front fascias, with rectangular headlights and angular front grilles. Top-of-the-line alloy wheels were more or less a must, often in the turbine or dished racing style popular during the time. Wire light guards, brush guards, and custom paint often finished off the exterior aesthetic. Inside, these vehicles often had highly-modified dashboard structures, which would incorporate televisions, refrigerators, or bar cabinets. Some kind of early carphone was almost a must, as were acres of color-keyed leather wrap on everything.
This particular Sheer Rover is part of a set that were ordered for a royal visit by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to Jordan in March 1984. The vehicles were used for the British Royals to visit Petra, the iconic ancient city, alongside King Hussein. They are slightly extended at the rear, with a step plate for entry and two inward seats for security officers. The vehicle is outfitted with four white leather-trimmed Recaro seats, and a support bar for use during Royal parades. Though it perhaps needed a bit of a refresh to the sagging rear suspension, it is still in fine shape after four decades of service.
The parade is actually very traditional in its structure and goes back to parades from when the country's first monarch, King Abdullah I, would arrive at important events on horseback. It's now called the "Red Motorcade," after the red military Defenders that accompany whichever member of the royal family is travelling. In past weddings, other white vehicles have been used, including a Lincoln Continental for the wedding of Prince Hamzah and Princess Noor in 2003.
For Hussein and Rajwa's wedding, the Defenders were Puma-era military vehicles, with open tops, short windscreens, and swivel-mounted machine guns. Along with red BMW motorcycles, they tightly surrounded the Crown Prince and Princess as they drove through Amman. As they pulled out of the Zahran Palace where the traditional Islamic wedding ceremony was held, they were joined in the parade by people in colorful capes which, when extended, formed the stripes of the Jordanian flag, while the red Defenders formed the red chevron at the hoist side, and the Range Rover represented the white star in the chevron. The procession featured the bagpipes and band of the Jordan Armed Forces Musical Band, dressed in shemaghs for the special occasion.
The parade took half an hour to get to the reception at Al Husseiniya Palace, and the Crown Prince and Princess waved at thousands of Jordanians who had a state holiday to celebrate the wedding. On arrival, the traditional Arabic zaffeh greeted them, with a traditional procession of drums, bagpipes, and horns. Throughout the streets, they were serenaded with ululation, the warbling sound that is a traditional expression of joy. Upon arrival, they were let out, with the pop of the door latches and rumble of the Rover idling V8 that are familiar to any Land Rover owner of the era. They celebrated at the reception with the likes of Prince William and Princess Catherine of Wales (the Princess lived in Amman for a few years as a child), King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands, and First Lady Jill Biden.
Often we connect royalty and Land Rovers and ceremonies with the British Royal Family, for the obvious reasons of Land Rover's British heritage and the Windsors' heavy use of Land Rovers every day. But in the world's other Royal Families, they are often just as much a part of the tradition, like Jordan's red Defenders -- and here, as a Range Rover conversion built for the visit of the late British Queen forty years ago is pressed back into service for the future Jordanian King, they can even tie monarchs and eras together.
Relive the parade on Reuters' archived live feed, from the timestamp linked here.
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