Moroccan Monarch Gets Married in Private Ceremony
Morocco's Monarch, Mohammed VI, is to marry a 24-year-old computer engineering graduate Thursday in a private ceremony.
The highly publicized announcement of the marriage by the palace this week breaks with tradition in Morocco, which until now has been one of the Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, where royal wives have been hidden behind a veil of privacy, according to AFP.
As crown prince Mohammad, currently aged 38, was a party-goer and since coming to the throne in July 1999 on the death of his father he has forged a reputation as a modernizer.
Thursday's private ceremony will be followed by a celebration on April 12 at Marrakesh with magnificence and ceremony in the presence of Moroccan and foreign guests.
The bride Salma Bennani, is the daughter of a university professor in Fez. Her mother died when she was three and she was brought up by her grandmother in Rabat.
After taking a scientific baccalaureate at the Lycee Moulay Youssef in the capital, she studied computer engineering, gaining a major in her year, and then took a post as engineer with Omnium Nord-Africain (ONA), the kingdom's biggest private group.
The decision to reveal the identity of his wife and celebrate their nuptials so publicly was described as "revolutionary" by Liberation, the French language paper of the ruling leftist Socialist Union of Popular Forces party.
It said the move was consistent with "the modernity preached by the king" and that with this "historic and symbolic" announcement, Moroccan women would gain "a recognition that they had never clearly had before", the News Agency added.
The newspaper admitted that its own editorial staff had been unsure how to handle the announcement, as it had no experience in such coverage. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)