The King's Wedding Ceremony:
"I'm just the same as you and women have rights too"
The wedding was a fantastic affair , not the least because it was such a positive statement by the King. Hitherto, the king's marriage has been shrouded in secrecy. Nobody has ever really known who the queen was and, most certainly, nobody has ever seen the good lady.
By announcing who he was going to marry, the king broke with all tradition. That she was 'just an ordinary person', an adopted orphan, at that, was even more revolutionary.
When her photograph appeared in the papers in March, it was greeted with incredulity. Then, alas the wedding got postponed because the king (rightly) thought that a great display of pomp and ceremony would not look quite right while Israel were busy trying to kill Arafat and destroy Palestine.
Now the time seemed right and the ceremony went ahead in Rabat. The suspense was electric as nobody was quite sure what was going to happen next, even whether we would get to see the bride at all. It all started in traditional fashion. Not a lady in sight, just the king and his brother sitting on a dais watching the parade of everything traditional, pass by for several hours.
In the next part of the ceremony the bride was duly produced but veiled completely and even though that was more than anyone had ever seen before it seemed a bit of a disappointment.
The couple were paraded through the crowds each seated (presumably cross legged) on thing like a very ornate, octagonal bowl and carried at shoulder height by the male members of their respective families. The lady was still veiled entirely and the consensus was that he had already broken with tradition enough and that would be all that would be seen of the lady.
Not so. The following day the king and his bride were to be found seated together, the bride unveiled and looking fabulously beautiful as everyone came to pay their respects. All of the events, other than the fact that everything was stunningly lavish, was just as any Moroccan wedding, everything done in the same order, everything done in the same way, everything done by he book, the Moroccan wedding traditions.
Then it got even more spectacularly different and new. There were 200 other couples who got married at the same time (and at the kings expense) and they were all there as part of the party.
To everyone's astonishment, the king and his new bride then walked among the 400 newly-weds, exchanging greetings, just as if they were all one and the same. In the evening there was a massive dinner party for them all and again the king and his bride joined in as one of the throng.
Fatima watched the entire thing in total disbelief, tears of happiness rolling down her cheeks and unable to speak. What the king had done, and done in a stunningly spectacular way, was to say "I'm just the same as you and women have rights too". The king has said all along that he wants Morocco to change and this was his personal way of showing that he means what he says.