The halls were gilded and richly adorned. Sara and I counted 180 paintings hanging in the entry hall alone. Sara recoiled in dismay and said that the selections of art were picked by one with little or no knowledge of the great masters. Garish carpets with embroidered birds and beasts of every type laid across endless floors. The ornate bedrooms made my soul feel heavy; I wondered how children of the same blood could so different in judgment of style.
While Nura had failed miserably in decorating her home, her gardens were a masterpiece. Nearly a mile of lakes and lawns decorated with beautifully arranged flowers, shrubs, and trees encircled her palace. There were many surprises to delight the eye: sculptures, colorful bird houses, fountains spouting water, and even a children's merry-go-round.
I was going to be married to Kareem in the garden at nine o'clock in the evening. Nura knew that I loved yellow roses, and thousands of them, flown in from Europe, were now floating on the lake beside the rose-covered pavilion where Kareem would come to claim me. Nura proudly announced that people were already whispering that this was the wedding of the decade.
There are no announcements of engagements and weddings in Saudi Arabia; these matters are considered extremely private. But gossip of monies spent and grand occasions staged travels throughout the land, with each section of the Royal Family striving to outspend the other.