In this Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 photo, Circassian guards pose for a photograph outside Basman Palace, in Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
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Circassian guards, who have served Jordan's kings since the founding of the monarchy, still adhere to their ancient traditions, such as donning an incongruous cold weather uniform of black wool hats, red capes and leather boots in this desert climate.Circassians are a mainly Muslim, non-Arab ethnic group that originated on the northeast coast of the Black Sea and in the mountainous Caucasus region, but were dispersed around the Middle East in the mid-19th century after being defeated by the Russians.They have been central to the culture and history of Jordan, where about 100,000 of the world's 3.7 million Circassians live, according to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.Abdullah had a Circassian grandmother, Bezm-i Cihan, according to TE Lawrence's book "Seven Pillars of Wisdsom".In 1948 and 1967, Palestinians from what is now Israel and the West Bank were added to Jordan's population, now making up around half the population.
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