AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Royalty prayed and sobbed at the grave of King Hussein on Thursday, while other Jordanians crowded mosques and churches across the Arab kingdom to observe the traditional 40th day of mourning for their longtime leader.

Hussein's grave was surrounded by wreaths of white flowers, and prayers there were attended by virtually all members of the ruling Hashemite family.

Prince Hassan, the late king's brother, and his son Rashed prayed at the grave, but left before King Abdullah arrived to preside over a service attended by nearly all other male family members. Shortly before his Feb. 7 death, King Hussein replaced Hassan as heir to the Jordanian throne in favor of Abdullah.

In line with the Muslim tradition of segregating the sexes, separate prayers were attended by Queen Noor, the American-born wife of the late king, and princesses, who sobbed at the grave.

Thousands of people from all walks of life also visited the Royal Cemetery. Men dressed in black wept as they prayed.

Newspapers were adorned by black-bonded pictures of Hussein, poetry and emotional ads paid respects to the late king. All of the dailies used the same words: ``Hussein: Forever in our hearts and thoughts.''

More prayers were scheduled for throughout the day in mosques and churches across Jordan. King Abdullah was to preside over a special sermon at an Amman mosque on Thursday evening.

The prayers mark the end of the 40-day official mourning period for King Hussein, who was the longest-reigning Arab monarch until his death of cancer at age 63.

Starting Friday, Jordanian flags will fly at full staff again and state-run radio and television will return to their usual programs, ending recitals from the Muslim holy book, the Koran. Nightclubs and discotheques that have been closed since Hussein's death will reopen and state-sponsored public functions will resume.

But another 50 days of mourning will be observed by the royal family.