Sat, June 19, 2010
World > Europe

Sweden's royal wedding a combination of modernity, tradition

2010-06-19 12:35:43 GMT2010-06-19 20:35:43 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and her fiance Daniel Westling pose under the umbrella during a Government reception at Stockholm City Hall June 18, 2010 as part of this weekend wedding celebrations. Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and her fiance Daniel Westling will be married on June 19. (Reuters Photo)

(L to R) Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, his wife Filippa Reinfeldt, Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, her fiance Daniel Westling, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrive for a Government reception at Stockholm City Hall June 18, 2010, as part of this weekend's wedding celebrations. (Reuters Photo)

by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling, her former fitness trainer, will hold their wedding ceremony at the Cathedral here Saturday afternoon.

"The preparation for the wedding ceremony is a process of reflecting history in Sweden," said Nina Eldh, head of the Information Department at the Swedish Royal Court.

Royal Historian Goran Alm outlined the history to the Swedish crown.

"You can wonder why Sweden had a French Prince become the Swedish Crown," he said. "This is because, before 1810, Sweden lost one third of its land, lost Finland to Russia. Sweden needed a hero. So they chose a French Prince, Jean Benadotte, to become Swedish King."

"He indeed gave Sweden peace. Benadotte's son, Carl, married a young princess whose father was Napoleon's stepson on June 19, 1823, in the Cathedral. And that was a Saturday. Since then, Victoria's wedding will be the fifth to be held on a Saturday. Victoria's parents married on the same day in 1976 in the same church. And the pastor on Saturday will wear the same clothes as the pastor wore in 1823," the historian said in an early briefing.

The fact the Crown Princess is to marry an ordinary man is also a kind of tradition because her father, the current king Carl XVI Gustaf, married an ordinary woman, Silvia from Germany. The low key royal family enjoys a good reputation in Swedish society even though there is a drop in support lately.

Lena Rangstrom from the Royal Armory explained the process for inheriting the crown in Sweden.

"It was in 1980 when Sweden amended the law so that no matter whether it is a boy or a girl, as long as it is the first child of the royal family, she or he can become ruler. This shows the equality mind-set in Sweden. That also made it possible for the princess to marry an ordinary person," she said.

"Tradition is the continuity of our society, and the wedding ceremony will reflect our traditions from many aspects," Rangstrom told Xinhua.

Eldh said the young couple and the royal family also considered the environmental aspects in planning the ceremony.

"We bought the flowers in fair trade, and in transport, we use green cars. The princess doesn't want fireworks to avoid smoke and emissions," Eldh said.

A total of 1,200 guests, including most of Europe's royal families, kings, queens and presidents will attend the wedding ceremony and 500 guests will attend the banquet hosted by the Swedish King and Queen.

Crown Princess Victoria, 32, has known Westling, 36, since 2002. The two were engaged in February 2009.

There will be some 2,300 journalists reporting on the wedding ceremony and the banquet.

A total of 2,000 policemen and 6,400 soldiers will be deployed in the streets to ensure a happy day for the couple, and numerous security personnel will be present.

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