The wedding of Crown Princess Victoria

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The wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling was scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, June 19. The guests arrived at Storkyrkan (Saint Nicholas) Church at 3pm in the heart of Stockholm’s old town known as ‘Gamla stan’. Storkyrkan is Stockholm’s old village church and the current church of the cathedral parish of the city. Built in the middle ages, it has been the scene of royal coronations, weddings, christenings and funerals since the 16th century. Storkyrkan has been the venue for the weddings of kings or successors to the throne on five previous occasions. Gustav Vasa (I) and Katarina of Sachsen-Lauenburg in 1531; King Erik XIV and Karin Månsdotter in 1568; Crown Prince Oscar (I) and Joséphine of Leuchtenberg in 1823; Crown Prince Karl (XV) and Louise of the Netherlands in 1850; and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath in 1976.

The latest royal wedding saw the guests brought to the church in rather modest and functional style – on green buses and Volvo cars, a nod to the environment and to not overdoing the pomp and ceremony. As they waited for the bride and groom the guests enjoyed music from the Herald trumpeters from the Armed Forces Music Centre; Adolf Fredrik’s Girls Choir; the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; National Folk Musicians Hugo and Tomas Westling with accordionist Britt-Marie Jonsson. At 3.30 pm the wedding ceremony began as Crown Princess Victoria was led into the church by her father, King Carl Gustaf. This aspect of the wedding had been the source of some controversy as for many Swedes, including the clergy, the bride being ‘given away’ is viewed as sexist. Archbishop Anders Wejryd, primate of the Church of Sweden, had publicly stated his disapproval. “Being given away is a new phenomenon which occasionally occurs in the Church of Sweden. I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouses’ equality. The couple know where I stand on this matter.” he royal court explained that, in this instance, it was symbolic of the current monarch leading the heir to the throne to the partner the Crown Princess has chosen to help her bear this responsibility. And the monarchy can hardly be considered sexist after the laws of succession were changed in 1980 to allow the King’s eldest child, regardless of gender, to succeed him.

There were seven young flower girls and three page boys. Amongst them were Princess Catharina-Amalia, 6, daughter of the Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Crown Princess Máxima of the Netherlands; Princess Ingrid Alexandra, 6, daughter of Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit; and Prince Christian, 4, son of Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown?Princess Mary. Two grandchildren of King Carl Gustaf’s sisters joined the procession as a flower girl and page boy: Princess Margaretha’s granddaughter Madeleine von Dincklage, 11, daughter of Sybilla Dincklage; and Princess Désirée’s grandson Ian De Geer, 8, who is the son of Tina and Hans de Geer. Queen Silvia’s family were represented by Vivien Sommerlath, 15, daughter of the Queen’s brother, the late Jörg Sommerlath; Giulia Sommerlath, 14, daughter of Thomas Sommerlath from his marriage to Susanne Sommerlath; and Léopold Sommerlath, 7, son of Patrick Sommerlath from his marriage to Camilla Lundén. Patrick Sommerlath is the son of the Queen’s brother, Walther Sommerlath. Two of Daniel Westling’s nieces, Hedvig Blom, 11, and Vera Blom, 6, daughters of Anna Westling Blom, were also flowergirls.

The music for the bride’s fanfare was composed by Ingvar Lidholm (1921-). The piece was originally performed at the Opening of Parliament in 1995. The fanfare was followed by processional music and hymns, including traditional pieces and the first performance of a specially composed hymn by Karin Rehnqvist (1957) ‘A gift to the Bridal Couple from the Royal Academy of Music’; and Hymn 201 by C.D. af Wirsén (1842-1912). Archbishop Anders Wejryd presided over the ceremony, concluding his words to the bride and groom with some down to earth views on life and love: “We wish each of us the possibility of making our way through life successfully and of having control over our lives. We wish each of us the possibility of being needed and useful. We wish each of us the possibility of being carried and of accepting help. We wish each of us the possibility of getting a second chance when we fall short. We wish the two of you all this! “I pray that the Father out of his glorious riches . . . may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Stand firm and be constantly rooted in him.”

The ceremony lasted a little over an hour, when the Crown Princess and her consort, who by marriage had become Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland, left the church and entered the royal carriage to start their procession through Stockholm. A little after 5pm the newlyweds left their carriage at Vasakajen on Djurgården and boarded the Royal Barge ‘Vasaordern’, in which they were rowed across the harbour to the Royal Palace. Complementing the aquatic ceremony was a flypast by the Swedish Air Force. The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel arrived at the dockside quay called ‘Skeppsbron’, in front of the Royal Palace, where they were met by their families and guests of honour, and a musical tribute was performed. The day culminated with a wedding banquet at the Royal Palace beginning at 8pm. (Extract from Royalty Magazine Vol. 21/11)