A fairy-tale wedding: Sweden’s princess to wed commoner

Stockholm, June 7 (IANS) Sweden’s Princess Madeleine will wed Saturday a commoner who is a US business school graduate. The marriage will have one of largest gatherings of kings and queens that Europe has seen for years.

Amidst great pomp and pageantry, Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine Therese Amelie Josephine Bernadote of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, will wed Anglo-Irish commoner Christopher O’Neil Saturday.

The wedding will be officiated by Swedish bishop emeritus Lars-Göran Lönnermark, in the Royal Palace Church, Slottskyrkan, in scenic Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan.

The youngest child and second daughter of their majesties King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia, Madeleine was born June 10, 1982, and was third in line of succession to the Bernadote throne of Sweden.

However, since then she has been down to the fourth place after her sister, Crown Princess Vitoria, gave birth to daughter Estelle in February 2012.

She has an elder brother, Carl Philip, but he does not succeed his father due to the right of Swedish succession, since this generation follows the law of primogeniture.

India will be represented by Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty and Vasundara Shetty.

The 1,200 guests in the church will include kings and queens, most still reigning. The wedding is set to attract one of largest gatherings of kings and queens seen in Europe for years, a guest list for Friday’s pre-wedding concert shows.

The only non-European royals will be the crown prince Naruhito of Japan and King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan with their children.

The Bernadotes are through blood or marriages related to the entire pantheon of European royalty and nobility.

Madeleine has lived in New York where she works for the World Childhood Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by her mother.

In 2010, she broke off an earlier engagement after media reports claimed that her then fiance had cheated on her.

She marries O’Neil who was born in London and holds dual American and British citizenship, according to a CV released by the royal palace.

He studied at a boarding school in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from Boston University and a Master’s from Columbia Business School in New York.

A noteworthy concession has been granted to O’Neil — a Roman Catholic; he does not have to convert to Lutheranism, the state religion of Sweden.

The entire country is agog with the royal celebration which has all the trappings of a fairy-tale wedding.

Although a few disgruntled voices are heard complaining about the burden the event lays on the national exchequer, the Swedes by and large wish their beloved royal family all joy.

(Alfred de Tavares can be contacted at [email protected])

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