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Sweden celebrates royal wedding
Crown Princess Victoria says "yes" to former personal trainer at ceremony in Stockholm.
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2010 03:19 GMT
Several days of celebrations were held
ahead of the wedding [AFP]

The Swedish Crown Princess Victoria has said "yes" to Daniel Westling, her former personal trainer, in the country's long-awaited royal wedding.

More than 1,000 guests, including royalties from around the world, attended the ceremony in Stockholm Cathedral on Saturday.

Security was tight in the capital, with 7,000 security personell deployed, the biggest security operation ever in the Scandinavian country.

The future queen's relationship with Westling, a commoner from a small town, has been under close scrutiny since it got known to the public eight years ago.

Possibly because of the heavy media coverage, anti-royalist sentiments have grown stronger in Sweden in recent years.

Only half of the population now wants a monarchy and a quarter does not support the royal family, according to a poll released on Friday.

'Altargate'

The set-up of the wedding ceremony had stirred controversy in the country which views itself as a front runner in the field of gender equality.

Swedish couples getting married in church normally walk to the altar together, a tradition which is said to symbolise that the man and the women both enter the marriage of their own free will.

But Victoria had expressed a wish to be escorted down the aisle by her father, King Carl Gustaf XVI, causing a media storm dubbed 'Altargate'.

in depth

 

  Royal altar walk stirs controversy

Anders Wejryd, the Swedish Archbishop, had joined the critics who described the decision as a step backwards for women's liberation and the final ceremony reflected a compromise - the King and Westling each walked half the way to the altar with the Crown Princess.

Guests attending the celebrations included Jordan's King Abdullah, Japan's heir to the throne, Prince Albert of Monaco and many other European royalties.

Victoria is the current successor to the throne.

It was three years after her birth, in 1980, that Sweden became the first country to make its Act of Succession gender-neutral so as to allow the throne to be passed to the first-born child, whether male or female.

The monarch is the head of state but does not have any political powers. He makes no political statements and does not vote.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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