Stockholm celebrates as crown princess marries

SWEDEN is celebrating a Royal wedding this weekend as Crown Princess Victoria marries her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling.

The couple exchanged vows in Stockholm Cathedral yesterday, the same date Victoria's father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, wed Queen Silvia 34 years ago.

Almost 1,000 royals and dignitaries from across the world attended the ceremony, after which the newly married couple headed a grand procession through central Stockholm before boarding the royal barge to sail to the palace for a lavish banquet, hosted by the king and queen.

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It was the first royal wedding in Europe since 2008, when Denmark's Prince Joachim wed Marie Cavallier of France.

Since 6 June, Sweden's national day, the capital has been celebrating under the banner "Love Stockholm 2010" in anticipation of the wedding – the top event on the social calendar.

While the majority of Swedes support the monarchy, the estimated 1.75 million wedding price tag has triggered some anger.

Last year, 56 per cent of Swedes wanted to retain the monarchy, a drop from 68 per cent in 2003, according to a survey by the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg.

The moment Westling said "I do", the gym owner became Duke of Vastergotland and a prince for life – endowed with his own coat of arms and monogram.

Westling grew up in a middle-class family in the village of Ockelbo, central Sweden. His mother was a clerk at the Swedish post office and his father, a manager at a municipal social services centre.

Soon, they will rub shoulders with royals and dignitaries worldwide.

Royal family members and European heads of state converged on Stockholm for the event, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Belgium's King Albert II, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and Prince Albert II of Monaco