The Royal Wedding of the Year?

He will spend his entire life a step behind the future queen, and perhaps he'll be as irritated by this as Denmark's Henrik, who has complains about the "cigarette money" he is allotted by Queen Margrethe. Or maybe he'll be depressed, like the sad Claus behind Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Or perhaps he will develop a quirky sense of humor, like Queen Elizabeth's Prince Philip of Great Britain, who, after state visits, has been known to say things like: "If it has four legs and is not a chair … the Cantonese will eat it."

But perhaps second fiddle is precisely the instrument that suits Westling. Journalist and nobility expert Alexander Graf von Schönburg-Glauchau is more concerned about the groom's family: "When a member of the royal family marries a subject, he comes complete with his entire family, which could be a source of embarrassment," he said with a groan on a ZDF program. "It has always proven to be expedient not to marry subjects, but rather people from countries that are as far away as possible."

A Highly Symbolic Act

In other words, in the case of the Swedish crown princess, a relationship with someone from the Chinese highlands would have been far more suitable than her love for a boy from Ockelbo, only a few hours, by dogsled, north of Stockholm. But who can predict where love will blossom?

But Victoria, as stubborn as she is likeable, isn't just ignoring Schönburg's warning, she also intends to modify the ceremony to reflect her choice for a husband. In the past, it has been traditional for the bride and the groom to walk to the altar together. But Victoria wants to walk at the side of her father, who would then hand her over to Daniel. She wants things to be more conservative!

Meanwhile, nine pastors have already pleaded with the crown princess not to do this. First, they say, because of tradition. For centuries, the bride and groom have walked to the altar together in Sweden's Protestant churches. Second, because of emancipation. "The crown princess can walk on her own two feet," says Pastor Maria Isberg. Her father, she adds, should remain in his pew. "That would be a good signal for equal rights."

In fact, the bride's thought process is far more political than this battle-of-the-sexes pastor realizes. First, she probably wants to demonstrate to the world that her father approves of the marriage. Furthermore, says a spokeswoman for the royal family, it is a highly symbolic act "when the head of state leads his daughter, who is Sweden's crown princess, to the altar."

Sweden's Summer of Love

Sweden has now agreed to embrace the royal wedding and to dub this season its Summer of Love. The Stockholm airport is now the "Official Love Airport 2010," and the Swedes are determined to crank up business as if the wedding were actually an economic stimulus program for the nation.

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