In just a few hours time, the royal wedding of the year takes place in Stockholm. The only son of the King and Queen of Sweden, Prince Carl Philip, marries Sofia Hellqvist this afternoon.
The ceremony will take place in the Royal Chapel of the Royal Palace in the Swedish capital. It will begin around 4.30pm local time when the bride will walk down the aisle on the arm of her father, Erik Hellqvist, for the seventh royal wedding to take place in the building since it was consecrated in 1754. The couple will exchange wedding rings which the groom helped design.
The church will be filled with members of European royalty with The Earl and Countess of Wessex among them. Following the ceremony the newlyweds will enjoy a carriage ride through the streets of Stockholm in the same coach used at the wedding of the groom’s parents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Members of Sweden’s Armed Forces will parade along the route and there will also be a gun salute.
The couple began their celebrations on Friday night when they were joined by family and some royal guests, including Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, at a pre wedding dinner.
Prince Carl Philip is third in line to the throne of Sweden but was briefly heir following his birth. Seven months later the succession laws were changed to allow the eldest child of a monarch to succeed regardless of gender and so the little prince made way for his big sister, now Crown Princess Victoria. His bride works for charities supporting young people – previously she has been a model and appeared on Swedish reality TV.
The couple have given interviews to the Swedish media ahead of the wedding and both confessed to being a bit nervous but very excited about their big day. Sofia Hellqvist has been involved in many high profile royal events since her engagement was announced, most recently taking part in celebrations for Sweden’s national day on June 6th. She said that being at Carl Philip’s side for these occasions was very special, adding ‘I’ve been able to participate in a large part of his life and play an active role within the royal family and represent Sweden’.
And that role will only get bigger from today. Following her marriage, the bride will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia, Duchess of Varmland and she is expected to take on an even higher profile with more engagements and public appearances.
And it all starts today as Sofia Hellqvist says ‘I do’ to her prince in Europe’s Royal Wedding of the Year.
Photo credit: Erika Gerdemark and kungahuset.se