Swedish Princess Madeleine weds New York banker
STOCKHOLM – Swedish Princess Madeleine fell in love in the Big Apple. Now she has said "yes" to New York banker Christopher O'Neill in a lavish and emotional wedding ceremony in Stockholm.
Madeleine was wearing a stunning white lace-top dress designed by Valentino Garavani when she tied the knot to British-American O'Neill on Saturday in front of around 470 European royals and top New York socialites.
O'Neill fought back tears as Madeleine walked down the aisle with her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, to a traditional Swedish wedding march performed by a children's choir. The bride and groom were visibly moved as the ceremony proceeded with hymns in both Swedish and English, and performances by Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson and Broadway's "Phantom of the Opera" star Peter Joback.
With a smile on her face, Madeleine read out the wedding vows in Swedish while O'Neill read his in English.
Madeleine, 30, is the youngest of Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia's three children and fourth in line to the throne. The 38-year-old O'Neill works as a partner and head of research at Noster Capital, a hedge fund with offices in London and New York.
The couple met through mutual friends in New York, where they both live, and were first spotted together having lunch at the Central Park Boathouse in January 2011. They announced their engagement in October 2012.
Guests at the wedding include the U.K.'s Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Sophie; Princess Takamado of Japan and princes and princesses from Norway, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg and Monaco.
O'Neill has also invited many of his super-rich friends, such as Opel heir Georg von Opel, Cadbury chocolate heir Joel Cadbury, Colombian billionaire Alejandro Santo Domingo, and Aidan and Fizzy Barclay. Other well-known invitees are Duran Duran band member John Taylor, the CEO of fashion retailer H&M, Karl-Johan Persson, and golfer Jesper Parnevik.
Outside the palace, several thousand royal fans had gathered in the sunshine waving Swedish flags and hoping to catch a glimpse of the couple.
"We hope she will be very happy in the future, the princess Madeleine," said Julia Huelsman, who had traveled from Munich, Germany for the occasion.
The marriage is the latest in a series of glamorous royal weddings that have mesmerized Europe in the past years. In June 2010, Madeleine's older sister Crown Princess Victoria wed her personal trainer Daniel Wesling in a grand ceremony in Stockholm and the year after Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot in extravagant fashion in front of an estimated 2 billion television viewers. Also in 2011, Prince Albert II of Monaco wed Charlene Lynette Wittstock and in 2012, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg united with Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy.
The Swedish royal family has only ceremonial duties, such as attending award ceremonies, promoting Swedish businesses abroad and supporting charities. As the head of state, the king also receives foreign dignitaries on formal visits to Sweden.