Few public events measure up to a royal wedding in terms of their splendour. During the festivities, ancient traditions are interwoven with modern royal ceremonies. This happy family event is also a public celebration.
Even Gustav Vasa knew how to put on a show. He decided that the Archbishop should officiate at his wedding, a tradition that will be respected at the Crown Princess' wedding.
Gustav Vasa and his bride, Katarina of Sachsen-Lauenburg, rode in procession from the palace to the church. They processed under canopies, which were carried above their heads. The arrival of the royal procession was announced with drums and a flourish of trumpets. The last bridal couple to use the velvet canopies on their way to Stockholm Cathedral from the Royal Palace was Crown Prince Karl (XV) and Princess Lovisa of the Netherlands in 1850.
Ceremonies that have been preserved
Several ceremonies have been preserved from those times, including page attendants, parading royal bodyguards and grenadier guards. As has the ritual of placing Royal crowns, the principal symbols of the country and the monarch as Head of State, on the velvet cushion at the altar.
The first Bernadotte wedding
Karl XIV Johan became heavily involved in the wedding between his son Crown Prince Oscar (I) and Princess Josefina in 1823. He abandoned several of the oldest ceremonies, including the ancient tradition in which the women guests undress the bride and lead her to the bridal bed. He also put an end to the public supper, the torchlight dance and tournament.
Kronprinsparet Gustaf (VI) Adolf och Louise ankomst till Stockholm 10 december1923. Foto: Erik Holmén.
The arrival of the Crown Prince Couple Gustaf VI Adolf and Louise in Stockholm on 10 December 1923. Photo: Erik Holmén.
Royal procession becomes cortège
The royal processions to the church have today been replaced by a cortège through Stockholm following the wedding ceremony. The bridal couple is taken in a parade barouche drawn by four or six horses à la Daumont (jockey rider on the left hand side horses).
Traditions that have been added over time include the choice of the wedding date, 19 June. Crown Princess Victoria shares the date of her wedding in 2010 with Queen Josefina in 1823, Queen Lovisa in 1850 and Queen Silvia in 1976.
Princess Sophie of Nassau (Queen Sofia) entered Stockholm on 19 June 1857 following her marriage with Crown Prince Oscar (II) in Wiesbaden.
Queen Josefina brought with her a precious collection of jewels to Sweden in 1823. When our current King's sister, Princess Birgitta, chose Queen Josefina's cameo tiara as her bridal crown for her wedding with Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern in 1961, she started a new tradition among the Bernadotte brides. Since her wedding, the cameo tiara has been worn by Princess Désirée in 1964 and Queen Silvia in 1976.
The first time a royal wedding was filmed was in 1923, when Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) and the Duke of York (George VI), were married in England. In Sweden, live coverage is now a natural element of royal weddings since the royal wedding in 1976.