December 24, 2012

A royal wedding for 2013! Swedish royals announce Princess Madeleine will marry Chris O'Neill

Royal wedding: Princess Madeleine of Sweden will marry her banker fiance, British-born, American-based banker Christopher O'Neill in Stockholm on 8 June 2013

After 12 months of royal revelry that was the Queen's Jubilee year and the excitement of Wills and Kate's wedding, the people of Britain - and the world - have been rather overcome with a new fondness for all things royal. 

So we can expect more than the usual eager anticipation at the news that Princess Madeleine of Sweden will this summer marry the man she calls her soulmate, British-born banker Christopher O'Neill.

The 30-year-old princess and her 38-year-old fiance will wed on 8 June in the church inside Stockholm's gilded royal palace, its opulent interior cast in Carrara marble with sweeping staircases, and ornate columns.

Handsome couple: Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill at a formal gathering of the Swedish Academy earlier this week
The couple announced their engagement via the Swedish royal family's website in October, and accompanied the news with an intimate black and white engagement portrait shot by renowned French photographer Patrick Demarchelier.

Then the portrait drew comparisons with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's similarly intimate Mario Testino shot - a relationship of a blue blood and a non-royal that echoes the Swedish couple's in more ways than one.

The Swedish royals announced their engagement alongside an intimate portrait shot by renowned French photographer Patrick Demarchelier
In what is a sign of the times for the thoroughly modern royals of Sweden, the couple announced their engagement in a video recorded at the Drottningholm Palace just outside Stockholm.

In the missive, Princess Madeleine revealed that O'Neill proposed at the beginning of October and said she was 'extremely happy'.

Ornate: The interior of the church of the Stockholm Royal Palace in Sweden where the couple will say their vows in June
Mr O'Neill added: 'Madeleine and I have known each other for two years and I recently summoned up the courage to ask her to marry me. Thankfully she said yes.' 

Spectacular: The rooms are cast from Carrara marble with ornate columns and gilding
He also tried a few words in Swedish, saying he was trying to learn the language but admitted that he found it 'difficult.'

The two met in New York in 2010, just months after Princess Madeleine called off her previous engagement to lawyer Jonas Bergstrom.

Engaged: Princess Madeleine of Sweden, 30, and British-born banker, Chris O'Neill, 37
O'Neill, who is a millionaire financial adviser who studied at Columbia University, is based in New York and the two had been living together in the city before their engagement was announced. 

Given that O'Neill is now an American citizen, Swedish law states that he will never be King. He would have to become a Swedish citizen in order to become a Duke, something that it is thought will happen ahead of the summer nuptials.

Sister act: Madeleine's sister Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel on their wedding day in 2010
Royal observers say that  Princess Madeleine's wedding is likely to play host to around 500 guests, and will be less lavish than the 1,000 strong celebration held when Crown Princess Victoria, 35, married her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, in 2010. 

The guest list is likely to be less formal too, with Swedish dignitaries attending alongside friends and family, but the kings and queens from around the world unlikely to be in attendance.

Chris O'Neill's future family: (L-R) Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine, Queen Silvia, King Carl Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
The venue, Stockholm's palace church, also played host to the christening of Princess Estelle, the baby daughter of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel Westling earlier this year.

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