Royalty and dignitaries from around the world started arriving Thursday for Sweden's biggest royal party for decades — the lavish wedding between Crown Princess Victoria and personal trainer Daniel Westling.
The royal court said that more than 950 guests will watch the couple tie the knot on Saturday in the refurbished Stockholm Cathedral, including Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito, Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Sofia of Spain.
The matrimonial ceremony between Victoria, 32, and Westling, 36, will be the first royal wedding in Europe since 2008, when Denmark's Prince Joachim wed Marie Cavallier of France. The last time Swedes enjoyed such an event was when Victoria's parents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married 34 years ago.
The wedding between Victoria and a commoner — with a price tag of 20 million kronor ($2.6 million) — has been much-awaited among royal houses and royalty fans. Royalists also hope it will boost the waning popularity of the Swedish monarchy, that dates back more than 1,000 years.
Victoria is the oldest of three siblings and is first in line to the throne. She met Westling, who grew up in a middle-class family in central Sweden, at the gym he managed in Stockholm eight years ago.
More than 5,000 soldiers and volunteers have been recruited to line the procession route and some 2,000 police are working round-the-clock to ensure security. Airspace over Stockholm and the central harbor area will be closed.
"It's a nice surprise because the British royals don't always attend these things," he said. "Edward and Sophie are also the only ones that Victoria socializes with so it makes sense that they're coming."
The Swedish court announced the Spanish king would attend, but later corrected the guest list saying Spain would be represented by Queen Sofia and other royals.
They will rub shoulders with Sweden's political and business elite as well as the cream of society, including singer Per Gessle from 1980s rock group Roxette, golfer Tiger Woods' mother-in-law, Barbro Holmberg, and members of the influential Wallenberg family.