Eliot Press, Bauer-Griffin
While giving the bride away is a mainstay in American weddings, Swedish wedding tradition dictates that the bride and groom walk down the aisle together.
Her decision has prompted the head of the Swedish church, Archbishop Anders Wejryd, to issue a public statement expressing his disapproval at the royal couple choosing to add the Anglo-Saxon tradition to their wedding ceremony. He said, "Being given away is a new phenomenon which occasionally occurs in the Church of Sweden. I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouses' equality. The couple know where I stand on this matter."
The controversy surrounds the church's view that walking down the aisle together shows that the spouses are equal and they take the act of the father giving his daughter away as sexist.
The church is hoping that this decision by the princess will not encourage other brides to do the same thing. Today, one in 10 Swedish brides are given away.
A priest and theologian, Annika Borg, thinks that modern Swedish brides are being influenced by the weddings they see in Hollywood films. "I think it's unfortunate that Sweden's future head of state has chosen to follow a practice that is not Swedish tradition. The idea of the couple entering the church together symbolizes that the man and the woman are entering the marriage of their own free will," she said.
"We've got a carefully worked-out position on this matter in the Swedish church, and in the future it is going to be very hard for us to resist requests from brides who want to be given away."
A spokesperson fro the Royal Court said Princess Victoria's decision was a symbolic one. "This has a bigger dimension. This isn't a father giving away his daughter to another man. The symbolism is that the king is leading the heir (Princess Victoria is the heir-apparent to the throne) to the nation's throne to the altar -- and to the man who has been accepted."
Princess Victoria's wedding will be the first royal wedding in over 30 years. The wedding is set for June 19th, her parents' 34th wedding anniversary. At King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia's wedding in 1976 the royal bride and groom walked down the aisle together.
If a Swedish royal wedding sounds familiar, you may remember that Princess Victoria's younger sister, Princess Madeleine, called off her wedding to Jonas Bergstrom in April because he had an affair with a university student while on vacation.
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