Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sweden royal wedding: Sofia Hellqvist becomes real-life princess

Former model Sofia Hellqvist is marrying Sweden's Prince Carl Philip in a lavish ceremony in Stockholm on Saturday.
It is the first time a Swedish commoner has become a princess of Sweden in centuries.
"It's a real Cinderella story," says royal expert Roger Lundgren.
But like the fairytale, this royal love story has not always run smoothly.
News of the couple's relationship in 2010 caused quite a stir.

Tattoos and topless photos

The prince's new girlfriend was known for appearing in the popular Swedish reality show Paradise Hotel in 2005, which saw young, scantily-clad singles compete to stay in a luxury hotel the longest.
She had also posed topless with a boa constrictor for the men's magazine Slitz.
And her tattoos and belly button piercing raised some eyebrows, with reports that the royal palace may have asked her to have them removed ahead of the weekend's wedding.
"When Carl Philip and Sofia first met I think that many people were critical to her, because of her background and the fact that she had done those bikini-shots and had been part of a reality show," says Johanna Lejon, royals reporter for the newspaper Svensk Damtidning.
Meanwhile Catarina Hurtig, the journalist who first broke the news of the couple's relationship, says: "At first there was quite a lot of fuss about her.
"Perhaps it was quite normal [behaviour] for a Swedish teenager, but maybe not a very appropriate history when falling in love with the prince."
But both experts say that attitudes towards her have changed over the years.
"Sofia has shown... that she is not in this relationship for fortune and fame," says Johanna Lejon.

Yoga instructor

Ms Hellqvist, 30, herself has said she does not regret anything about her past, although she would not make all the same decisions again.
Meanwhile, the royal palace has set about highlighting her other achievements.
We now know that after her stint on Paradise Hotel, Ms Hellqvist spent time in New York where she studied accounting and became a yoga instructor, helping to set up a yoga centre.
In 2009, she worked as a volunteer in Ghana, and the next year she co-founded the organisation Project Playground, which helps vulnerable children and young people in South Africa.
The previous focus on the raunchier elements of her past caused a "big problem" for the royal house, says Catarina Hurtig.
So the palace turned its attention on transforming her image, she says. "Her charitable work has been great for the royal house to focus on."
A team of stylists also helped prepare her for her new life, replacing the fake tan with classic outfits and swept-back hairstyles.
Catarina Hurtig says they took inspiration from Prince Carl Philip's mother, Queen Silvia.
Born in Germany, the queen also does not have blue blood, but has gone on to become popular among the Swedish public.

Commoner

It may be down to King Carl XVI Gustaf's own choice of spouse that Prince Carl Philip - who is third in line to the throne - has been able to wed who wants.
The prince, 36, must get permission from the king to marry a commoner, and his great uncles lost their royal titles and succession rights when they went ahead with a wedding without it.