Thursday, 2 September 2010

New books: The official wedding book

Two months to the day after the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, Natur och Kultur published the official wedding book, Vårt bröllop – Kronprinsessan Victoria och prins Daniel 19 juni 2010, with texts by Susanna Popova and photos by Paul Hansen.
In a foreword the bridal couple say they concluded that such a book would be a good way to let the public take part of the wedding itself and the preparations for it. The book thus begins with an interview with the Crown Princess and Prince where they talk about their first meeting, their relationship, what they love about each other, the proposal and the engagement.
The book also takes a look behind the scenes at various stages of the preparations for the wedding. The couple go to Daniel’s hometown Ockelbo, they try the food and the cake and visit the Cathedral. The Crown Princess tries on the wedding dress and we hear about how the various departments of the royal court prepared for the wedding and get a glimpse of the renovation works at Haga Palace.
Then come the publishing of the banns of marriage and the wedding celebrations themselves. The book ends with transcripts of the speeches and a list of guests (which includes at least two persons who were in fact not present after all).
The texts often seem too brief and one is left with the feeling that one gets just a taste of the topic they deal with. The bridal couple say in the foreword that such a book is also a way to show off part of the cultural heritage and traditions which are kept in trust by the monarchy, but it seems there is too little space available to pursue such an ambition.
This is obviously a book written for enthusiasts and as such takes an entirely uncritical approach to the subject. Furthermore the texts are not always very engagingly written – the account of the church service for instance reads too much like “then they did this and then that piece of music was played”. As the author was given privileged access to all parts of the celebrations, one feels she might have given a more personal and less disconnected account.
The photos, most of them by Paul Hansen, also range from private moments in Ockelbo and at Drottningholm via the various wedding preparations to the events of 19 June themselves. The photographers have succeeded in capturing many telling pictures, such as the obvious joy which with Princess Ingrid Alexandra throws her arms around the neck of Crown Princess Victoria during a cathedral rehearsal, Queen Silvia adjusting her new son-in-law’s Order of Seraphim, the serious look on the bride’s face on the way to the Cathedral, the somewhat tense expression of the household official responsible for accommodating the guests as she looks at her watch, Ari Behn posing self-consciously in the Cathedral and the Crown Princess throwing a snowball at her fiancé during a walk at a wintry Drottningholm.
All in all this book works best as a photo book, but many will probably buy it firstly because of the pictures anyway. As such it is a book which one does not necessarily have to know Swedish to be able to enjoy.


  1. Up until perhaps 20 years ago, books about British royalty were very popular here in Commonwealth member Canada. At this time, biographies and photo books about them are rarely seen and there doesn't seem to be much request for them.

    I am wondering about the popularity of the monarchy in Sweden and if you think this book will have a market.

    There is so much beauty, dignity, and history in events such as royal weddings, funerals, and coronations. It is a shame that more people don't follow them, because they are living links to the historic past and are also educational, inspiring of patriotism, and bring about understanding of one's country. The symbolism, musical selections, and use of historic precedents enrich those viewing them.

    I hope that the monarchy of Sweden and other countries will continue to exist and have some measure of popularity in spite of the changes in politics and society.

    I enjoyed reading your review and knowing that such a book exists. I appreciate your articles because none of these events and reports related to the European monarchies are covered in North American media. For America, the new royalty are "celebrities" such as Paris Hilton, actress Angelina Jolie, or politicians. These people lack the unique aura, prestige, and fascinating lineage that royalty does.

  2. Well, the royal wedding as expected seems to have worked wonders for the support for the Swedish monarchy. In April an opinion poll reported 56 % in favour of the monarchy, another poll in May 58 %, while an opinion poll taken just after the wedding showed support for the monarchy at 74 %. If this is a lasting trend remains to be seen. For further details please see:

    April 2010 - 56 %

    May 2010 - 58 %

    June 2010 - 74 %


Comments are welcome, but should be signed - preferably by a name, but an initial or a nick will also be accepted. Advertisements are not allowed. COMMENTS WHICH DO NOT COMPLY WITH THESE RULES WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED.