With only two days to go before the wedding of Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock most of Europe’s royal houses have announced who will be their representatives.
The Swedes will apparently be the only royal family out in force by sending King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. The Bernadottes have a quite strong connection to the French Riviera, where the King owns a summer house in Sainte-Maxime, which earlier belonged to his late uncle Prince Bertil. The Swedish royals have therefore been rather frequent visitors to the principality and Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian were among the few foreign royals who attended the wedding of Princess Caroline and Philippe Junot in 1978. The late Sovereign Prince Rainier III was even a Knight of the Seraphim, an order which had been given him as far back as 1949, shortly after his accession to the throne, by King Gustaf V, who used to holiday on the Riviera.
The ties between the Norwegian royal family and the Monegasque princely family are of a more recent date, but as earlier mentioned Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will represent their country.
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark is, like the groom, a member of the IOC and will be joined in Monaco by Crown Princess Mary and his brother and sister-in-law, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie.
The Luxembourgian grand ducal court has confirmed that Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume will be present (at least at the religious blessing on Saturday). The Dutch royal website does not say anything about Dutch attendance, but obviously Queen Beatrix will not be present as she has engagements in the Netherlands on Friday and Saturday.
King Albert II of the Belgians is mentioned on the incomplete list released by the Monegasque court on 24 June, and I suppose this means that Queen Paola will also be in attendance.
I have not been able to find any official confirmation about British guests. Princess Anne might be an obvious choice as she is also a member of the IOC, but the Daily Telegraph claims to know that the Earl and Countess of Wessex will represent Britain in Monaco (they also did so at the enthronement ceremonies in 2005).
The Spanish royal family will not be represented as King Juan Carlos has declined his invitation, giving as his reason that he is still recovering from a knee operation. The King of Spain never attends royal weddings abroad anyway, but usually sends Queen Sofía and/or the Prince and Princess of Asturias to represent him. However, it seems he will send no representative this time. Relations between the King of Spain and his Monegasque counterpart are said to be cold after Madrid’s failed bid for the 2016 Olympics.
Several non-royal heads of state will also be present, headed by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Mary McAleese of Ireland, President Christian Wulff of Germany and President Michel Suleiman of Lebanon. They will be joined by other VIPs, including José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Count Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee.
The celebrations will begin tomorrow morning with a concert by the Eagles in the Louis II Stadium. The civil wedding, which is the legally valid one, will take place in the Throne Room at the Princely Palace at 5 p.m. on Friday, followed by a buffet in the Palace Square and a reception and concert on the Port.
On Saturday the religious blessing of the marriage will take place in the Courtyard of the Palace, before the Prince and Princess depart to leave the bridal bouquet at the Sainte Dévote Church. In the evening there will be a dinner and a ball at the Opera.