Kronprinsessparets bröllop

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath

The wedding between Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and German-born Miss Silvia Sommerlath on 19 June 1976 was the first wedding of a reigning monarch in Sweden since 1797; the last having been between 21-year-old Gustav IV Adolf of Stockholm and 16-year-old Princess Fredrika of Baden. Gustav IV Adolf was our present King's great-great-grandfather.
 
The engagement of King Carl Gustaf and Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath was announced on 12 March 1976 at the Royal Palace. The following day the engaged couple met the media at a press reception in Princess Sibylla's apartments.
 
Publishing of the banns of marriage took place at the Royal Chapel on Whit Monday 7 June. "Och så kommer vi då till dagens stora glada kungörelse: Härmed tillkännages lysning mellan Kung Carl XVI Gustaf, Sveriges Konung, och Silvia Renate Sommerlath (And so we come to today's great joyful announcement: we hereby announce the publishing of the banns between King Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, and Silvia Renate Sommerlath)," announced Chief Court Chaplain Hans Åkerhielm from the pulpit of the Royal Chapel.
 
The wedding took place three months later, on 19 June, at Stockholm Cathedral.

Opera gala


The evening before the wedding the Opera put on a gala soirée. The bride-to-be made an unforgettable entrance, dazzlingly beautiful in a slim, fully-pleated high-cut gown, a lace jacket and, for the first time, the tiara that was the favourite of Princess Sibylla.

The day prior to the Opera gala Miss Silvia Sommerlath, then still a foreign citizen, had been awarded the Order of the Seraphim, which she now wore for the first time.

Following the gala performance, the King hosted a supper and dance at Drottningholm for around 200 invited relatives and personal friends.

TV wedding


Sweden's first wedding of a reigning monarch in modern times was an event that attracted great media interest. The express wishes of the King were for the greatest possible openness with regard to the official wedding arrangements.

Early on the morning of the wedding, Erik XIV's and Lovisa Ulrika's crowns had been collected from the Treasury by the Master of Ceremonies and two chamberlains. The crowns were taken to Stockholm Cathedral and placed on dark-blue cushions to the right and left side of the altar respectively.

On the altar was hung an antependium, donated by Axel Oxenstierna's son Johan in 1659. It was brocade with a small floral pattern and decorated with the Oxenstierna and Brahe coat of arms.

The initials, titles and estates of the donor and his wife Margareta Brahe are embroidered on the antependium, which is unique to Stockholm Cathedral and is used for royal ceremonies.

The altar also bore two large candelabras and a crucifix of oak, silver and gold, made in Augsburg and donated by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie to Queen Kristina on her coronation in 1650.
 
Stockholm Cathedral was decorated in light colours, with blue delphiniums and pink stock in the castle's abundant flower urns.

Silvia Sommerlath had herself selected the two silver vases standing on the Altar, filled with Queen Silvia's own rose, "Queen Silvia", cultivated by growers especially for the occasion. Queen Louise had donated the vases to Stockholm Cathedral and Silvia was very fond of them.
 

1,200 guests in the cathedral


As the guests, numbering around 1,200, assembled in the cathedral and awaited the ceremony the Cathedral choir sang and Swedish Radio's symphony orchestra played a collection of music, including music from the eras of Queen Kristina, Karl XI, Adolf Fredrik and Gustav III.

King Carl Gustaf awaited his bride in the church vestibule, dressed in his admiral's uniform.

The bridal couple walked down the aisle to J.H. Roman's "Sinfonia de Chiesa". Their attendants were Amelie Middelschulte, James Ambler, Helène Silfverschiöld, Hubertus Hohenzollern and Sophie Sommerlath.

In keeping with German wedding custom, the wedding ring, white gold with diamonds, was carried on a cushion by bridesmaid Carmita Sommerlath, daughter of the Queen's brother Ralf Sommerlath.

Wedding dress by Dior


The bride had chosen a duchess gown in the same classic style as that worn by Princesses Birgitta and Désirée for their weddings. It was designed by Marc Bohan from the fashion house Dior. A long train flowed from the back of the gown. The future Queen wore Queen Josefina's cameo tiara.

Her lace veil was an heirloom of the Bernadotte family, passed down from Queen Sofia and worn by the King's mother Princess Sibylla and sisters Princesses Désirée, Margaretha and Christina. The veil had been folded back to form a gossamer cascade and was held in place by the tiara trimmed with myrtle from Crown Princess Margareta's original plant on Sofiero.

Young florist Marlene Pröpster from department store NK had been given the honour of tying the bridal bouquet of orchids, wax flowers, lilies of the valley and myrtle.
 

Historic Archbishop's robes


The marriage ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Olof Sundby. He wore a white and pink vestment from the Royal collections, made in Paris for Adolf Fredrik's coronation in 1751. The Archbishop was assisted by Chief Court Chaplain Hans Åkerhielm, dressed in his own light-blue Order of the Seraphim robes, and the white-robed professor of theology Dr. Ernst Sommerlath, uncle of the bride.

The programme for the ceremony was "Festmusik" by Lars-Erik Larsson, the Swedish hymns "I denna ljuva sommartid" and "Herren vår Gud är en konung i makt och i ära", G.P. Telemanns "Wie ist Dein Name so gross" and, as exit music, "Sinfonia D-dur" by J.S. Bach.

Cathedral organist Gotthard Arnér played the organ, while the rest of the music was performed by Swedish Radio's symphony orchestra led by conductor Gustaf Sjökvist.

Sea journey to the Royal Palace


Following the wedding ceremony the new King and Queen made their way by cortège through a crowded Stockholm. At Skeppsholmen they boarded the Vasaorden for the trip across Strömmen to Logårdstrappan at Skeppsbron.

The quay had been transformed into a flowery meadow. A total of 224 folk musicians from Dalarna conducted by national folk musician Knis Karl Aronsson played "Brudmarsch från Leksand" (Bridal march from Leksand) as the newlyweds walked along the red carpet to the Palace.
 
At the steps to Logården the Governor of the Royal Palace Sixten Wohlfart welcomed them to the Royal Palace of Stockholm, home of The King and Queen. The bride and groom thanked the attending organisations at a short ceremony in the Inner Courtyard.
 
The traditional wedding picture was taken by photographer Lennart Nilsson. He took his time over this and the many thousands of Stockholmers gathered on Norrbro and the adjacent streets and squares had a long wait for the bridal couple.

Finally, just as the first raindrops began to fall, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia came out onto the balcony above Lejonbacken. "We are so happy," said the King, lifting the Queen's arm in a radiant gesture.

Wedding luncheon in the "Vita havet" assembly rooms


The wedding luncheon was held in the "Vita havet" assembly rooms and hosted by Prince Bertil, who gave a personal speech welcoming Queen Silvia to Sweden.
 
The meal had been prepared by court chef Werner Vögeli. The menu featured cold jellied consommé with caviar, baked salmon mousse "Queen Silvia", cold pigeon with goose liver and chaud-froid sauce and fresh wild strawberries with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Magnificent wedding croquembouches, decorated with pink marzipan roses, dominated the table. These had been baked by Operakällaren's master confectioner Dag Öster.

The couple went to Hawaii for their honeymoon, after which they returned for a well-deserved summer holiday at Solliden Palace on Öland.