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Australian marries Danish Crown Prince
Updated: 2004-05-16 08:59

In a lavish spectacle witnessed by members of every European royal house and hundreds of thousands of Danes, Crown Prince Frederik married Australian commoner Mary Donaldson on Friday.

The wedding, a sumptuous affair that saw unprecedented security throughout the capital, gave Europe's oldest monarchy a crown princess already adopted by the Scandinavian country as its own. Mary became the first Australian woman to stand in line to become queen.

Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his new wife, Crown Princess Mary, wave to the crowd following their official wedding ceremony at the Our Lady's Church in Copenhagen, Friday May 14, 2004. Royals from nearly every monarchy in Europe, prime ministers, nobles and diplomats witnessed the commoner, Mary Donaldson from Hobart, Australia exchange traditional Danish vows with Crown Prince Frederik, the heir to Denmarks 1,000-year-old throne. [AP]
"It was so beautiful, like a fairy tale," said Kirsten Persson, 60. "When she walked down the aisle, I cried."

So did the visibly nervous Frederik when he saw his 32-year-old bride walking down the red-carpeted aisle in her long-sleeved white dress made from duchess satin and wearing a veil of Irish lace that was a gift to Denmark's late Queen Ingrid's mother, Crown Princess Margret of Sweden.

Margret used the veil and the lace for her wedding in 1905, her daughter used them at her wedding in 1935 and so did Ingrid's three daughters — exiled Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Danish Queen Margrethe and Princess Benedikte — for their weddings in 1964, 1967 and 1968, respectively.

As the couple left the church, Frederik, 35, kissed his wife for the first time in public. Outside, a roar of approval erupted from the packed crowd that jammed the streets, Danish and Australian flags in hand, to watch the ceremony on dozens of outdoor video screens.

"It was wonderful, it was everything we had expected, it was perfect for Mary, just perfect," said Lotta Laanert of Malmoe, Sweden.

Police said an estimated 250,000 people flooded Copenhagen to be part of the celebration. Thousands more watched it live on television throughout Europe, Australia and even in Egypt.

A keen yachtsman, horseman and marathon-runner, Frederik met Mary during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, when he stopped by the Slip Inn bar.

On Friday, the Slip Inn held a "Meet Your Prince" evening, and the Danish Embassy threw a party at the Sydney Opera House to watch a live telecast of the wedding.

After a 45-minute ride in an open carriage through Copenhagen's winding streets to the palace, the couple appeared on the balcony of the Amalienborg Palace. Frederik, his arm around Mary's waist, kissed his wife, causing the jubilant crowd below them to erupt in applause.

Nearly a third of Denmark's 10,000-strong police force was assigned for the event.

Just beyond the neoclassical cathedral, armed police with sniffer dogs moved through the throngs of onlookers while officers checked people carrying large bags. Atop buildings, police used binoculars to scan the crowd while others checked manhole covers.

From above, helicopters monitored the two-mile parade route, along which some 1,300 uniformed officers lined up.

A 22-year-old army draftee was arrested after he was found carrying 16 military flares and several smoke bombs in a satchel, police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch told The Associated Press.

At a demonstration north of downtown, at least 16 people were arrested after they threw paint and bottles at police.

"They were in no way close to the carriage procession," Munch said.

Along the parade route, people hung out from windows to see the newlyweds and royal dignitaries, including Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia; Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito; Spanish Crown Prince Felipe; Britain's Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie; Australian Governor General Michael Jeffrey and Tasmanian Governor Richard Butler; and France's first lady, Bernadette Chirac.

All day Friday, most of Copenhagen was closed to cars — except for the fleet of nearly 100 limousines and dark buses that ferried the guests to the church and to Fredensborg Palace for the evening wedding dinner and traditional wedding waltz.

As Frederik and Mary arrived in Fredensborg, they switched the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith with an open carriage, a so-called Landau, built in 1889, and rode the last section to the cheers of thousands.

"So you got to see your princess?" Susanne Larsen asked her 4-year-old daughter Emma-Sophie, riding atop the shoulders of her father, Steen.

"I don't think she saw me," the daughter said, disappointed.

During the dinner, Frederik pledged his love for Mary, telling her father, John Donaldson, that "I will love her and I will protect her with all my heart."

Then he told Mary: "I love you Mary. Come, let us go, come let us see. Throughout a thousand worlds, weightless love awaits."

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