04 June 2017

Jewels in Motion: Carl Gustaf and Silvia's Wedding (1976)

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The grand weddings of the Swedish royal family are almost always held in June, so this month we'll be looking back at some of the best of their bridal jewels. Today, I've got some throwback GIFs in store -- enjoy the wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia in colorful motion!

The groom, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was thirty years old; the bride, Miss Silvia Sommerlath, was thirty-two. The couple met during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, where Silvia (who is fluent in numerous languages) was working as an educational host. Carl Gustaf succeeded to the throne the following year after the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. The couple officially announced their engagement in March 1976.

Following Swedish custom, the bride and the groom processed into the church together, hand in hand, with their wedding party. All six of their attendants were children, and most of them were their nieces and nephews.

Numerous royals are visible as Carl Gustaf and Silvia walk down the aisle of Stockholm's Storkyrkan Cathedral; in the front row, they pass (from right to left) Princess Birgitta of Sweden and Hohenzollern, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Bertil of Sweden, Queen Ingrid of Sweden, King Olav V of Norway, Princess Margaretha of Sweden, King Baudouin of Belgium, and Queen Fabiola of Belgium; Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg are also visible in the second row

The camera lingered on four interesting figures from the previous generation of the Swedish royal family. Queen Ingrid of Denmark (in purple) was the groom's aunt and godmother; she was the sister of his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf. Beside her is her brother, the king's uncle, Prince Bertil of Sweden. Behind Ingrid, we get a glimpse of Lilian Craig, Prince Bertil's longtime companion; they would marry a few months after this wedding. And sitting beside Lilian is Louis Mountbatten, brother of the king's late step-grandmother and godmother, Queen Louise of Sweden.

The ceremony was the first Swedish royal wedding to be broadcast on television. The date of the wedding -- June 19, 1976 -- was historically significant. King Oscar I of Sweden and Josephine of Leuchtenberg had married on June 19, 1832; their son, King Carl XV, had married Louise of the Netherlands on the same date in 1850. Later, Carl Gustaf and Silvia's eldest child, Crown Princess Victoria, would also choose to be married on June 19.

Silvia followed in the footsteps of two other recent Swedish royal brides when she chose to wear the grand Cameo Tiara on her wedding day. The tiara, which Carl Gustaf inherited from his mother, Sibylla, has a lengthy royal history, which you can read more about here. Two of Carl Gustaf's sisters (Birgitta and Desiree) also chose to be married in the Cameo Tiara. Rather than wearing the earrings (or any of the other pieces) from the parure, Silvia chose to pair the tiara with simple pearl studs.

The Cameo Tiara wasn't the first Swedish royal diadem that Silvia wore in public. The night before the wedding, she wore the Connaught Diamond Tiara (a favorite of the late Princess Sibylla) at a pre-wedding concert. ABBA famously performed "Dancing Queen" for the queen-to-be at the event.

Press reports accurately stated that Carl Gustaf "beamed" at his new wife throughout the ceremony.

Here, you can spot the sprig of myrtle that Silvia wore in her hair during the ceremony. The myrtle, which is meant to bring good luck to the bride, was taken from the same plant used by the groom's grandmother, Margaret of Connaught, in 1905.

Silvia's veil was also a Swedish royal heirloom. It originally belonged to Sofia of Nassau, wife of King Oscar II of Sweden. The veil had also been worn by several other Swedish royal brides, including the groom's mother and three of his sisters. Silvia's daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, would later wear both the veil and the Cameo Tiara at her wedding.

Here's a closer look at Queen Silvia's wedding ring. The couple had followed Swedish tradition by exchanging rings on their engagement, so Carl Gustaf already wore a slim gold band. He did not receive a ring during the wedding ceremony.

After the couple were pronounced man and wife, Silvia Sommerlath automatically became Queen Silvia of Sweden. (She had been granted Swedish citizenship the day before.) You'll notice that she does not curtsey to any of the other royals present, as many royal brides do; that's because her new title automatically placed her among the highest-ranking royals in the room.

The bride's simple silk wedding gown was made for her by Dior's Marc Bohan, but the long train she wore was another family heirloom; it had also been worn by two of the king's sisters, Birgitta and Desiree.

After the wedding, the newly-married King and Queen processed through Stockholm, traveling first by carriage and then by boat.

A huge crowd was gathered at the palace to welcome the couple, who waved to the Swedish people from the balcony.