February 24, 2009 / 7:41 PM / 10 years ago

Heir to Swedish throne to marry commoner boyfriend

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria plans to marry her commoner boyfriend next year, the princess told reporters on Tuesday.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and her fiance Daniel Westling talk to reporters during a news conference after their engagement was announced at the Royal Palace in Stockholm February 24, 2009. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Reports that the 31-year-old heir apparent to the Swedish throne would marry 35-year-old personal trainer and gym owner Daniel Westling have appeared in the press for years.

“Daniel and I have become engaged, the King and the government have given their consent to our marriage and the wedding is being planned for spring or early summer 2010,” Victoria told reporters.

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and the king has no political power. Victoria became the heir apparent in 1980 after a reform of the constitution meant that the throne would be inherited by the monarch’s eldest child without regard to gender.

Asked by reporters when they knew they were right for each other, both said there had been no magic moment but that their relationship started as friendship and developed into love.

“As I have said, the sense of security I feel with Daniel is unbelievable and that is also what our friendship is based on,” Victoria said.

Westling — who will be given the title Prince Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland — said he has become somewhat used to the limelight, but remained nervous in front of the media.

He said his life now would be focused mainly on “supporting the Crown Princess in her important work for Sweden” and that he would not continue in an active role in business.

Swedes pride themselves on their country’s social equality, but the royal family remains popular.

“He seems like a straightforward, decent guy,” said Lilbritt Rosendal, who waited in freezing temperatures outside the royal palace in central Stockholm for a glimpse of the couple.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told reporters that the announcement was a ray of hope in a dark and dismal time for Sweden and for much of the rest of the world.

“I think we can all feel the warmth of the love these two exhibit for each other,” he said.

Sweden’s monarchy traces its origins back more than 1,000 years, though the current royal family assumed the throne in the early 19th century, when French marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte became King. He had been elected as successor to the Swedish throne by Sweden’s parliament in 1810.

Carl XVI Gustaf has been King of Sweden since 1973. The last Swedish royal wedding was in 1976 when he married German-born Silvia Sommerlath, whom he met at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Simon Johnson; editing by Paul Casciato

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