Isn’t it funny how something small can be so meaningful? In Sweden, it is less than a month until the Royal wedding when Crown Princess Victoria marries Daniel Westling. The party is planned to last two weeks, culminating on May 19th in the cathedral.
And it’s what will happen in the cathedral that is causing a huge stir. Victoria has stated that she wants her father, the King, to escort her down the aisle and give her away at the altar. Not so strange, you might think. Not so controversial. But in Sweden, this is causing a storm.
A father giving away his daughter at her wedding is not a Swedish tradition. In Sweden, the bride and groom walk down the aisle together towards the altar where they are then married. This is a major symbolic action. In Sweden, a woman is not something that is owned by one man and can be given away to another man. A woman is strong, independant, mature and educated. She is fully capable of walking down the aisle on her own, together with the man she has chosen to marry. She is not anybody’s property. This is yet another way in which the Swedish value of equality is exhibited in society.
That the future queen chooses to go against the tradition is a break in protocol. It is also seen by many, including myself, as a lost opportunity to communicate to the world’s press that in Sweden men and women are equal.
Of course, Princess Victoria should be able to do what she wants to do at her own wedding, but let’s not forget that she has a responsiblity to the nation, especially when the nation is funding her wedding. A future regent, if anyone, should be seen to uphold and promote the values of the country she represents.
If she doesn’t, what then is the point of a monarchy?