Prince, commoner exchange vows
The Dutch crown prince, in a medal-studded uniform, and his Argentine bride, resplendent in a flowing white gown, exchanged vows at their fairy-tale wedding ceremony on Saturday.
Queen Beatrix, wearing a regal purple suit with matching hat, beamed as the couple turned from the altar and bowed to the assembled dignitaries and royal guests. The new Princess Maxima wiped a tear from her right eye as her smiling husband clutched her to his side.
To applause from the wedding guests, the royal couple signed the marriage certificate. Then Queen Beatrix officially endorsed the happy union as a witness at the civil ceremony, signing the certificate with a flourish. Outside, thousands of people, nearly all of them wearing orange, lined the route which Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, 34, and his blond betrothed Maxima Zorreguieta, 30, took to and from their nuptials.
Maxima Zorreguieta, future queen of the Netherlands, is the daughter of Jorge Zorreguieta, a Minister in military junta that ruled Argentina brutally in the 1970s, but this South American commoner has won over the Dutch people.
The bride was sad but willing to accept the absence of her controversial father at the ceremony and most of Europe's royal families and the Japanese royals were represented on Saturday.
Spain's Queen Sofia was present as was Britain's Prince Charles albeit without his companion Camilla.
Among the 1,800 invited guests at the Gothic New Church was the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. A deliberate decision was made not to invite Heads of State who are not kings. DPA
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