Spain's Crown Prince Felipe married former television presenter Letizia Ortiz on Saturday in Madrid's Almudena cathedral. The couple was cheered on by crowds of spectators undeterred by pouring rain and tight security.
Felipe and Letizia at the altar.
In a traditional and ornate Roman Catholic service, Felipe and Letizia made their vows in front of 1,400 guests including heads of state and the members of several royal families. The 31-year-old bride wore a high-collared ivory dress with a 4.5 meter train and the 36-year-old groom was decked out in military dress.
Due to the torrential rain, Letizia was unable walk the red carpet from the Royal Palace to the cathedral, instead arriving in a Rolls Royce. But the rain could not spoil the event which is being seen by many Spaniards as a chance to put the deadly March 11 terrorist bombings in Madrid behind the country.
"This is a breath of fresh air after the attacks we
suffered. We need to get past this," Rosa Coral from Barcelona told Reuters.
Around 20,000 police were on the streets of the Spanish capital and NATO surveillance planes patrolled the skies on Saturday to ensure the security of what is considered by many royal watchers to be the most important society wedding since Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana.
The ceremony marks the high point of a modern-day fairy-tale romance that has turned a career-minded commoner divorcee into Spain's future queen. The marriage comes just a year after the couple began dating and only months after their engagement was made public in November.
In a bow to tradition, Felipe looked to his father King Juan Carlos before saying "yes" so the monarch could nod his assent to the nuptials. The union of Felipe and Leitzia is the first royal wedding in Spain in nearly a century. The last was that of the prince's great grandfather King Alfonso XIII in 1906. King Juan Carlos married his wife Sofia in Greece during the Spanish dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.
The Spanish wedding comes only one week after Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik married Australian-born Mary Donaldson in Copenhagen.