Sun, May 16, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Australia swept up in Danish wedding frenzy

SOMETHING ABOUT MARY When Crown Prince Frederik married Mary Donaldson on Friday, Australians celebrated with Abba and silly cocktails

AP , COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, AND SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his new wife, Crown Princess Mary, participate in the ``wedding waltz'' at the Fredensborg Palace in Fredensborg, Denmark, on Friday. The couple were married in a lavish ceremon with attending royals and dignitaries from Europe and Asia.

PHOTO: AP

In a lavish spectacle witnessed by members of every European royal house, global dignitaries and hundreds of thousands of Danes, Crown Prince Frederik married Australian commoner Mary Donaldson on Friday, pledging that "throughout a thousand worlds, weightless love awaits."

The wedding, a sumptuous affair that saw unprecedented security throughout the capital and unabashed joy by its residents, gave Europe's oldest monarchy a crown princess that had already been adopted by the Scandinavian country as its own. Mary became the first Australian woman to stand in line to become queen.

Like Denmark, Australia was in a royal wedding frenzy on Friday, with Danish-flavored celebrations taking place all over the country overnight into yesterday morning.

The Sydney bar where Frederik met his Australian bride held a "Meet Your Prince" event on Friday night.

The Danish Embassy threw a party at the Sydney Opera House to watch a live telecast of the wedding in the early hours of yesterday morning.

A Hobart hotel on Donaldson's home island state of Tasmania played a live overnight telecast of the wedding ceremony and served champagne and Danish food. Many of the 90 tickets were purchased by Danish members of the community.

At a West Hobart pharmacy where Mary's elder sister, Jane Stephens, works, there was a window display in honor of the royal couple featuring family photos and Danish history books.

In Melbourne, hundreds gathered at the Danish Club to celebrate the nuptials with an entry fee of 5 Australian dollars (US$3.50) to be used for a wedding gift to be sent to the couple.

Later yesterday, Melbourne's Federation Square hosted special celebrations for the couple that included Viking shows and a performance of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

The couple met in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics and the country is enthralled at the prospect of a homegrown princess.

At Taroona High School, where Donaldson was educated, students chose between Viking helmets and tiaras for a reception at what was dubbed "a public school fit for a princess."

"I remember her being a bright, vivacious young girl and quite talented. She was a popular student and stood out from the crowd," said Geoff Lockhart, a senior teacher at the waterfront school on the outskirts of state capital Hobart.

Organizers of the school's party planned to borrow some tunes from Denmark's neighbor Sweden to entertain students.

"We are going to slip a bit of Abba in," said organizer Magda Birtus, referring to the Swedish band that saw its heyday in the 1970s.

In downtown Sydney, the Slip Inn was capitalizing on its celebrity as the place that brought the royal couple together. At its "Meet Your Prince" evening, it served royal wedding cocktails such as: "Great Dane," "Tasmanian Temptress," "Crown Prince of Denmark," and "Something about Mary."

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