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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Danish prince marries Australian
Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian fiancee Mary Elizabeth Donaldson
Some have described the marriage as a modern fairy tale
Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik has married his Australian fiancee Mary Elizabeth Donaldson in Copenhagen.

Thousands of flag-waving well-wishers lined the streets of the city, with a heavy police presence around the city's cathedral where the ceremony was held.

The couple, the prince in full military colours, his bride in a simple ivory dress, with train and bridal veil, left in an open horse-drawn carriage.

She becomes Australia's first European princess in a reigning monarchy.

Royals and dignitaries from around the world were at the Vor Frue Kirke cathedral for the ceremony.

Ms Donaldson, accompanied by her father, walked up the aisle carrying a bouquet of white roses with stephanotis highlights and Australian eucalyptus with berries.

Her veil was made from 100-year-old Irish lace.

Prince Frederik, 35, in a formal Danish naval uniform, was visibly moved by the occasion, wiping away tears as he smiled, waiting for his bride.

'Fairy tale'

Bishop of Copenhagen Erik Svendsen, who married the couple, said in his sermon that "nothing in the real world is as uncomplicated as in the fairy tales".

And there was no "You may kiss the bride" after they had exchanged vows. But the bride did give her prince a kiss on the cheek as they were driven through the streets in the carriage, promoting applause from the crowd.

Denmark has been celebrating the wedding in Copenhagen, which has been bedecked with Danish and Australian flags, while portraits of the couple are hanging in shop windows.

One well-wisher, Annie Jensen said: "She is good for Frederik and good for the people.

"She will represent Denmark and sell us abroad, working for us just like Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik."

Crowds on the streets outside the cathedral were able to watch the ceremony on large screens.

The couple met when the 35-year-old crown prince attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In a tale redolent of Denmark's famous storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, Ms Donaldson said she was unaware of his royal status at the time.

"I guess you could say it's a modern fairy tale," she told Denmark's Politiken newspaper in an interview this week.

Family tradition

Ms Donaldson comes from the island of Tasmania. Her father is a maths professor and her stepmother is British author Susan Moody. Her natural mother died in 1997.

In order to marry the crown prince, she has had to give up her Australian and British citizenship and convert to the Lutheran Church.

Crown Prince Frederik, the heir to the throne, is following what is becoming a family tradition by choosing a foreign spouse.

His younger brother Joachim is already married to a Hong-Kong born Briton.

Queen Margrethe herself married a Frenchman - diplomat Count Henri la Laborde de Monpezat, who later became Prince Henrik.

Many Danish people remain strong supporters of the monarchy, and Crown Prince Frederik has wide popularity.

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant
"Denmark's security services breathed a huge sigh of relief"

In pictures: Denmark's royal wedding
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Cheering Danes greet royal pair
08 Oct 03  |  Europe
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24 Sep 03  |  Europe
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13 Feb 02  |  Europe
Queen 'Daisy' visits Scotland
18 Feb 00  |  Scotland

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