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Big royal turnout expected for wedding

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Big royal turnout expected for wedding
13:28 CEST+02:00
Sweden's royal wedding is set to attract one of largest gathering of kings and queens seen in Europe for years, a guest list for Friday's pre-wedding concert has revealed.

The guest list for the wedding itself is a closely-guarded secret, but the foreign royals and heads of state attending the concert are thought certain to also attend the wedding.

The list confirms speculation that Prince Carl Philip's ex-girlfriend, Emma Pernald, will attend. Princess Madeleine's former fiancé Jonas Bergström, from whom she split after allegations of infidelity, did not make the guest list.

Among those who have accepted invitations to the concert are six monarchs, including Sweden's own king, two former monarchs and two presidents. The concert, at the Stockholm Concert Hall, is being hosted by the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament. The hall is best known as being the location of the annual Nobel Prize ceremony.

All Sweden's Nordic neighbours are represented at the concert by their heads of state. Denmark's Queen Margarethe and husband Prince Henrik are coming along with Crown Prince Fredrik and his Australian-born wife Crown Princess Mary. Norway's King Harald and Queen Sonja will be joined by Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha-Louise and her husband Ari Behn.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen and husband Pentti Arajärvi will be there, as will Iceland's President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson, with wife Dorrit Moussaieff.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is another head of state attending, along with her heir Prince Willem-Alexander and Argentinian-born wife Princess Máxima.

Europe's smaller countries are also represented, with Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa slated to attend. The Grand Duke is a relative of the king - his grandmother was Swedish Princess Astrid. Adding some Mediterranean glamour will be Prince Albert of Monaco, who is accompanied by his girlfriend, South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock.

Former monarchs heading to Stockholm include ex-King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria and ex-King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

They will be joined by Prince Felipe, the heir to Spain's throne, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex from Britain and Prince Alois, the heir to the throne of Liechtenstein. One of the more remarkable guests is Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan will not attend the concert, but the Jordan News Agency has confirmed that they plan to come to the wedding.

The list of Swedish guests includes a large turn-out from the Swedish royal family, with the kings three sisters Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta and Christina making a rare appearance together. Both King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia will be there, along with Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip.

Non-royal guests include most members of the government and Riksdag. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt will be there with wife Filippa, as will Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin with husband Bo. Left Party leader Lars Ohly, who said he turned down an invitation to the wedding on principle - he is a republican - is not attending the concert.

From the media world, the editors of most of Stockholm's large daily newspapers will be there, as will a number of prominent businesspeople. Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg is attending, as is Annika Falkengren, CEO of SEB bank.

While the concert guest list is a guide to the likely guest list on Saturday, it is thought that further high-profile guests will be at the church on the big day.

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