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Princess Madeleine's man set for royal debut

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Princess Madeleine's man set for royal debut
13:43 CEST+02:00
Sweden's Royal Court has broken tradition by inviting Princess Madeleine's US banker boyfried as well as the girlfriend of Prince Carl Philip's to Princess Estelle's baptism on Tuesday.

Former Swedish glamour model Sofia Hellqvist and New York-based financier Chris O'Neill have been confirmed as guests for the royal extravaganza by the Royal Court, despite being only in the early stages of their respective relationships with the royals.

“It's clearly a sign that the King officially recognizes them as family members,” Roger Lundgren, royal expert and editor of Kungliga Magazine, told The Local.

"This has never happened in Sweden. Before, people had to get engaged to a member of the royal family to get invited to official events. And I think we'll see two engagements in the not too distant future."

Lundgren points to the news as an indication of the family's eagerness to shed outdated traditions and to keep up to speed with the rest of Sweden.

"The King is moving with the times, as is the family. They're showing the public that royals don't necessarily need to be married to royals. Queen Silvia was a commoner, for instance. And Prince Daniel, a fantastic contribution to the family, has also shown that a commoner can be welcomed by the public with open arms," Lundgren told The Local.

"Both Madeleine and Carl Philip live with their partners so it's completely natural that they should come to the christening.”

Chris O'Neill, who according to Swedish tabloids is a millionaire financial adviser who attended Columbia University, met Princess Madeleine months after she broke off her engagement to Jonas Bergström in 2010.

News of the couple's relationship first surfaced in media reports in early 2011 and in February of this year, the Royal Court confirmed that Madeleine and O'Neill had been living together in his tony Manhattan apartment since November 2011.

The 27-year-old Hellqvist, meanwhile, has been battling for acceptance from the Swedish royal family ever since she started dating Prince Carl Philip, a romance first reported in early 2010.

The readers of Swedish men's lifestyle magazine Slitz voted Hellqvist "Miss Slitz 2004", after which she appeared in the Paradise Hotel reality television show in 2005, making it all the way to the finals.

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