This weekend saw the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden to Daniel Westling. You might not have seen the story since the AP, AFP and Rueters declined to cover the event because the Swedish media outlet with rights to the story apparently were trying to charge an arm and a leg for the event. Not too surprising since SVT offers to provide live Swedish TV in American but charges an outrageous sum that is in no way justified by the quality of programming.
You can see video clips of the event at the SVT website if you’re interested. I normally wouldn’t link to this sort of thing but I do find some of the pomp pretty interesting to watch. As is typical in European ceremonial events there’s a plethora of 17th to 19th century military costumes and traditions on display that are kind of cool.
For example, this clip of the couple getting on the royal barge/yacht/dinghy.
It seemed pretty well attended and the Swedes seem to have this royalty thing down. They have no power, act essentially as goodwill ambassadors and don’t get involved in a bunch of tawdry scandals. In exchange the cost of maintaining the royals works our to less than 20 SEK per Swede (which is about 3 dollars) a year. For that you get to have a group of people who represent the country on a whole bunch of public relations functions while the people with actual power to govern can get down to the business of governing. So, for example, instead of us having a president who has to both contain an oil spill AND partake in a Paul McCartney concert you could have the king do the latter and the actual guy in charge do the former. Makes sense to me.