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Brides: a father's gift to give away?

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Needless to say my travel plans are kaput.

The calamity? Crown Princess Victoria wants her dad to walk her down the aisle when she weds her personal trainer boyfriend next month.


Mock horror aside, I can’t believe that the old fashioned dad-daughter-giveaway is the element of this union causing the most consternation – forget the fact the heir to the throne is getting hitched to a commoner (and personal trainer no less!).

But what prompts the ‘ahhhh, only in Sweden…’ sigh and head shake more than anything is the fact that the loudest critic paddling furiously amidst this matrimonial maelstrom is the man of the cloth set to officiate proceedings, Archbishop Anders Wejryd.

According to the Archbishop, this charmingly antediluvian, Anglo Saxon custom smacks of sexism and contradicts the progressive, egalitarian principles his country proudly stands by.


"I usually advise against it, as our marriage ceremony is so clear on the subject of the spouses' equality,” he said in a formal statement, affirming his support for Swedish tradition that has man and woman walk down the aisle together.

He was backed up by Annika Borg, a priest and theologian, who said modern Swedish brides were going backwards in coming forwards thanks to a perilous obsession with Hollywood-style fantasy romance.

"It's unfortunate that Sweden's future head of state has chosen to follow a practice that is not Swedish tradition," she said.

"The idea of the couple entering the church together symbolises that the man and the woman are entering the marriage of their own free will.

"In the future it is going to be very hard for us to resist requests from brides who want to be given away."

Oh. Well. When you put it like that…

How dare that brazen royal hussy dishonour Sweden and feminists and Swedish feminist clergypeople! How dare she reverse the progress her country has made!

I mean, we all know that our Anglo Saxon marriage tradition is steeped in patriarchal pomp and ceremony. That the giving away the bride is symbolic of a dark stretch of time where women were the property of their fathers until their husbands bought them for handsome sum.

That’s why when we get married the 'old fashioned way', we’re really just making a very clever joke about the fact that relationships in our society in this day and age aren’t bound by ridiculous, outdated, divisive ideas that prevent us from having happy, fulfilling, lasting –


Sack the sarcasm for a second and shoot straight. Is this much ado about nothing - or a timely opportunity for us to revise our attitudes and expectations about marriage and relationships?

If Sweden is outraged by the decision of their heir apparent to do marriage the way I’m sure most of us have - or would - because it undermines a society built on social, sexual and political equality, what does that say about us?