Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip is marrying a former reality TV star and glamour model in a lavish ceremony in the chapel at Stockholm’s Royal Palace, BBC reports. Sofia Hellqvist, 30, also worked as a topless model and a yoga instructor before helping to set up a charity. Her fiance, 36-year-old Carl Philip, is third in line to the Swedish throne. Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets for the event, despite polls suggesting the Swedish royal family’s popularity is waning.
The pair reportedly first met at a restaurant in 2010, with news of their relationship being revealed soon after.
The Swedish media made much of Ms Hellqvist’s past, which included posing topless with a boa constrictor for a men’s magazine in 2004. A year later she appeared on the Swedish reality TV show Paradise Hotel, in which scantily dressed singletons compete to stay in a luxury resort. In response to the media interest, Ms Hellqvist told Swedish television that she had long since moved on.
“I don’t regret anything. All these experiences have made me the person I am,” Ms Hellqvist said. “I wouldn’t have made those choices today,” she added. Amid rumours that her past had caused disquiet among the royal family, the palace has emphasised her charity work. In 2010 she co-founded the Project Playground charity which helps disadvantaged children in South Africa. She has also worked as a volunteer in several African countries.
Ms Hellqvist, who is from the central Swedish town of Alvdalen, also studied accounting in New York in 2005 and worked there as a yoga teacher and a waitress. On Friday evening, more than 200 wedding guests attended a dinner in honour of the couple on the island of Skeppsholmen. Carl Philip is third in line to the throne behind his elder sister Crown Princess Victoria and her three-year-old daughter, Princess Estelle.