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Spanish Prince Marries Former Journalist - 2004-05-22


Spain's Crown Prince Felipe has married a former television journalist in a glittering televised ceremony broadcast to an estimated one billion people worldwide.

Prince Felipe wed Letizia Ortiz in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral before 1,600 royal guests and dignitaries Saturday. Among the guests were Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Britain's Prince Charles and Jordan's Queen Rania.

Tens of thousands of Spaniards lined the capital's streets in the rain to get a glimpse of the royal couple as they drove away in an armored Rolls Royce. The two were led in a procession through central Madrid to the Virgin of Atocha Basilica where the bride laid flowers at an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The couple later exchanged kisses on the balcony of the Royal Palace.

Security was tight, with about 20,000 police and rooftop snipers on hand for the gala, less than three months after a series of train bombings in Madrid that killed almost 200 people.

Ms. Ortiz, a divorced 31-year-old, wore a fitted silk wedding gown with a V-shaped high collar and a 4.5 meter long train. Prince Felipe was dressed in his decorated military uniform.

Once wed, Ms. Ortiz became Princess Letizia of Asturias, the first commoner in line to be Spain's queen in hundreds of years.

The couple met in 2002 at a dinner party and got engaged in November.

Thirty-six-year-old Prince Felipe's parents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, wed in exile in Greece during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP

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