Luxembourg royal couple ties knot

Luxembourg’s Prince Guillaume and Countess Stephanie kiss on the balcony of the Royal Palace, with part of the Luxembourg coat of arms seen below, after their wedding in Luxembourg on Saturday.

LUXEMBOURG — Under a canopy of soldiers’ drawn swords as church bells tolled, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy emerged smiling Saturday from the tiny duchy’s Notre Dame Cathedral after wrapping up a two-day wedding gala with a religious ceremony.

Onlookers and well-wishers lined the super-scrubbed streets near the cathedral and roared with joy as the newlyweds looked down from a red velvet-covered palace balcony, and haltingly — but deeply — kissed for the crowd.

The church wedding of Prince Guillaume — the 30-year-old heir to the throne and Luxembourg’s grand duke-to-be — and the Belgian countess drew top-drawer guest list. It came a day after a civil ceremony at Luxembourg City Hall.

The bearded groom and his 28-year-old blonde bride were trailed by a procession of well-known royals, including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, Prince Naruhito of Japan, and Britain’s Prince Edward — Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child — and his wife, Sophie.

Stephanie plans to renounce her Belgian citizenship in order to — one day — become Luxembourg’s grand duchess. The tiny country wedged between France, Belgium and Germany is an important financial center and continues to prosper despite Europe’s economic trouble.

Stephanie wore a lace Elie Saab dress with a 5-meter-long wedding train during the ceremony, which was conducted in a mixture of French, German and Luxembourgish. It began with a minute’s silence to honor her late mother, Countess Alix de Lannoy.

For the wedding banquet attended by 800 people, Bocuse d’Or-winning chef Lea Linster — herself from Luxembourg — whipped up a buffet medley including Riesling-marinated pork and veal pate, lobster in gelee consomme, and sea bass in salted crust and thyme stuffing; dessert included Madeleine cakes, choux a la creme pastries, and creme brulee.

Later in the evening, the royal couple walked through town, shaking hands with well-wishers before a fireworks show. Afterward, they drove off in a limousine with a sign on the back that read “Just Married” in Luxembourgish.