Prince: 'I'm a happy man'

May 22, 2004 at 12:35 PM
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MADRID, May 22 (UPI) -- Crown Prince Felipe of Spain told guests at his wedding reception Saturday, "I can't hide it and I don't want to: I am a happy man."

In a long and surprisingly frank speech replying to a toast by his father, King Juan Carlos I, the heir to the throne declared, "I am married to the woman I love ... Today, Letizia and myself have joined our lives in a union of love, responsibility, work, and mutual respect."

More than 1,400 guests attended the reception at the royal palace in Madrid following the Roman Catholic marriage of the 35-year-old Felipe and 31-year-old Letizia, a former TV newscaster who now acquires the title of princess of Asturias.

"We hope to start a family," the prince said, pinpointing the main purpose of marriage in a monarchy, which is to ensure the succession.

In his toast, Juan Carlos also stressed the importance of continuity.

Felipe's marriage to Letizia, the king said, "born in love and mutual understanding, was a symbol of hope, an assurance of the continuation of the dynasty, and a guarantee of the stability of the parliamentary monarchy established by our constitution."

While more than an estimated one-billion people watched the marriage on TV, cheering crowds braved heavy rains on the four-mile route of the royal procession.

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