APELDOORN, Netherlands (AP) _ As the nation watched and sighed, Queen Beatrix's nephew married his commoner sweetheart Friday in the Netherlands' first royal wedding in 23 years.

Smiling and a bit giddy, Prince Maurits and his bride waved to dozens of news photographers as they stepped out of their convertible for a civil ceremony at the Palace Het Loo. A church ceremony is set for Saturday.

The prince's new wife is Marilene van den Broek, the daughter of European Commissioner and former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek.

Friday's ceremony and palace garden reception were nationally televised.

Maurits, 30, who works as head of logistics services at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, met Marilene, 27, five years ago at Groningen University.

Queen Beatrix, unwilling to break a prior commitment for Friday's ceremony, will attend Saturday's service.