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King backs Victoria; Victoria backs Daniel

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18:45 CET+01:00
The importance of Christmas among Swedish traditions, the development of a multicultural Sweden and the need for peace in the Middle East: King Carl Gustav's Christmas Day speech on Swedish radio contained "all the classic ingredients".

He referred to the many Swedes living, and listening, abroad and talked at length about three of his four state visits - to Iceland, Vietnam and Slovenia. Wisely, he said nothing about his scandal-struck trip to Brunei - in which he lavished praise on the nation's somewhat illiberal rulers - other than that he had been there.

But what everyone was interested in - in the press, anyway - was what he had to say about the future queen, his daughter Crown Princess Victoria.

He dedicated a significant part of what was described as a "sometimes shining, sometimes impersonal," speech to singing her praises and described how during the last year she had taken on more official responsibilities.

"I would like to express my joy at the fact that Crown Princess Victoria has become an increasingly important support for the Queen and myself," he said.

"The Crown Princess is undergoing an education programme with a view to preparing herself in the best way for the task that will one day be hers."

But the King said that Victoria is already helping him and is enjoying "expressions of affection and appreciation" from the people she meets.

"I feel proud on her behalf," the King added. "I know that she is grateful, and faces the future with great confidence."

Also with some irritation, according to a report in Aftonbladet.

"Now Victoria hits back at all the people who make fun of her boyfriend," declared the paper, which went on to explain that she's tired of 31 year old Daniel Westling being seen as "simple and uneducated".

In an interview screened on Sunday on TV4 Linda Nyberg asked Victoria if the right heritage and background is important in her relationship.

"There has been a big change and the important thing is that the right people live with each other" Victoria replied.

Referring specifically to the criticism of Westling, she said that much of what had been written about him was unfair.

"I understand that there is speculation but sometimes there must be fairness too."

One of the princess's "friends" put it rather more bluntly to Aftonbladet:

"Victoria's getting very irritated. She's sick to the back teeth of all this talk."

In another interview screened over Christmas - this time with a green puppet character called Skurt - the princess urged children who are being bullied to speak out about it. She had a word of advice for the bullies too: "It's never too late to stop. Try and be friends instead. Everybody is good at something."

Critics of Mr Westling, take note.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet

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