Princess in China charm trip

With China emerging as one of the most important players in the world economy, European countries are falling over themselves to give a good impression in Beijing. And if this week's tabloid reports are to be believed, Sweden has found its secret weapon: the heir to the throne.

“China falls for Victoria’s charm,” wrote Expressen admiringly of the Crown Princess’s trip to Beijing’s Forbidden City on Monday, when she opened an exhibition of Swedish-owned Chinese porcelain.

The paper reported that the princess had visited the former imperial palace over the weekend as an ordinary tourist, paying her entrance fee like all other visitors.

Victoria is in the second week of a two-week visit to China. Last week was spent as an intern at the Swedish embassy in Beijing. The Swedish foreign ministry said that an important aim of the trip was “to learn more about this emerging World power.”

The princess’s visit has been timed to coincide with that of industry minister Thomas Östros, who is there to hold talks with a number of Chinese ministers, and who will also visit a textile factory that is one of Swedish clothing chain H&M’s biggest suppliers.

Östros described the princess’s presence as “a very good way to get Sweden noticed,” although he was careful to underline that Sweden was concerned about the country’s “moves towards dictatorship.”

Victoria’s programme in Beijing steers well clear of controversy, and keeps its focus on the safe topics of arts and culture. The princess will meet the Chinese culture minister, Sun Jiazheng, before moving on to visit Canton and Hong Kong.