Birthday service as Carl Gustaf turns 60

Sunday is the 60th birthday of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf. After two days of present opening ceremonies and a grand birthday dinner with family and friends, the big day itself began with a service in the palace chapel.

Apparently moved by the occasion – although somewhat fatigued by Saturday evening’s festivities – the whole Swedish royal family, along with invited guests from other European royal houses, attended the Te Deum service held by the King’s Chaplain, Henrik Svenungsson.

Prime Minister Göran Persson and parliament’s speaker, Björn von Sydow, were also among the guests.

The Te Deum service has a long tradition at the palace and is often said on royal occasions such as baptisms, marriages, birthdays and coronations.

As well as music by Mozart and Kraus, a newly-written fanfare was performed, composed by staff trumpeter Olle Hermansen.

The fanfare, inspired by Sinfonia per la Chiesa by Kraus, was a birthday present from the Beridna Guard.

At a private party on Saturday night at the royal residence, Drottningholm Palace, just outside Stockholm, Carl XVI Gustaf accepted further gifts from around 500 guests.

Among the international guests of honour were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, King Harold and Queen Sonja of Norway, Prince Albert of Monaco, and members of the Jordanian royal family.

Denmark was represented by Princess Mary, who is of Australian origin, and the prince consort, Henrik, since Queen Margrethe II had a bad cold and her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, was sailing in Italy.

Among the non-royal heads of state present at the celebration were Finnish President Tarja Halonen and President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland.

After Sunday’s ceremony the royal couple paraded through the centre of Stockholm in a carriage drawn by six horses, culminating at the town hall for a banquet comparable to the one the king presides each year at the Nobel prize ceremony.

A dinner and a concert at the royal palace were planned for Sunday evening.

TT/The Local/AFP