Thousands greet Victoria on birthday

Over 3,000 people turned up to celebrate Crown Princess Victoria's birthday on Öland on Friday.

Victoria’s birthday celebrations at the Royal Family’s summer retreat Solliden, near Borgholm, has become something of an annual tradition. Children, as usual, presented Sweden’s future queen with flowers and drawings.

This year’s birthday, the princess’s 29th, had an added element, however, as her boyfriend, Daniel Westling, attended for the first time.

“The Crown Princess’s birthday is being celebrated in the traditional way here on Öland together with family and private friends. These naturally include Daniel Westling,” said royal press secretary Morgan Gerle.

Victoria emerged at 2pm, together with her parents King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

Victoria was wearing a brown dress with white dots, while the Queen was wearing a patterned turquoise dress. The King was casually dressed, with beige pant and a light blue shirt.

The monarch made a few jokes before leading the singing of Swedish birthday song Ja Må Hon Leva (May she live ’til she’s one hundred).

“Today is Victoria’s birthday. It’s been so many years now that I’ve stopped saying how old she is. It’s wonderful that you want to be here to make this a special day,” he said.

The princess was similarly moved that so many had turned up.

“It never ceases to amaze me that so many of you turn up. Many of you have been here several times, and I take that with me when colder and greyer days come.”

Many children pushed forward to hand over flowers and presents including home-made necklaces, drawings and balloons.

Also giving flowers to the princess was Chilean Carlos Tilleria, in Sweden visiting family. He said that the day had confirmed his impression of the Swedish royals as down to earth.

“They are so simple and are at one with the people,” he said.

The celebrations continued a little later at the Borgholm sports ground, where the royals arrived in horse and carriage. The Queen and Crown Princess had changed into Öland folk outfits. Anders Lundin, presenter of television singalong program Allsång på Skansen, tried to get Victoria to lead the singing of ‘Jag Tror på Sommaren’ (I believe in Summer), but the princess refused, and turned her head away with a smile.

Victoria later handed out the Victoria Stipend, which provides funding to young athletes. This year’s winners were winter sports stars Anna Carin Olofsson and Björn Lind.

“If you look at the people who have received this previously, they are very well-known athletes. It is fantastic to wind up in their company,” said Olofsson.