King celebrates 61st birthday

Thousands of people gathered outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm on Monday to celebrate the 61st birthday of Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Parents carrying children on their shoulders jostled with tourists and old ladies with fold-up chairs and binoculars to catch a glimpse of the birthday boy.

“We were here several hours in advance to get a good place. We love the royal family and wanted to be here to congratulate the king,” said Charalompos and Nina Papadopolus.

The monarch appeared in the palace yard at 11:45 to inspect the outgoing guard. He was joined by Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine.

After the formal ceremonials the king, wearing military uniform, received flowers from children.

“I said ‘happy birthday’ and gave him a flower. I think it made him happy,” said 5-year-old Tove Karlsson.

Danish tourist Else Henning stayed in the palace yard even after the royals had returned to the building.

“It was so fantastically atmospheric,” she said.

“As a Dane I even know quite a bit about the Swedish royal family and given that I was here anyway I really wanted to come and wish him a happy birthday,” she added.