Profile: Popular Crown Princess Victoria

Profile: Popular Crown Princess Victoria
Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, whose engagement to her former gym teacher was announced on Tuesday, is a popular and respected royal known for her easy-going style, poise and intelligence.

The brown-eyed princess with long brunette locks is admired both at home and abroad for her natural ease with people, her broad smile and the popular impression she makes in her duties representing Sweden despite her relatively young age.

At 31, she has spent most of her adult years preparing for her future role as regent with a specially-tailored education, which has included two years of studies at Yale University in the United States, stints at the United Nations, the European Union, and internships with the Swedish government and military.

Most recently Victoria, who is due to one day become Sweden’s third regent queen, has studied development aid, conflict management and political science.

Daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf, 62, and Queen Silvia, 65, she regularly tops the list of Swedes’ favourite royal.

“Scrutinised — and approved,” headlined Swedish tabloid Expressen on Tuesday after rumours of the engagement to Daniel Westling emerged.

Media have long speculated over the date of Victoria’s nuptials after seven years of courtship with Westling, with the tabloids regularly publishing pictures of her attending her friends’ weddings with the caption “When will it be her turn?”.

Some gossip magazines have speculated that her younger sister Madeleine, 26, was putting pressure on her to wed. She is reportedly eager to marry her own beau, Jonas Bergström, but according to royal experts Madeleine would not be permitted to do so until Victoria has wed.

Madeleine was in fact the person who introduced Victoria to her future husband, taking her big sister along for a workout at her gym which is owned by Westling.

The pair have been inseparable ever since, though they have very rarely appeared together at official royal functions.

Victoria is often seen shopping or visiting cafes in central Stockholm with her friends or strolling through the woods in Westling’s hometown of Ockelbo — her love of nature is well-known — and her casual, down-to-earth style has won the hearts of Swedes.

“Princess of the people — and the forest,” gossip magazine Svensk Damtidning wrote recently, describing how her love of nature influenced her choice of clothes: jeans, sneakers, and wellies to take labrador Jambo out for a morning walk.

Victoria attended high school in central Stockholm, and shortly afterwards lived for a brief period in New York to enjoy the freedom of everyday life unavailable to her in Sweden.

She now lives at the royal family’s residence outside Stockholm, Drottningholm, and has reportedly been practically living with Westling since he moved to a nearby residence last year.

Like the rest of her family, she has for the most part avoided the scandals that have plagued other European monarchies.

While she has over the years proven herself to be capable of acting as regent, the pressure on her is immense and the expectations sometimes too much to bear.

In 1997, the palace confirmed that the visibly thinned-down princess was suffering from an eating disorder, and asked the media to respect her privacy during what was described as a difficult time.

She recovered soon after, and has since talked candidly in the media about the pressures facing young women in general.

Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree was born on July 1, 1977.

She was however not born crown princess.

Sweden’s succession law, enabling the monarch’s first-born child to inherit the throne regardless of gender, was only changed after the birth of her younger brother, Prince Carl Philip, in May 1979.

The law went into effect on January 1, 1980.