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ROYALTY

Blogger Profile: Juan Navas

Juan Navas, who will be The Local's royal correspondent in the run-up to Crown Princess Victoria's wedding in June, has long followed the fortunes of Sweden's royal family, most recently as information secretary at the Royal Court.

Blogger Profile: Juan Navas

 

Juan, who was born in Munich and raised in Virginia, says royalty has long been an interest for him:

 

“I think like anyone who grew up in a republic, it’s fascinating to look at other countries that have a monarchy. I see it as a pillar of society that stabilises the nation in changing times.”

 

Having moved to Sweden in 1997 as part of his studies in political science, Juan started working as a journalist at Sveriges Radio in 2001. There he interviewed a number of members of the royal family and covered royal events, before starting to work in the press and information department at the royal palace in 2007. He now runs his own public relations firm.

 

The marriage of Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel Westling will be the biggest royal event since King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia married in the 1970s.


”It’s wonderful to see two people in love start a new life together. But this is not just a wedding between a couple, it’s a new phase in the country’s history. I also think it’s going to be a great party for Stockholm and Sweden, and will put them in focus internationally.”

“I was in Oslo for the Norwegian Crown Prince’s Wedding, and the atmosphere in the city was just amazing. I think that the 19th of June in Stockholm will be the pinnacle of a love story that’s been in the minds of the Swedish people for many years.  It is also the beginning of a new chapter in Swedish history.“

Some commentators have questioned Victoria’s choice of a man of the people – Daniel is a gym owner and middle-class Swede from the town of Ockelbo. Such a match would have been unthinkable until the current king ascended the throne – before then, the norm was that Swedish royals married members of foreign royal families.

 

Juan thinks criticism of Daniel is unwarranted.

 

“These are modern times we’re living in. If you look around Europe, most royals have chosen spouses from non-traditional backgrounds. If you look at Norway and Denmark, you have two crown princes who have married for love – and that should be the only requirement. The King’s motto is ”För Sverige i Tiden,” or “For Sweden with the Times”, and I think the family lives by that motto.

 

But what about Victoria herself – what kind of queen will she be?

 

“Sweden is extremely lucky to have a person like Crown Princess Victoria. She’s completely devoted ad understands what her role will be as Queen of Sweden. She takes her role very seriously. It’s a heavy burden, but it’s what she’s been preparing for all her life.”

 

What will Daniel’s role be after the couple are married?

 

“He will be a royal consort, like Prince Henrik in Denmark or Prince Philip in Britain. His role will be to support the Crown Princess in her work. He has already said that he would like to use his position to encourage people to get active and exercise, and I think he would be a good role model for that.”

 

Over the next few weeks, Juan will be following Daniel Westling’s unique conversion to Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland on his blog and in a series of articles on The Local.

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TENNIS

GALLERY: Dimitrov and Princess Estelle wow Stockholm Open crowd

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria downed Spain's David Ferrer to claim the Stockholm Open men's singles title on Sunday. But it was Sweden's Princess Estelle who stole the show.

GALLERY: Dimitrov and Princess Estelle wow Stockholm Open crowd

Eager audiences filled the seats of Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall on Sunday to watch the finals of the IF Stockholm Open to see Dimitrov dispatch Ferrer with 2-6, 6-3, and 6-4 in hard-fought men’s final match.

Dimitrov, 28th ranked in the world, overcame a four-match losing streak to beat third-ranked Ferrer of Spain for his first title. The 22-year-old Bulgarian has trained in Sweden.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Dimitrov of winning.

IN PICTURES: See action from the Stockholm Open finals

In the doubles tournament, hopes were high that 41-year-old Swede Jonas Björkman would make a comeback after a five-year absence from the court. He and partner Robert Lindstedt, however, couldn’t manage to take home the trophy, losing in straight sets to Pakistani-Dutch pair Aisam-ul-Haw Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer, 6-2, 6-2.

But Björkman still had big fans in the audience – including Sweden’s young Princess Estelle and her mother Crown Princess Victoria. The bouncing toddler gave the Swedish tennis veteran a little round of applause when he visited the royal box after the match. The royal family attended the final on Sunday, and pink-clad Princess Estelle’s smile shone upon the players, much to the delight of other fans and press photographers.

IN PICTURES: The cutest tennis fan in all of Sweden

“It’s not the easiest thing to sit there, quiet and still, for two and a half hours,” Björkman said to the Expressen newspaper. “She behaved herself admirably. Very impressive how she handled it.”

Solveig Rundquist

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