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Crowds greet Victoria Day despite royal absence

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Crowds greet Victoria Day despite royal absence
08:49 CEST+02:00
While Crown Princess Victoria remained away on honeymoon, the crowds turned up as normal to celebrate her 33rd birthday in Borgholm on Öland with Prince Carl Philip on hand to present the Victoria Award to Olympic skier Charlotte Kalla.

Since her second birthday in 1979 the popular princess has been feted in style outside Solliden Palace, where the royal family has its summer residence.

But this year, with Victoria and her new husband enjoying their honeymoon in the south Pacific, King Carl XVI Gustaf led the festivities instead.

"I think it is wonderful to see so many people on such a fantastic day. I had thought that everyone would be lying on the beach," the king said in a speech to that around 400 people who had gathered at Solliden.

While the numbers were down slightly on a normal year, the crowd was treated to entertainment by a string of major Swedish artists such as Amanda Jenssen, Peter Jöback and Erik Saade.

They were also treated to an appearance by Princess Madeleine, who a year ago announced her engagement to Jonas Bergström at Solliden. The couple have since parted ways after allegations emerged that Bergström had enjoyed a dalliance with a Norwegian handball player.

Initially Victoria Day was conceived of as an opportunity to confer an award for a major Swedish sporting achievement but has now become something of a misnomer, as the festivities stretch out over a period of several days, encompassing everything from the Victorialoppet running race, to the Victoria Fair and the Victoria Golf tournament.

While the crowds at Solliden can seem somewhat modest the festivities as a whole are a real money spinner for the tourist industry in Öland, an island off the southeast coast of Sweden.

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