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Live Blog: Sweden celebrates new princess

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Live Blog: Sweden celebrates new princess
12:24 CET+01:00
Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria gave birth to a daughter in the early hours of Thursday morning. The Local brings you all the latest news, reactions, and details surrounding Sweden's first royal birth in more than three decades.

David Landes, 6:27pm

As the week--and day two of our coverage of the birth of Sweden's Princess Estelle--comes to a close, discussion about the suitability of the new princess's name shows no signs of letting up.

Just to summarize the highlights of the last two days:

-Crown Princess Victoria gave birth at 4.26am on Thursday, February 23rd at Karolinska Hospital near Stockholm

-The proud father, Prince Daniel, announced the birth at 7am on Thursday morning in a short, but upbeat and emotionally charged press conference (scroll down to see footage below)

-At noon on Thursday there was a 42-gun salute near the Royal Palace in Stockholm to welcome the new princess

-Around 1pm, the Royal Court released the first (and so far only) picture of the princess, tucked in a car seat held by a smiling Victoria and Daniel

-Shortly after 11am on Friday, King Carl XVI Gustaf announced the name of his first granddaughter: Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland

The official ceremonies were rounded off with a formal “Te Deum” ceremony at the Royal Chapel attended by high representatives of the government and the Royal Family, but not Victoria or her new baby.

Much of the rest of Friday was filled with banter, discussion, and debate about whether Estelle is a name fitting of a queen.

Noted historian Herman Lindqvist played the role of lead critic, calling the name "totally inappropriate", among other things.

A resident of Daniel's hometown of Ockelbo told Aftonbladet that Estelle "sounded like a brand of crisps".

No matter what one may think, the fact of the matter is that Sweden's newest princess is named Estelle and, barring any unforeseen events, she will one day be Queen Estelle of Sweden.

It remains to be seen, of course, how long the Swedish media will be able to keep the "royal naming controversy" in the headlines.

Probably at least until Saturday's Melodifestivalen qualifying round, which is perhaps one of the few things that gets Swedish journalists in more of a tizzy than royal scandal.

Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for reading the blog. Don't hesitate to scroll down below to read more about Sweden's welcoming of its newest princess.

Good night and have a great weekend

David Landes

Editor

Oliver Gee, 6:10pm

Mistress of the Robes, Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister, has spoken out about her first encounter with Princess Estelle.

“The child is truly sweet, really beautiful. Refined and dignified,” she told daily Aftonbladet, after holding the baby.

It was the 85-year-old’s fourth time in witnessing the confirmation of a royal child, the others being Victoria, Carl Philip and Madeleine.

She said that both parents were very happy, and reacting like regular parents.

Oliver Gee, 4:57pm

A little background on the name Estelle: It is of French origin, derived from the Latin word stella, meaning "the star". The name has been around in Sweden since the 1800s, but has never been very common. Since 2001, Estelle's name day has been celebrated on August 15th.

Oliver Gee, 4:51pm

Twitter is aflutter with talk about Estelle, and at least one account has been launched on her account. Something about the spelling of the account name (and the possibility of a baby twittering) has raised an eyebrow here, although it's proving to be fun seeing the world's reactions.

Tips: Search #royalbaby to find the latest views on twitter.

Rebecca Martin, 3:56pm

It would seem that the birth of the new Swedish princess has awoken strong feelings across the spectrum, as the Swedish Republican Association reports a significant influx in membership since Thursday.

Since the royal birth, the association says it has swelled by another 700 members, to 8,800 in total.

"It is fantastic. It shows that many people want to see a different method to appoint Sweden's head of state," said vice chairperson Mia Sydow Mölleb to news agency TT.

David Landes, 1:52pm

No new pictures of Princess Estelle have been released, nor have Victoria and Daniel been seen since leaving the hospital on Thursday. Not surprising, really...they are trying to get used to having a baby in the house!

Curious about Princess Estelle's new home, Haga Palace? Check out our profile on the storied palace by The Local's Geoff Mortimore

Rebecca Martin, 12:39pm

Not everyone is over the moon about the names chosen for Sweden's new princess, it would seem.

Swedish historian Herman Lindqvist said soon after the announcement that it was totally "inappropriate" for a future Swedish monarch to be called "Estelle".

"It sounds like a night club queen. It is completely against all Swedish tradition," he continued on daily Aftonbladet's live broadcast.

He also said he could understand that the Crown Princess couple chose the name because "they liked it" but that this choice could prove harmful for the monarchy itself.

At The Local, we thought it was rather nice. Lots of 'aaahs' and people being impressed that the Crown Princess couple dared going their own way.

David Landes, 12:11pm

Many observers were surprised by the choice of Estelle for the name of the new princess. As it turns out, Estelle is the name of the American wife of Count Folke Bernadotte (1895-1948), whose father gave up his right to the throne.

According to an announcement in Time magazine dated August 13, 1928:

"Engaged. Count Folke Bernadotte, nephew of King Gustaf of Sweden; to Estelle Romaine Manville, Manhattan debutante, descendant of Jeoffrey de Magnavil, ally of William the Conqueror; in Pleasantville, N. Y."

Read more about the other Estelle with a royal connection here.

David Landes, 11:57am

According to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who was one of the first people to see Princess Estelle, she was a "very cute" princess who looked "very much like her mother".

"A very calm child," he added, according to the TT news agency.

Who knew that the prime minister could be so insightful when observing a one-day old baby.

David Landes, 11:41am

For anyone who is wondering, Östergötland is the name of a traditional Swedish province that lies south of Stockholm that borders on the Baltic Sea on Sweden's east coast. Today there is county with the same name.

Fun fact: the official provincial animal is the mute swan.

Read more about Östergötland here.

David Landes, 11:37am

So, now it's official: Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland.

David Landes, 11:20am

For a brief moment on Friday morning the Royal Court website published an announcement that the princess would be called Ulrika Marianna Annika David - Duchess of Upplands Väsby.

It was a mistake, the Royal Court confirmed later. Funny fact...Upplands Väsby is the Stockholm suburb where the Swedish version of "The Office" is based.

David Landes, 11:11am

The excitement surrounding the naming of the Swedish princess was apparently too much for one royal guard, who fainted on live TV. Hope he wakes up in time for the big announcement, which is expected any minute now.

David Landes, 10:48am

Swedish media is reporting that the new royal baby has been "approved". In other words, the newborn has passed inspection and the witnesses present can confirm that the girl is in fact the daughter of Victoria and Daniel and not someone else.

And in about 20 minutes, we'll learn the name of the new princess.

David Landes, 10:23am

Amid all the excitement on Thursday, we neglected to share the well wishes offered by the new grandparents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Here they are:

"We're very happy for the Crown Princess couple. We remember ourselves how happy we were to become parents and we wish the new family a wonderful period of peace and quiet," the King and Queen said in a statement.

"This is a much longed-for grandchild and we're both very proud and happy today."

Even Prince Daniel's parents, Olle och Ewa Westling, offered their congratulations.

"We feel great happiness today when our Daniel and our Victoria became parents. We wish Daniel and Victoria all the best with their new family member and we're going to support and help them as grandparents," the two wrote.

Oliver Gee, 10:00am

It's 10am, this means the baby is currently being inspected at Haga Palace by prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Speaker of the Riksdag Per Westerberg, Marshall of the Realm Svante Lindqvist, and Mistress of the Robes Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister.

Oliver Gee, 9:36am

Baby name speculation is running rife at The Local's offices...

So far, we've heard "Albertina Hedwig Ingeborg" from James Savage, who's staying safe and reusing names of previous Swedish Queens. "Alice Sophia Ingrid" is Rebecca's choice, while David is sticking with "Hedwig". Others have suggested "Ewa", which is the name of Prince Daniel's mother, and "Lillian", the name of Victoria's much-loved great aunt (Princess Lilian).

Other names that suggested have included Britney, Beyonce, and Salander - I've even overheard one hungry colleague suggesting Princess Pankaka as she was born on a Thursday - but these are long odds to say the least!

Me, I'm taking a gamble on another Victoria. Victoria II, why not? You heard it here first!

Remember to add your contributions on twitter with the hashtag #royalbabynames

David Landes, Friday, 9:18am

Welcome to day two of The Local's live blog on the birth of Sweden's future queen. In just a couple of hours, the name of Sweden's newest princess will be revealed, ending months of speculation.

At 10am, prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Speaker of the Riksdag Per Westerberg, Marshall of the Realm Svante Lindqvist, and Mistress of the Robes Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister will be at Haga Palace to inspect the new princess.

Trolle-Wachtmeister has the honour of holding up the baby for the other witnesses to see.

Around 11am, the King will call Cabinet Council to deliver news of the baby’s name and titles, and at noon a “Te Deum” ceremony will be held at the Royal Chapel attended by high representatives of the Swedish state to give thanks for the arrival of the royal baby.

However, Crown Princess Victoria and her newly expanded family aren't expected to attend.

Needless to say, there is a busy day ahead for the Royal Family. Be sure to keep an eye on this space throughout the day for more updates.

David Landes, Thursday, 4:42pm

As darkness falls over Stockholm this Thursday afternoon, here's a quick re-cap of the day's events.

In case you missed it, Crown Princess Victoria gave birth to a daughter at 4.26am on Thursday morning, February 23rd.

At 7am, a beaming, yet emotional Prince Daniel announced the news to the press, saying (in English) that his feelings were "all over the place" (see a video of the entire press conference below).

"This is a joyful day in Sweden," royal expert Roger Lundgren told The Local.

“There's always a lot of joy when a child is born and everyone appreciates and likes Victoria so this is a happy day."

Congratulatory messages flowed in throughout the day and bakeries across Sweden saw traditional "Princess Cakes" fly off the shelves in honour of the royal birth.

At noon there was a 42-gun salute which thundered over the waters in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

Speculation continues as to what the new princess will be named. Plans call for the name to be unveiled during a ceremony on Friday, when the future queen will be formally presented to the prime minister, speaker of parliament and the marshal of the realm.

According to Lundgren, Friday's ceremony will likely be the first time King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia will comment publicly on the arrival of their first grandchild.

"Today the King and Queen became grandparents for the first time and they are no doubt filled with joy and happiness, as they should be," he said.

"Prince Daniel's parents are super cool and have their feet firmly on the ground. They've already had two grandchildren so I'm sure they are ready to give some advice to the King and Queen."

While our operations are coming to a close today, be sure to check back on Friday for more details and updates surrounding the royal birth.

David Landes, 4:19pm

Just spoke with royal expert Roger Lundgren about today's royal birth. He said today was a “historic day”.

“There's always a lot of joy when a child is born,” he added.

Be sure to check the site later for more insights from Lundgren.

Oliver Gee, 4:13pm

Speaking of Princess Cakes (and all things "fika") be sure to check out Rebecca's story about these traditional baked treats and how they're selling like hot cakes today!

Check it out here.

Oliver Gee, 4:06pm

Celebrations continue around Sweden in a sea of blue and yellow, with flags raised all over Ockelbo in Gästrikland, Prince Daniel's hometown. Residents are gathering at Cafe Trillen and toasting to the good news in typical Swedish fashion - with coffee, cinnamon buns and princess pastries!

"This is a truly fantastic and wonderful event," said 20 year Ockelbo resident Olle Olsson to TT-news agency.

David Landes, 2:43pm

A shout out to Twitter follower Jen MacCarthur (@jmacvaasa) for one of the more creative name suggestions for the new princess:

Dictoria or Dictatoria

These seem to be an attempt to follow through on the sweden.se suggestion below of combining the names of the parents. Not sure how the oddsmakers would rank the proposals, however.

David Landes, 2:22pm

Prince Daniel and his two Swedish princesses are back at home at Haga Palace after a roughly 12-hour delivery whirlwind. Pretty efficient...admitted at 12.50am and out the door just after 1pm. Not bad.

Oliver Gee, 1:50pm

And for those who prefer video format, here's the cannon salute in LIVE footage. Cold fingers make for difficult filming, but this should be enough to satisfy Royal enthusiasts who couldn't make it to Stockholm today!

Oliver Gee, 1:45pm

Here is a gallery of my pics from the 42 cannon salute, from the shores of Slottsbacken. A nice reminder that Stockholm (with a blue sky) must be one of the prettiest cities in the world.

42 cannon salute in 10 pictures

Rebecca Martin, 1:39pm

For those who want to congratulate the Crown Princess couple, lists where the general public can leave their greetings in writing will be available at the Royal Palace in Stockholm between 2pm and 5pm on Friday.

Rebecca Martin, 1:20pm

Sweden is aflutter with the first picture of the newborn Princess of Sweden, which has been published on Facebook.

Rebecca Martin, 1:18pm

The new Princess' name will be announced tomorrow, Friday, after the new born future regent of Sweden is formally presented to the prime minister, the speaker of parliament and the marshal of the realm at a traditional witness ceremony at

Haga Palace, the Crown Princess couple's residence in Stockholm.

Swedish betting firms and the press are already hard at work trying to guess what the baby will be called. Among the favourites are Alicia, Alice, Désirée and Kristina.

Rebecca Martin, 12:52pm

It is hard to imagine what the new Princess will look like - maybe if you take a look at our gallery of two generations of Royal Swedish children, you will get some idea. Check it out here.

Oliver Gee, 12:46pm

The mood down at Slottsbacken was certainly a lot more positive than at Medborgarplatsen this morning - people were cheering, cannons were blasting - everyone I spoke to was happy... but my ears are ringing! Photos on the way!

David Landes, 12:24pm

BOOM BOOM! The cannons have been firing in central Stockholm.

Normally, only 21 cannons are fired to salute the arrival of a royal baby, but when an heir to the throne is born, the number is doubled to 42.

That's a lot of gunpowder.

According to tradition, cannons will be fired at other locations around Sweden on the first non-holiday weekday...which is tomorrow (Friday).

So residents in Gothenburg, Karlskrona, Härnösand and Boden...be ready to cover your ears.

David Landes, 12:19pm

As a first time father, Prince Daniel was surely somewhat overwhelmed as he witnessed the birth of his daughter.

But at least he didn't have the language barrier facing contributor Patrick Reilly, an Irishman who recently welcomed his first child to the world in a Swedish hospital and shared his experiences in a light-hearted story we published yesterday.

Oliver Gee, 12:14pm (from Slottsbacken via Twitter)

Chatting to the people, general consensus is overwhelming happiness. "We love the royals, this is the baby of a commoner - we're so proud"

Oliver Gee, 12:10pm (from Slottsbacken via Twitter)

And the cannons are firing, extremely loud. Finally got a reaction from the swans...Hurrah hurrah goes the crowd! Happy birthday to Sweden's new princess!

Oliver Gee, 11:49am (from Slottsbacken via Twitter)

Everyone's jostling for best positions for the event...Mood is palpable down here, electric atmosphere. Old lady next to me quivering with excitement.

David Landes, 11:45am

Fun fact...Sweden has had three queens in its history: Margareta 1389-1396, Kristina 1632-1654 and Ulrika Eleonora 1718-1720.

But he fact that Victoria's first born is a girl means that a queen will inherit the throne from a queen for the first time in Swedish royal history (barring any unforeseen events, of course).

David Landes, 11:42am

Loving all the name suggestions coming in on Twitter...most seem to be in favour of traditional names like Alice, Désirée, Astrid, or Linnea.

Although I like the proposal by our friends at sweden.se: How about merging the names of Victoria and Daniel, the way Hollywood stars' names are melted into one?

What exactly might that approach yield, one wonders?

David Landes, 11:29am

While many of you might not understand Swedish, we thought it was nevertheless worth posting footage of a clearly beaming Prince Daniel as he announced the birth of his daughter earlier on Thursday. If you listen carefully, you'll hear how he actually uses English to describe his feelings!

Rebecca Martin, 11:22am

A bit knackered after the flurry of royal baby stories this morning. But it ain't over...working on a gallery of past generations of Swedish royal babies. Stay tuned.

Oliver Gee, 11:17am

Heading out to Slottsbacken outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm to check out the 42 gun salute set for noon and to 'sense the mood' in the Swedish capital.

Stay tuned for more details...

David Landes, 11:11am

Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet is reporting on their website that Victoria and Daniel have decided on a name for Sweden's new princess.

Oliver Gee, 10:46am

Have a look at the gallery (below) to see what people in Södermalm's Medborgarplatsen had to say about the birth.

Word on the street: Public reaction to the royal birth

David Landes, 10:25am

Speculation is rife about what Victoria and Daniel's daughter will be named. Some think it will be Alice, the name of Queen Silvia's late mother.

Other candidates, according to historian Herman Lindqvist, include Ulrika, Sophia, Astrid, Margareta, Désirée or Christina.

Mårten Skånman with betting company Paf points out that Alicia is also similar to Alice, which was the most popular name in Sweden last year.

Currently, oddsmakers put Alicia at 5-to-1 odds.

What do you think? Send us your baby name suggestions via Twitter

with a #royalbabynames hashtag.

David Landes, 9:57am

An unofficial translation of the official birth announcement from the Swedish Royal Court:

The Marshall of the Realm is happy to announce that H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria on Thursday the 23rd of Februrary 2012 at 04.26 gave birth to a daughter.

Both mother and child are doing well.

Svante Lindqvist

Marshall of the Realm

For those of you that can read Swedish, here's a link to the actual announcement.

David Landes, 9:49am

While the hard work has been done (at least from Princess Victoria's perspective), a great deal of pomp and circumstance awaits. Click here for a look at some of what the Royal Court has planned in the coming days to celebrate the birth of Sweden's newest princess.

Oliver Gee, 9:42am

Just arrived at the office after getting the word on the street. Seems like Swedes were almost split down the middle - either really happy of plain indifferent. Some people were even guessing names! Photo gallery with quotes on the way...

David Landes, 9:28am

Can't help but chuckle when reading how the head of the agency responsible for paying out Sweden's generous child and family benefits has commented on the royal birth:

"Försäkringskassan will pay out the first child allowance on March 20th," he said.

In Sweden, the state pays parents 1,050 kronor ($157) per child per month until the children turn 16. Even if you're royalty!

Click here read more reactions

David Landes, 9:17am

Just got a call from my colleague Oliver Gee who is on Medborgarplatsen in southern Stockholm speaking to Swedes about their reactions to the royal birth. Check back later to find out what they said.

David Landes, 9:06am

Arrived at the office today awash in news and updates about the royal birth. And we expect plenty more to emerge throughout the day as Sweden digests the news.

In case you missed 'em, here are the stories we've already written:

'It's a girl': Prince Daniel

'She was radiant': crown princess' mentor

Victoria to hospital early Thursday morning

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

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